"Yes," I would reply, with complete honesty. "It was very painful, so it was only natural that I would want to have drugs while giving birth."
"Oh," they would say, with their disapproval evident. "But what about the baby?"
"The baby? Oh yes, she liked them, too." was my standard reply.
At home though, as any new parent can attest to, my husband and I found our lives transformed. So enchanting was this baby of ours, that within days of her birth we could no longer imagine a life that didn't have her in it. Everything that had passed before her seemed insignificant, and everything that followed was magical. We marveled at our good fortune. I did feel sad, however, that she was destined to be an only child. I had no intention of ever giving birth again, so unless we adopted, our family was complete.
You can imagine my surprise then, when I went for a follow up visit at my doctor's office. After I had regaled him with tales of how remarkable my child was he asked how I was feeling, and then proceeded with my exam. He concluded by telling me that I was healing wonderfully, and that I was now free to resume relations.
"Okay...." I said, truly curious. "What kind of relations?"
"Relations with your husband." he said to my complete disbelief.
I returned home to find my husband waiting for me. He inquired, as to if, the doctor had said anything of importance to me.
"Yes, he did, as a matter of fact." I answered immediately. "He was very emphatic, that I NOT resume relations at this time, and couldn't even hazard a guess about when I will be able to in the future. I can't stress to you enough how serious he was about this."
"Okay....." my husband answered with a puzzled expression on his face. "You better not do that then. What about having sex though? Did he say anything about that?"
I shook my head in resignation, and left the room.
Time passes though, and with it too, dims the memory of the pain. I realize now, of course, that this is a trick God plays on women to ensure that they will continue to procreate. If not for this, no woman would ever consider giving birth to more than one child. In my case I found myself pregnant again, when Holly was the ripe old age of a year and 7 months, and I was truly joyful to hear the news.
My pregnancy progressed beautifully, so it wasn't until I was six months along that the doctor finally suggested that it was time for me to have an ultrasound. My husband asked if I wanted him with me but, since at Holly's ultrasound the only thing we were clear about was that neither one of us could actually see any baby, I told him that he didn't need to come. I went alone that day excited at the prospect of finding out the gender of our new baby.
As my doctor did the procedure though, he seemed oddly quiet. Finally, after some time had elapsed, I asked him if something was wrong.
He turned the monitor, so that I could see it better and then said, "See Amy, here is your baby's head."
I pretended to see it, and then said, "Great, I am glad everything is okay. You scared me for a minute."
"And see here, Amy," he continued. "This is the other baby's head."
I looked at the monitor with amazement, and the doctor and I shared a quiet moment together. A few months ealier I had suffered a miscarriage, and the doctor was aware of the sadness that I had experienced.
"Amy, I think that God has chosen to give you another baby to help you over your loss of the other." he said quietly. I found myself thinking the same.
Once the information sank in I was filled with unparalleled joy, and I shared that fact with everyone in the office. The doctor gave me my ultrasound picture, and I made the drive home, barely able to contain my excitement. It took all my restraint not to pull the car over whenever I saw a passerby.
I wanted to call them over to my car, and say, "Hey, look at my ultrasound picture. You know, the ones that show a picture of your baby, but no one can actually see it. Well, guess what?? This is even better! My ultrasound picture has TWO babies you can't see in it. I'm having twins!" It was very hard for me not to do this, but I managed to keep on driving.
I called Dave as soon as I got home, but initially, his reaction was not as enthusiastic as I had hoped.
"Oh my God, I am going to have to work overtime everyday of the rest of life." he said at first. But then it occurred to him that he must be extraordinarily virile, in order to have produced twins, and after shouting something of that nature to all of his co-workers his enthusiasm began to equal mine. We were very happy.
The remainder of my pregnancy was uneventful, except towards the end when things began to get very crowded. The last three days, before I delivered, I slept sleeping upright in a chair, because it was too hard to get up again if I tried to lay down. I do remember clearly though, that about this time, I began to regularly say a prayer to God.
The prayer went something like this:
"Dear God, please let me have these babies soon. I am only five feet tall, and there really isn't enough room in my body for three people. Someone has to move out of here, and they need to be quick about it. I would appreciate any help you could give me concerning this matter." He answered my prayers on December 18th.
The actual delivery was nothing like my previous one. I arrived at the hospital and gave birth an hour and a half later. I didn't even have time to ask for drugs, until the first urge to push hit.
My doctor had just arrived, and was still dressed in a suit. He did a quick exam, and then said he was going to change into his scrubs. A nurse asked how long I had to go, and he said the first baby was already crowning. He left the room, and the first urge to push hit.
"What was that????" I yelled to no one in particular. In my prior experience I had received an epidural, so I was not familiar with the strength of this urge. I was wheeled quickly into the delivery room where I reverted to my old pattern, and began utilizing a steady stream of profanities. I was vaguely aware that someone kept talking to me, and finally the words clicked.
It was the anesthesiologist, and he repeated for about the third time. "Listen to me. I am your new best friend. Do you want drugs to make you feel better? If you will roll over and keep still I am going to give you a spinal, and you are going to feel a lot better."
"By all means," I said. "Please give me drugs. You have my full cooperation. I promise I will be very still... except for the times when a baby keeps trying to come out, because I find that very distracting." He successfully gave me the spinal.
Within minutes, Gina was born. A beautiful little girl who weighed 6lbs, 7 ounces. Three minutes later, she was joined by her identical twin sister, Jamie, who weighed in at 4lbs, 7 ounces. It seemed like there were about a hundred people in the room at the time, but all I could see were my two beautiful babies; happy and healthy.
A few days later we brought them home; tucked inside giant Christmas Stockings that volunteers had made for the occasion. With great joy we introduced them to their new big sister, Holly. Holly was not quite two and a half by then, but never once did she demonstrate any kind of jealousy towards them, that I can remember. Not only did she seem to love them immediately, but was also quickly aware that they could be used to her advantage.
In preparation for the twins arrival we had redone Holly's bedroom; painting it her favorite color, and giving her a brand new, "big girl bed." She quickly caught on though, how exhausted Dave and I were, and how important it was to us that no one wake the babies up, once they had fallen asleep. About their third day home, Holly turned to me after we had finally gotten the twins to sleep.
"Mommy," she said sweetly. "I don't want to sleep alone in my room anymore. I want to sleep in your bed, with you and daddy."
"No, Holly," I replied. "Remember you have your own special room, and a big girl bed. You need to sleep in there, so that we can all get our rest."
"Okay, mommy," she replied. "But if you don't let me sleep in bed with you and daddy I am going to start crying right now, and wake the babies up." The next few years were a blur, but to the best of my recollection, Holly slept with us for most of them. Dave and I don't make dumb children.