“Chicken Soup” entry … would you read it, please? If you cry …

On July 29, 2009 by Aimee

… I’ll send you a packet of tissues. 🙂

I’m going to submit this to the Chicken Soup for the Soul : Count Your Blessings book which is due August 3rd(!) … after I double check grammar and punctuation — and the story itself. If you are willing to read it and post comments, that would be wonderful!

Tell me this …
– Does it meet the criteria (http://www.chickensoup.com/cs.asp?cid=guidelines)
– Is it moving?
– Is the story good? (Yes it is true)
– Did I screw up any grammar or punctuation (I did check three times over, but that’s usually when I miss stuff.

And hey … if you have a story, write it and submit!

Let me know!
Here you go! 1075 words (max is 1200)

A Mother’s Intuition

The sterile room was cold. Heat, generated from the bodies of fifteen doctors and nurses who moved about as if in preparation for a concert, added no warmth. I shivered uncontrollably.

Numbness crept higher than anticipated, an effect of the block. As panic gave way to accelerated respirations, my arm was placed across my chest so I could feel its rise and fall.

Repetitive whines and bleeps from a variety of machines and pumps kept pace with the steady rhythm of my heartbeat and that of two others.

Quick and precise, as if their progression was choreographed, a two-part show where I was their stage, was set to begin. My immense, bulging, belly, hidden behind the shield of the blue drape, was no longer under my control.

My silence stopped no one, instead pushed the team to proceed. Voices called to one another, over and around me. Words spoken meant little, the voice at my ear the only one I needed.

“You ready?”

I shifted my face toward him, my husband of ten years. His crystal blue eyes stared back at me. “Can’t go back now!” My smile reached from ear to ear as did the one that emerged from him.

“Still think they’re both boys?”

“Yeah. You?”

“Not gonna say.”

We’d agreed, through the thirty-five weeks of my pregnancy, not to learn their genders. Even the day before, as we stared at the ultra-sound images our technician used to measure and check our babies, we’d kept our pact not to know.

The reminder of our appointment sent shivers down my anesthetized body. It was then we’d learned Twin A was one pound and one inch smaller than Twin B. Worry had infused my body as they’d measured exactly the same until that moment.

“Not to worry.” “It’s normal.” “We see it all the time.” “Ultra-sound isn’t precise when there is continuous movement.” “Even being a millimeter off can have an affect.” Their words were meant to reassure. The tingle on the back of my neck told me otherwise.

“It’s a girl!” My doctor’s announcement was quickly followed by a small cry and a rushed transition of staff.

My eyes filled with tears at the thought of a daughter to add to our son, who waited with baited breath for the big reveal.

Within seconds, another call to the room, “It’s another girl!”

“Two girls!” I mouthed to my husband, as the second was briefly held above the short curtain, her small, crimson-spattered body our first introduction. She too was whisked away into the care of medical staff.

Early, by five weeks, both were admitted immediately to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I craned my neck to watch as each disappeared, one at a time, through the doors attached to the operating room in which I lay.

Twin A, born first, weighed four pounds, twelve ounces and measured seventeen inches. Twin B, born within seconds, weighed five pounds, twelve ounces and measured nineteen inches.

With my girls tucked away, under the auspices of a qualified team, I was returned to my room to recover. Countless staff entered and exited, with questions about my history, charts and to lift my spirits with words of encouragement about the health of my babies.

My first introduction to them, aside from the brief sight in the OR, was within the confines of a photograph. They laid, entwined with cables, cords, lines and tubes, in warming beds — separated on their birthday.

“When can I see them?” Phone calls to Grandparents, family, friends and coworkers complete, I was desperate to see my girls. I wanted to hold, caress, kiss and hug them. They weren’t yet real to me, the fact that my belly no longer swelled just wasn’t enough.

“Probably this evening.” My nurse suggested.

“Oh, ok,” I’d responded. The fact that I couldn’t feel my legs kept me from pressing further.

At the knock, I cheerfully answered, “Come in!” and was greeted with a smile from my doctor.

“How ya feeling?” She patted me on the knee as she sat on the edge of my bed and faced me.

“Pretty good, but I haven’t gotten to see them yet.” My eyes wanted to tear as sadness poured into my soul. My babies were hours old and I’d barely seen them.

“You will. Soon. We’ll make sure of it. Have you decided on names?” She encouraged.

“Yes. I only have the photos, but we think the little one will be Emily Suzanne and the bigger one, Abigail Jyne.”

With my husband at my side, she began to replay the surgery in layman’s terms. “Everything went well. Your Emily, Twin A, was under distress when we reached her. She’s probably why you went into labor today. We weren’t sure about Twin – I mean, Abby, so we moved quickly with her.”

“I noticed she was out within seconds of the first, but she got her own minute.” My husband noted.

“That’s right. We like to give them their own minute if we can.” She must have noticed my bottom lip quiver as I was thrown by the new revelations. She looked directly into my eyes as she continued. “They are going to be just fine, Mom. Perfect. Beautiful. A few weeks here and good as new.” She patted my leg again. “We’ll get you over to them soon,” she added as she stood to depart. “I’ll check on you again in a bit.”

“Something was wrong, wasn’t it?” I looked to my husband as a world of uncertainty fell upon my shoulders. I’d known from the moment the first contraction hit that our appointment the day before meant more than I was led to believe.

Three weeks later, as my tiny, red-faced, daughters snuggled within the confines of their car seat, prepared for their departure from hospital, the report from pathology arrived.

Standard procedure at the birth of twins, each placenta had been tested. It was confirmed, that of Twin A, had separated prior to birth.

They didn’t have to tell me she was lucky to be alive. I knew. She shouldn’t be here. But by the grace of God and his guiding hand upon my doctors, she is.

On July seventh of this year, Emily Suzanne and Abigail Jyne, identical twin girls, with strawberry brown ringlets and green-blue eyes, entered kindergarten, together.

Every day I count my blessings. One. Two. Three.