Benjamin and Jacob's Birth Story By Cynthia Print
Birth Stories - Multiple Births Stories
Monday, 01 December 2008 09:59
The day that we found out that I was pregnant, my husbands brother was dignosed with cancer. Two days before my scheduled c-section my brother-in-law died. As life unfolded and formed anew in me, his life was fading and failing and we all experienced simultaneously the ebb and flow of human existance. Because my husbands family lives a two hour flight from our home he would have to fly home on Friday afternoon( the 31st) for the funeral. I called my doctor to ask if, under the circumstances we could move the section up one day to July 30th. She agreed. And so it was that within a 24 hour period my husband would greet his babies and say a final goodbye to his brother. Suddenly I realized that in 18 hours I was going to meet my sons. What had seemed so far away now seemed hurried and I found myself in a daze as I called around to re-arrange all our plans. That evening my husband and I sat silently trying to deal with the turmoil of emotions in our hearts. As we kissed goodnight there were no words at all that could possibly describe the conflict we both felt. It was all eerily organized. We arrived at the designated time at the designated room. We changed into hospital gowns and sat outside the surgery room while all my vitals were checked and the babies monitored. I felt as if I were an onlooker, for some reason a little detached. But before we knew it we were within the sterile steel and glass of the surgerical room where in a few minutes we would greet our sons.

Everything went smoothly. My fear about the epidural not taking the frist time was unfounded and I lay there feeling myself go numb and cold. I hate the helplessness of being awake yet unable to move. I tried to focus on the babies. But as the curtain went up and the lights began to blink and the doctors began to mutter instructions it became frightening. As I lay there I felt panic rise in me and I turned to the anaestheologist and asked " How do you know that I am really frozen when you begain to open me up?" Smiling she peekd at me from above her mask. " You are already opened up". Suddenly I was not ready at all. I needed more time to mentally prepare. I felt a tug and a slight pushing. And then I heard the cry, a lusty, loud Benjamin flailing against the hands that delivered him. Less than a minute Jacob wailed his way into the world, every bit as loud. Both 7 pounds. Both 20 inches.

"They are beautiful" I heard the doctor say. " Perfect little boys" another assistent declared. "They are incredible" my husband said. But I was sobbing loudly. Crying from both sides of my heart. Crying because they were alive and well and crying because their uncle would never hold them. Sobbing because it was over and our story had a happy ending. There was enough grief waiting for my husband when he joined his family the next day. Not every story has a happily ever after. It seemed an eternity until I finally got to see the babies. Everyone else in the room had explored them first and I felt childish because I wanted to cry about that too. But I looked in their eyes, my own two sons but strangers to me . I knew their movements but not their souls. I was afraid of the journey I had just begun. Afraid and terribly tired.

I nursed the boys in recovery. I looked at them, small miracles wrapped in flannel, pushed against me with all their needs and the fear grew. I looked at my husband who was grieving and celebrating by my side. And the fear grew again.

Three hours after surgery I was wobbling my way into the bathroom of my hospital room. I looked at my body, swollen and weary and war-torn. The fear was on my face and in the language of my eyes. I was forcing the happiness out of the core of me but I was still wrapped in conflict. The first day was a blur. All I really remember is trying to study all the details of the babies so that I could be sure that they were not switched on us. That and all the time we spent awake. The next day my husband left us to go to another place were sadness filled all the corners and life half lived had ended.

I had not expected this to be the way that it would be. I have never and never will experience an uncomplicated birth where we sit smiling bedside, cooing at our little bundle. Sometimes we have to say goodbye to our dreams or we end up resentful. Alone in my hospital room I stared with maternal curiousity at my boys. I held their hands and kissed their skin and loosened them from their swaddling. I smelled them and carressed their small bodies and wondered who it was who lay so small on my narrow hospital bed. Who were they inside?

Flowers and gifts and phonecalls and smiling faces filled the room. But I felt empty without my husband at my side. The four days that he was gone were like a time of waiting to go on. I couldn't really start the journey without his hand in mine.