It was a dark and stormy night. I was being a real handful, angrily quizzing my husband about exactly where the on-call anesthesiologist lived, and how long it would take him to get to the hospital to give me my epidural ALREADY! And how much, to the minute, he would be slowed down by the nasty February weather.
My poor husband.
It really was a dark and stormy night. When we tell our boys the story of their arrival, we get to indulge in a little drama. It was well into the evening, and a nasty sleet-snow was falling rapidly. In any other circumstance I wouldn’t have wanted my worst enemy on the road that night, but I really, really needed that doctor in the house stat.
He came, he worked his cannulated magic, and I could finally breathe easy. It was at that point I realized the real answer to drug-induced labor pain wasn’t lamaze, it was also drugs. But it was at a much later point that I learned my husband, who gave me his person to lean on when the epidural was placed, that he ardently hoped I wouldn’t kick him (side effect of the procedure) because that would be unpleasant. And that he stopped himself short of actually saying so because, well, I might actually kick him for forgetting who was in real pain here.
Labor and delivery is such a weird experience. (BTW, could someone have come up with a stranger name for a birthing center? It’s not the loading dock at Fed Ex…). The drugs, the funky bed, everyone in caps and gowns to graduate a little naked human from womb to world. And the cake to celebrate afterwards. Yes, we had cake. Only because I was supposed to have a baby shower that evening, but pre-eclampsia played its trump card and kept that from happening. The cake was delivered by a dear friend and colleague and was delicious. Cake needs to happen with every delivery. After all, it is the true first birthday.
And as if it couldn’t get any weirder, my L and D became a party. And in the caesarian room, no less. Not because my boys were a planned C-section, but just in case. Being twins and by definition a high-risk delivery, things could get hairy. The setting was a looming reminder of how scary deliveries can be, time being of such essence that the mere minutes it would take to wheel from comfy labor room to surgery could make a difference in outcome. Surroundings aside, we had a great time. Really. My obstetrician, the nurse, my husband and I made jokes, coming up with names for the two little stars of the show. Beavis and Butthead were favs. Terrible, right? (My younger son did end up being breach…) But we were in a jovial mood, having so much fun waiting for the grand entrance that even the nurse forgot to remind me to push when a contraction began. I was in no pain, so couldn’t figure it out myself. Which was fine with me.
And gave me presence of mind to be watching the clock. It was nearing midnight on February 28. I remembered laughing, months before, with a friend at work that
Wouldn’t it be something if the twins were born on different days?
And here we were, not just on any day, but the last day of February in a non-leap year, facing that very prospect. And that every four years the boys’ birthdays would be not one, but two days apart. Oh, boy. But it must have been luck, or a big-headed baby who refused to crown (my first born needed the vacuum), or an experienced obstetrician who was also watching the clock, because my boys were born just after the stroke of twelve, small and four weeks early, but healthy.
It was the end of one journey and the beginning of another.
Happy Birthday to my sweet Bear and my gorgeous Big A.