Posted by: Trigger | 14 May, 2008

The Twins, pt 1

Technically, I’m studying. If anyone asks.

Today I’m home from work. Using vacation time to study. If I didn’t have so dang much vacay, I would be pissed to use it for this. Instead, given that I could take 4 weeks of paid leave at this point, I will only be pissed that I have to study at all, especially since today’s goal is organic chemistry domination. I have a chem minor, but it’s not entirely apparent that is the case, from the ridiculous amount of chemistry I have forgotten since undergrad. Pshaw.

Instead of talking about booooring chemistry, let’s talk about something fun and exciting and happy, instead. Yay!

Today, the wee youngin’s of my family turn 15. That’s right, BoyTwin and GirlTwin are old enough to get a driver’s permit. This is ridiculous, that they are old enough to be able to say that.

When my mom was pregnant for the fourth time, I had endured 5.5 long years of being the only sister to two very different, but very male, siblings. As people asked me what I would prefer the baby be – boy or girl – I quickly answered “girl!” followed by a more p.c. “but a brother would be okay, too.” As the pregnancy progressed, my mom kept measuring large for the gestational age – which she had done with both of my brothers, as well (my mom’s pretty much fertile myrtle – she has big, healthy kids!), so she was convinced this was another baby boy. Secretly, I was a little bit bummed. 

When her larger than normal belly size persisted, her OB requested a second ultrasound to check for twins. No one had seen anything on her initial scan, but the OB just wanted to double check. My mom assured him, this was just another big boy, but she played along, and scheduled the ultrasound for a time when the whole family (Dad, BigCityBrother, CollegeBrother and myself) could be there. Just in case.

Everyone was excited, the day of the scan. We drove the hour to her doctor (at the time, my podunk town did not have anyone practicing Ob/Gyn), chattering away, excited to see the new little person. Even CollegeBrother, at 5, was excited – he brought dinosaurs with him to stay entertained, but as the ultrasound got underway, he paid little attention to his toys and was awestruck seeing the head, feet, arms and more of his baby brother or sister. The baby we saw looked great, and all was developing normally. The ultrasound tech wrapped up her scan, announcing “Alright, I’m just going to slide over and check your kidneys now.”

My dad asked, “So there’s just one baby in there?”

“Yep, one healthy little baby” she answered.

We were all fine with that, not surprised in the least to hear that it was just one (potentially large) baby. 

As she rolled her wand to the side, she squeaked a little bit, and exclaimed, “Oh MY! There’s another baby in here!”

“You’re kidding,” was all my dad said.

“Oh no I’m not, LOOK! Baby number one,” she quickly moved her wand again, “and baby number two. Number one, number two. Number one, number two,” she said, in what I will always recall was entirely reminiscent of Wayne’s World (Wayne, crouched over Cassandra: “Camera one, camera two, camera one, camera two.” Anybody?).

“YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!” was something very similar to my response.

“You can only have one at a time. Two is against the rules,” declared five year old CollegeBrother, plopping down with sudden complete and entire attention on his dinosaurs.

“Woah” said my mom.

The news took a while to settle in. But we were very happy, in general. My mom was healthy. The babies were healthy. CollegeBrother eventually came around, to at least indifference toward the twins, which was definitely an improvement over complete opposition.

My parents were great. We all had input into what names would be used. We are all named using one unique name, and one family name (although, for most, the family name is in the middle – I’m the only one with a family name for a first name). We didn’t know the sexes of the babies, so we had to come up with two boy names, and two girl names. The exact combos would be decided based on what the little ones were like when we actually met them.

The “do you want a boy or a girl” question morphed into a more complicated one, although my mother’s answer remained ever the same – “I don’t care if it’s two boys, two girls, one of each – I just want a blue eyed baby!” Her response never failed to elicit a laugh, but it was a fair request on her part. All three of the older kids look unequivocally like our father, brunette, brown eyed (although mine have since turned pretty hazel), our face shapes so much like him – all my mother wanted to have was one child with her aqua blue eyes (they really are stunning, I must say). 

Her pregnancy continued, fairly straightforward. In her second trimester, we older kids awoke one morning to the neighbor down the street cooking our breakfast. In the middle of the night, my mom had felt strong and rhythmic contractions, and had gone to the hospital an hour away in hopes of stopping the labor. It was way too soon to be delivering these little guys, and we had our first taste of the scary aspects of high-risk pregnancies. But the doctors stopped the labor, and my mom was sent home, to bed rest.

