A video, posted at http://www.mommylite.com by Sarah Maizes, triggered a flashback to when my twins were born. So, I’m taking this opportunity to inflict, excuse me, share my memories with you.
The year was 1967 and Husband/Daddy was on his second tour in Vietnam. His first tour was when son was born. That man had great timing!
I was very pregnant and wondering if the baby would ever be born. No sonograms back then, just x-rays that doctors used judiciously on pregnant moms. I awoke at 5:35 a.m. needing to use the “necessary.” When that task was completed I felt a sharp contraction. After 30 minutes I called the doctor and my parents, waking them all from a sound sleep. Mom drove me to the hospital while Dad drove my three-days-less-than-18-months-old livewire son to his aunt’s for day care.
I checked in and was given papers to sign. “You expect me to sign my name? I can barely breathe much less hold a #$%^pen!”
The staff put me in a labor room with another woman who was sitting calmly reading a magazine. Not knowing if she was a “first timer” and not wanting to frighten her, I kept my lips tightly sealed. No moans or groans, much less screams, came from my half of the room.
After a few minutes the nurse wheeled me into the delivery room and expected me to move myself from bed to delivery table. Was she nuts? If I couldn’t write how could I move my overblown body from one horizontal position to another?
Very soon a healthy baby girl slid out and was retrieved by the nurse who began doing nurse things to her. The doctor began palpating my abdomen with what felt like boxing gloves. “Please stop, that hurts,” I pleaded.
“Just hold on a little bit. You know the placenta has to come out,” the doctor said. “Oh, my God! Here comes another one!”
Healthy Baby Girl B arrived just four minutes after Baby Girl A, both within two hours of my first contraction. She was also retrieved by the nurse who did more nurse things. Then the overly-cheerful b***ch laid a wrapped baby on each arm and asked me if I was happy to have twins. I just lay there looking from one baby to the other. Comprehension was not quite there.
Mom related that the doctor approached her in the waiting room with shaky fingers trying to light a cigarette. “It’s twin girls, Mrs. Dillon.”
Then the fun really started. While I was serenely sitting in the hospital feeding BG A or BG B, Mom was busy trying to scrounge additional baby equipment and clothes.
Her other job was notifying Daddy of the births. She visited the American Red Cross office which duly sent a telegram. The next day they called Mom to tell her that Daddy could not be found and was suspected to be missing in action, but they would send a second message by another route. This message was confirmed and Mom could once again breathe. There was no way she was going to tell me that he was missing in action.
Three days later I received a letter from Husband/Daddy. Panic was evident in his pen strokes, “Did you have two babies or four?” He had received both telegrams.
Going home day had its own excitement. Another aunt was holding one daughter while my mother held the other. Big Brother having been told he had two baby sisters, burst through the front door and ran to see the babies. First one girl cried, then the other. Big Brother looked from one to the other and said, “Uh-oh!” then ran to his room. A new toddler sized football eased his fears somewhat.
I don’t think he’s ever gotten over the shock.
When Mom asked which baby she was holding Aunt replied, “This one, because you’re holding that one.”
Oh, the other mom in the labor room? That was her eighth baby.
© Sharon Dillon, July 15, 2010