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Monday, September 28, 2009

"I Didn't Know I was Pregnant (With Twins)" - My Mother's Story

Impossibly, my twin baby brothers are turning 31 this week.

I vividly remember the day they were born. A beautiful, clear-skied Midwestern City day; my younger sister and I spent the day with our cousins while Mom and Dad went to have the baby.

Yes, “baby,” singular. A girl, specifically.

Or so they thought…

After months of hard work that I prefer not to think about for too long or visualize ever, my parents were thrilled to be expecting baby #3. They had two (quite lovely) girls and, naturally, assumed another girl was on the way.

Incidentally so did the doctor, who, four years earlier, had been convinced my little sister was going to be twins. So convinced, in fact, that he had ordered both an x-ray and a sonogram, only to find one large baby girl in there. Having cried “twins!” once before, he was not about to do so again.

But I had a different theory.

“What do you hope your mommy will have?” everyone from close relatives to complete strangers would ask.

“Twin boys,” I would respond.

This usually garnered a chuckle and a pat on the head, but I truthfully meant it. At the age of nearly seven, I found it ridiculously unfair that my father would potentially suffer the remainder of his days overwhelmed by estrogen in his household.

“Poor thing,” they would whisper behind my back, “I hope she’s not disappointed when the baby is born.”

The morning of September 30th, 1978 arrived. Mom was two days overdue and down to two maternity tops that still fit.

Her doctor – who still believed she was pregnant with only one baby – had agreed to induce her that morning.

But for hours, nothing happened.

At 1:00 her doctor hooked her up to some pitocin, and things got interesting.

Her contractions started fast and furious. The nurse placed an internal heart monitor on the baby’s scalp and wrapped an external heart monitor around Mom’s enormous belly, both to measure the baby’s heart rate. Unbeknownst to anyone, each monitor was on a different baby.

Over the course of the next 30 minutes, my dad (an engineer) began to notice that the internal and external monitors were beating at different rates. The nurse noticed that mom’s abdomen took on a strange shape when it contracted. And my mom became fully dilated.

“Has anyone ever talked to you about the possibility of having twins?” the nurse asked.

“Just a few of my friends,” Mom replied through rapid breaths, “and most strangers.” Before her next contraction she quickly added, “but not my doctor, and I need to push!”

They wheeled her into the delivery room, threw a gown and mask at my dad, and called for her doctor.

As she laid on the delivery table (without an epidural) waiting for her doctor to scrub up, she noticed that the nursing staff in the room doubled, and a second newborn warmer was being brought in.

Confused, writhing in pain, and trying hard to hold back what would turn out to be over 14 pounds of baby in spite of how desperately she wanted to push, Mom looked up at her doctor, who was putting on his gloves and getting in the “ready” position, and, speaking around her protruding belly asked, “Dr. Richards, am I having twins?”

Dr. Richards looked down at Mom and smiled before pulling up his mask. “Mary, I don’t know yet. But when I find out, you will be the first person I tell. Now, go ahead and push!”

Baby Boy A was born at 1:52. He weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

“He looks small,” the nurse said. And, placing her hands on Mom’s belly, told the doctor, “There’s another one right here!”

Dad’s jaw hit the floor. Later the nurses would say that Dad had never put his mask on, but that it would not have covered his open mouth anyway.

Baby Boy B was born at 1:58. He weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces.

The delivery room erupted with cheers of joy. Mom and Dad – once they were able to speak again – started calling their friends and family, starting with their mothers.

“Oh, Mary,” my grandmother so lovingly and confidently reassured her only daughter upon hearing the news, “What are we going to do with them?”

I, however, was not at all surprised. After all, Amos and Otis were exactly what I had ordered.

22 comments:

JenJen said...

I thought this story was the most entertaining I've read all day.
Love the Weekly Jules!

The Jules said...

Lovely story.

I absolutely knew we were having a girl. 100 %. Utter certainty. No question.

You can imagine my surprise when his majesty popped out.

la_vie_en_shoes said...