The babies grew, and grew and grew, with only one other labor scare during the pregnancy. By the time my mom made it to 32 weeks, the doctor told her we were in the clear. (40 weeks is your estimated due date, and anything past 37 weeks is considered a “term delivery” I have learned in the years since.) These babies were going to be alright, even if they were born early. So my mom was released from bed rest. She could do whatever she wanted to again (which for a high energy person like my mom, was the best gift anyone could give her).

And then, we waited. The days turned into weeks, and weeks into more than a month. Still, she wasn’t in labor! The babies grew some more. There’s a measurement of your belly that doctors take during pregnancy, called fundal height. Basically, it’s from right under your sternum, down to the top of your pubic symphasis, a part of your pelvis. Normal term pregnancies reach 40 cm. My mom made it to 64 cm. 1 1/2 times the normal size!

Finally, it happened. She woke up in the middle of the night, woke my dad up, and they took off. This was pre-cell phones, and in their haste, they managed only one call – to the same neighbor, to come over and stay the rest of the night with us.

They made it 5 miles from our house, out of a necessary 55 to the hospital she planned to deliver at, before she announced to my father “I’m ready to push.”

Dad drove faster. An aunt of mine, a NICU nurse, had sent a box to them, to pack in the car for the trip to the hospital. It contained supplies they would need, if they had to do an emergency delivery on the side of the road. My dad made no secret, he was almost wishing to be pulled over for speeding – at least then he’d have some help! They made it to the point of no return, my dad driving like a madman, feeling his heart murmur kick it like it always does in times of stress. “I hope I wait ’til the hospital to have my heart attack…” he muttered. Pretty sure my mom did not find that very funny.

They arrived at the hospital. My dad drove to the emergency entrance, ready to drop my mom off and park the car while she ran (as much as a person with two giant babies could run) upstairs. But then, my mom experienced an intense contraction, and she told my dad instead of dropping her off, he should park, she’d finish the contraction, then they would go inside. He agreed, and started to pull the car away from the curb.

Just then, she changed her mind, and jumped out of the moving car! Leaving my confused father behind, she ran upstairs, to the labor and delivery floor. Which was deserted.

No lights. No nurses milling around. Not a single soul that my mother could see.

“Is anyone here?” she plaintively called. “I’m having a baby. RIGHT NOW!”

We like to point out the mistake she made in that declaration – not only was she having A baby, she was having TWO!

A sweet little custodial worker, speaking English as a second language, appeared, mop in hand, and was the only person around. This sounds like a joke, but it’s not. The custodian roomed my mother in a birthing suite, and RAN to find a medical professional – nurse, doctor, anyone!

A nurse who had training as a midwife was, fortunately, not far. About 20 minutes after arriving, Girl Twin was born, a little more than 8 lbs at birth. The doctor hadn’t made it in yet. And my dad just barely made it from the parking lot. But, I got my little sister.

Then things got more tense, as the staff prepared to deliver baby number two (Baby B, in twin speak). Baby B was breech, feet pointed straight down, and head pointed straight up. Unless they could turn the baby, the doctors felt they would need to do a cesarean for that baby. Can you imagine, one vaginal delivery and one c-section? No thank you. Especially given the fact that they were unsure whether they would have time for anesthesia…ew. Ouch. Etc.

One OB, and one pediatrician, pushed and pulled and shoved on baby b through my mom’s abdomen (called a “version” in obstetrics). Miraculously, the baby turned! Few versions actually succeed in turning breech babies – it probably only worked for my mom because Girl Twin had just left a little extra room in the womb after her delivery. And so, 10 minutes after Girl Twin, Boy Twin was born, also weighing in at 8 lbs. With bright, clear, blue eyes. The last of the five rowdy siblings, my mom’s blue eye baby.

The next morning, I woke up to a phone call. In my groggy state, I didn’t quite understand why BigCityBrother was handing me the phone, asking if I wanted to talk to Mom & Dad. When it dawned on me, I sat bolt upright in bed, and screamed. I can still picture that moment in my life.

I was so happy that day, 15 years ago, that I – little Tomboy Trigger – wore a dress to fifth grade, in honor of my youngest baby siblings.

They changed my life, forever.

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Responses

  1. Tomboy Trigger in a dress – how cute! I only vaguely remember when my sister was born. It’s kind of cool that you remember the story so well!

  2. That’s adorable. I have no recollections of my sister being born. Just pictures.

  3. What an amazing story! Your mom is a tough one. WOW. TWO eight pound babies? Vaginally? No anesthesia? Wow. Wow. wow.

    You come from a hearty stock, Trigger.

  4. I wish I was home when Aus was born, but I was in the military. But like you, I do NOT know what I’d do without him.

    Such a sweet, sweet story Trig.

  5. Aww. This is such an awesome story. And I love how you remember it so well. Happy (belated) birthday to the twins!


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