Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday, Boys!

The boys turned 1 today. Our only plans were to go to the hospital and say hello to the staff. We’re regulars at the NICU—I’m around at least once a month for committee meetings, so the doctors and nurses always get the latest news on the twins. It just seemed right to make a victory tour.

In 2009, 7800 babies were born at Alta Bates. You think that they wouldn’t remember us down on the Labor & Delivery floor. You’d be wrong. I think it was the combination of mono-amniotic/mono-chorionic twins plus the births at 25 weeks plus almost-New-Years-Eve. Everyone remembered us. Some even by name.

Our first stop was the nurses in the antepartum ward. The nurses don’t remember me so well (not even as the person who brought chocolate chip cookies on Christmas Eve for the night shift) but they all remembered Matt. Maybe because he spent every night in Antepartum 12 with me. I think he even had his own shelf in the ward’s refrigerator, filling it up with pepper crusted beef and fresh Straus Family milk from Whole Foods—the desperate culinary requests from a pregnant wife.

The first person we saw was the doctor who’d given the boys their Apgar scores. She knew us well. She was the doctor who decided that the boys would have the ligation surgery three weeks after they were born and the doctor who helped us pick a pediatrician. Next we saw my favorite nurse, Mariann, whose grandson is the same adjusted age as the boys.

Everyone said the same thing: “I was just thinking of you today!”

I had called ahead to see if the doctor who delivered the twins was working today. She was. (Actually, there were nine doctors there in the room when the twins were born. Three for each of the boys and three for me.) This doctor was the one who called the shots and wrote up the report.

She was floored to see what the twins looked like a year later. And so happy! You would have thought that I had just given her a check from Publisher’s Clearing House.

“You just made my year,” she told us, more than once. She couldn’t stop smiling.

“We never see this. We know that most of them do pretty well when they go up there [on the 4th floor], but we never know…” she trailed off.

Every once in awhile I do a good deed (like those Christmas Eve cookies—which Matt baked, not me), but the simple act of showing the attending obstetrician that her handiwork resulted in two miracles with stellar health—twins born three months ahead of schedule, one with the umbilical cord wrapped twice around his neck, the other with a knot in his—feels like the best gift I have ever given. Who would have thought.

I’m glad she knows. I’m glad she knows that miracles happen and that she was at the starting line.

Wagner and Michael in their matching Penn State onesies from Cousin Lawrence

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