I was the only one in recovery. Each bed was separated by curtains.
My gurney rolled up to my area, a room made of curtains. And in that room was a teeny bassinet. I saw fuzzy little tufts of hair and two big blue eyes peeking out from the blue and pink swaddle. It was the most alert, perfect, tiny baby I had ever seen.
“Is that my kid?” I asked the nurse.
“It is,” she laughed. “Would you like to hold him?”
“Oh my gosh, of course I would,” I said excitedly.
She took him out of the bassinet and placed him in my arms. He stared up at me with those beautiful blue eyes.
“Hi, John,” I choked through tears. He was so perfect. All of his features were so delicate and tiny. I think I could’ve stared at him forever.
“Were you wanting to attempt breastfeeding?” the nurse asked.
“Oh yes, absolutely,” I replied.
She assisted in getting my gown undone. She helped me place him accurately. The most natural and unnatural thing I’ve ever done.
I heard the nurses from my operation begin speaking to others in the nurses’ station. They were discussing the twins (my boys) that had just arrived.
I asked the nurse with me if she could ask the size of the boys. I would love to know how accurate their weights had been.
The nurse shouted to her colleagues behind our curtain. When I heard their responses, I was shocked.
“Did she say six pounds nine ounces for twin A and five pounds and six ounces for twin B?” I reiterated.
“She sure did,” my nurse smiled. “Those are really great sizes for twins!”
“The entire pregnancy the doctor boasted that they were the same size,” I laughed. “That’s quite a discrepancy.”
“Down to this curtain? In this one?” I heard Jimmy coming down the row of beds, asking to find mine. “Thank you, ma’am.”
He appeared in the doorway and his face broke into a smile. He made his way to sit beside my bed.
“So?” I asked immediately. “How is he? What’s he like?”
Jimmy proceeded to detail the NICU happenings. He told me that James had trouble breathing, which was immediately apparent when he didn’t cry at birth. They put him on oxygen to help him out and then tested his umbilical cord. Apparently the readings showed gas levels that were imbalanced and confirmed he had been under stress during labor and delivery. His blood sugars were also low and he had been admitted to the NICU for testing and monitoring.
“He’s got this crazy dark hair and lots of it,” Jimmy said with a smile. “People keep commenting on how voluminous it is.”
Jimmy showed me a picture of James and immediately I loved him. He was built stronger and bulkier than our little man John. He was clearly a fighter and I knew he’d make it out of the NICU in no time. I was happy Jimmy could be there, but my heart broke a little, desperately wanting to be there for him, too. I wanted to comfort him and hold him and love him through the poking and prodding I knew he had endured.
I would have to wait until my own body could function, until I could walk on my own, in order to see my son. Talk about a motivator.
Jimmy leaned in to where John was nursing. I pulled him away so Jimmy could meet our second born. Jimmy studied his face. I pushed John’s cap aside so Jimmy could see the light tufts of hair on John’s head. We stared at him together and commented on John’s features. We touched his tiny hands. We were both amazed at how alert John already seemed to be.
“Yeah, wow, they’re so different,” Jimmy laughed.
“Definitely fraternal,” I said.
“Thank God,” we laughed.
It would be another day and a half before I met my son James and two more days until we’d be together as a family of four. (Upon first meeting James in the NICU, I was greeted with a loud toot, and comparing that to the James we now know and love, flatulence as a greeting isn’t surprising).
Yes, things did not go according to plan. I had a C-Section, James had NICU time and labor during the time of COVID made for a less than ideal introduction to parenthood.
However, God blessed our entire journey. In fact, for a family with twins, our birth story makes us beyond lucky. I think if we’d arrived any later to the hospital, and I’d gone through with a vaginal birth, James would’ve been in distress for longer. And this might be a different story. We brought two babies into this world with minimal complications and we left the hospital and brought home two babies the same day. That’s a blessing.
Now every-time I look in the eyes of my boys, I am reassured that every cut and stitch was worth it. I would reteach my body how to pee by itself again (after hours of having a catheter in) if it meant I got to meet these kids. I would relearn how to and practice properly walking upright, stretching that surgery incision. They are worth every sting of my incision and every ache of my knees and hips. I would go through this entire thing again, knowing I’d get to be their mama.
So yes, nothing goes as planned. And some things go better than we planned and some things are worse. Yet I’m starting to believe that this is a lesson I’ll be learning over and over again. Learn to go with the flow…as a new mom, I’m beginning to believe that’s all parenting is, anyway.