“O.K., now, arch that back like a Halloween cat,” he repeated as if I hadn’t heard him the first time. “I AM,” this seemed hopeless. I tucked my chin to my chest, and willed my spine to pop out for the anesthesiologist attempting to insert a spinal block. “My belly is huge. There really isn’t much arching room here. How about enormously pregnant Halloween cat about to give birth to a litter of eight? How’s she arching her back? Am I getting closer to that?” He chuckled, “Well, give it all you’ve got, and I’ll get it in there.” I held my breath, closed my eyes tight and imagined a Halloween cat. “O.K., you’re going to feel a lot of pressure. AND, were in. Lay her down.” Suddenly I was out of the conversation again.
It had been mystifying up to that point. I felt in a trance as the nurses went to work on me, prepping me for the C-section. They were handling me. I know that they were talking to me, explaining what they were doing, but it was lost on me. I was semi-aware, but I was also about to give birth to twins! I had a tonsillectomy at the age of nine, but there wasn’t quite as much prepping for that surgery. They put an I.V. in my arm, and counted me backward into Lala land while visions of popsicles and all the ice cream I could eat danced in my head. What a crock of crap that was! No one mentioned that my throat would be on fire for days, or that even the ice cream would be painful to eat. Anyway, I wondered if this were anything akin to what girls felt like as they were being readied for tribal rituals. It was all so very strange. Before wheeling me down a hall and into an operating room, they had me sign a piece of paper about the one in one hundred chance of developing a spinal headache, blah blah blah… Got it. Pen please. I wasn’t about to mess with the flow of events that were bringing us closer every second to being face to face with our babies.
The drape went up, blocking my view, which was fine with me. “We can put a mirror up, if you’d like to observe,” one of the nurses offered. “No thanks. I’d rather not.” As if that made any difference. Between Lyle’s commentary, and all of the “fun facts” the docs kept throwing at me, there wasn’t much left to my imagination anyway. “I’ve made an incision through your skin, but will be tearing the muscle. Torn muscle heals more nicely than cut muscle.” Why are you telling me this? I just want to lay here right now, and be oblivious to you. Dang! I thought Lyle would be horrified, but he was all about what was going on, “This is SO cool!” Then the doc announced, “Twin two is out.” The nurse sat stroking my hair, although her eyes had wandered over the other side of that drape, “You might feel a little bit nau…” “OH, I’mnavomit. I’mnavomit. I’mnavomit.” She instantly had a cup to my lips, “This is Alka-Seltzer gold. Drink it. It’s going to help.” I am convinced, to this day, that Alka-Seltzer Gold is a mythical magical potion that she made up on the spot. I couldn’t ever find it in stores afterward, and it worked miraculously. Lyle just couldn’t help himself, “Awe, man, He’s peein! Wow. OH, the other one is peein, too! You should see this.” I cringed inwardly, wondering if any of it was getting on me. The doctor interjected, “AND twin one is out. Would you like to meet your sons?” “YES!” Then hovering over my face, as I lay flat on my back, were the faces of two babies. It was as if I were seeing them in some weird fun house mirror. I’m not sure if they were upside down, sideways, or what, but they were there for a second and then whisked away. “Aren’t they beautiful?” Of course, I responded with the appropriate, “They are beautiful.” I was pretty sure it was true. They would be beautiful to me.
Things were pretty frenzied. Suddenly I was in my room with a button at hand to push for pain medicine. I felt pretty good except for the headache that was starting to nag at me, but I had more important things to concentrate on. Looking at the two little angels snuggled together in one bassinette; it was hard to believe that they were the ones doing crazy acrobatics inside my belly just a day ago. The only thing identical about them is their birth weight, at exactly six and a half pounds each. Oh, it was difficult in the very beginning for people to see the difference, but to close family the differences were there already. The nurses put them in the same bassinette because they were contented that way. They needed each other, and would continue to, the way only twins do. They would understand and protect each other the way that twins can and will. They had begun a journey together nearly nine months earlier, and now they were embarking on the next leg of that journey. It’s going to be fantastic.