What a happy story! Aren't little brothers the best?

Bea said...

Love this story!! Happy birthday to your brothers. (And God bless your parents- I can't imagine not knowing until labor!!)

The Dukes said...

1) I am jealous. I also ordered twin brothers at the age of 7 and begged for them until I was 12 when my mom finally explained tubal ligation to me. Needless to say, I never got
them.

2) In a funny, expensive twist of fate, I ended up with twin boys of my own and I can. not. imagine. not knowing you were about to have two instead of one.

LegalMist said...

Awesome story! So funny. And you had to love knowing you were right!! :)

Elizabeth said...

That's amazing that you always knew your Mum was having twin boys! I'm booking in for a reading when I visit the US in December! What's your appointment schedule looking like around Christmas time? :)

Your Grandmother's comments are priceless!

Leah Rubin said...

You're prescient! How'd you know? Are you still able to predict this stuff?

Liz in Hawktown said...

Thanks for the wonderful blog! Happy 31st birthday to your twin brothers! What a wonderful surprise for your family.(And maybe you might want to consider a second career as a TV psychic!!!)
The beautiful little girl who lived next door to us in the mid-70s, a friend and constant playmate to our son, is now 34 and expecting twins in December- a boy and a girl. Their handsome big brother,2,will soon find his life will be different when they arrive !

DK @ Knucklehead! said...

Great work again, Jules. Amos and Otis? Your family wouldn't happen to be Kansas City Royals fans, would they?

(there was a KC player in the 70's named Amos Otis).

Jules said...

I'm so glad you liked this one, it is one of my favorite family tales of all-time.

Regarding Amos and Otis (not their real names), my brother "Amos" had the following to say:

"So...Amos Otis was the local all-star center fielder for the Royals. Dad, being as cool and hip as he was and still is, wanted cool and hip names for his twin sons...but I suppose the boss put her foot down.

"I still wonder how much cooler I might have been with the name Amos... "

In spite of the more conventional name he ultimately received, Baby Boy A (and his nose-picking brother, Baby Boy B) turned out plenty cool.

Almost as cool as their two older sisters.

Diane J. said...

What a fantastic story. Happy Birthday to your brothers! Your mother handled the news quite well. We found out late in the fifth month we were having twins. I was in shock for two weeks, I can't imagine finding out at delivery. The boys came a month early and I was swearing in the Catholic hospital "Where's the G$% anesthesiologist (sp?)?" I never got my epidural either.

What's funny is that their brother, who was 6 when we told him we were going to be having A baby said "I want one of each." We laughed at him and told him he was only getting one. He may have been right on the two, but he only got more brothers. LOL

I know this comment is getting long, but I just want to add that it is really nice to read about an older sibling of twins who is so proud of all her siblings.

Kim said...

Even though Amos had told me this story, it's still cute to read it all again.

I had a good giggle over your Grandmother's comments, "Mary, what are we going to do with them?" What was she expecting your Mum to say, "Oh Mum, I don't know, we'll just hit one on the head or adopt one out!" (totally being silly here and I hope I'm not offending you!)

I think it's time you told Otis that "nosepicking" is not a good look!

That was a fun read! :)

Little Ms Blogger said...

OMG - It sounds like your mom was very calm for finding out she was having twins....when delivering.....

Were you still happy you got your wish after your brothers came home from the hospital?

Gaia said...

Lovely post so heartwarming to read. God Bless.

Sassy Britches said...

How exciting! It makes me laugh to think how far medicine has come (but maybe it would be nice to have surprise twins these days?) in such a short time.

This from my mother: are either of them straight and single and willing to relocate? (sheesh).

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

What a great story! I love how you "knew" all along! Kids can be so intuitive!

How funny you were at the Royal! Congrats to your BIL....I'll be on the lookout for him next year!

sasha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sasha said...

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tubal ligation reversal said...

Very interesting story,

Lilita Rayne said...

Excellent story of your mother, Many women can learn a lot from this situation.

Tubal Reversal said...

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