When I opened my eyes, it was March 21st, 1998.
It was the first day of Spring.
My husband was gone. I have no idea where he went, but he wasn’t there. I found that I didn’t care much and set my mind towards taking care of things. Because things? Were scary and wrong.
I buzzed the nurse.
And so it began.
I, who had never in my entire life demanded so much as the basic necessities of what I needed to sustain myself? Demanded that I be given a catheter. Immediately.
The nurse on duty obliged. Told me that in my chart it was written that I had refused a catheter.
I was okay for about an hour after that and then, to my horror, I realized that Boy Child had completely stopped moving. Completely.
I buzzed the nurse again and told her she had to do something. RIGHT. THEN.
She tried to tell me I was wrong. That I couldn’t POSSIBLY know that one of the babies had stopped moving. I told her I didn’t THINK one of the babies had stopped moving, I KNEW FOR A FACT THAT MY SON HAD STOPPED MOVING AND SHE WAS GOING TO FIX IT RIGHT THEN, BY GOD.
They hooked me up to a monitor type thing so they could hear the heartbeats.
She tried and tried and tried, and frowned.
Suddenly, I was being put in an ambulance and driven at an extremely high rate of speed to the next town over to a different hospital. One with a very high-level NICU.
A man came in, a handsome doctor man who I, over the next few days, would come to love. I’ll call him Doctor J.
Doctor J came in and spoke to me briefly. I told him how far along I was and what the problems were and how I was feeling. He patted my arm, reassuringly, and said to me, “You’ll be okay. You’ll deliver in about two weeks.”
Two weeks seemed reasonable.
Within five minutes he was back in my room and said, “You will be giving birth in approximately fifteen minutes.”
I, being twenty-two and an idiot said, “Um, no. I won’t.”
He said, “Yes, you will.”
I said, “No. I won’t. I won’t.”
He said, firmly. “Yes. You will. You are. You are going to be prepped for surgery now. NOW.”
I said, lamely, “I don’t have the nursery ready. No one is here.”
He whipped out his personal cell phone and said, “Make your calls. You have one minute. Then you WILL go to be prepped for surgery. You WILL have two babies TODAY. You WILL do this and YOU WILL LIKE IT.”
I loved him.
I called my parents. They were not home. I later found out that they had been trying to reach me on my house phone and they were scared when they couldn’t reach me so they got in their car and started driving toward the hospital I had previously been in. I called my sister who lived three hours away and she immediately got in her car and started driving towards me. I called my husband, God knows where he was. He never answered. I called his parents, they didn’t answer the phone.
Like it or not, I was doing this alone.
I was prepped for surgery. A spinal block was inserted into my back. I cringe, now, almost ten years later when I think about it. I remember the nurse quarreled at me for not taking off my bra. How the hell was I supposed to know that you had to take your bra off to have a baby? How much sense does that make?
I asked the anestheologist to marry me. Repeatedly. He was fairly good natured about it.
I didn’t have a regular C-section. They cut them out of my side. Doctor J told me he was going to carve his name into my stomach. I told him that was fine. I liked his name. I could hear him laughing even though he was a million miles away from me.
One baby came out. It was Boy Child. I don't remember what time it was. Sometime in the afternoon. I've always felt shame that I don't know what time of the day they were born, but I don't.
They wouldn’t let me see him or hold him or anything. They took Boy Child and ran out of the room.
It didn’t occur to me, right that second, that he didn’t even cry.
One minute later, literally one minute, out came Girl Child.
She screamed. They held her up from across the room and I could barely make out her little face, her little fists balled up and angry, her little chest moving up and down.
I couldn’t hold her or touch her. I couldn’t even see her. They took her away.
"Baby" C came out too. Weighing more than Girl Child and Boy Child put together.
One moment I was pregnant and had weeks to go. Literally, one moment later, I was all alone again.
Happy You Gave Birth Day to Me.