Thursday, February 02, 2006

Noise and Destruction Turn Nine

Noise and Destruction turned nine today.

Nine years ago I had stayed up late the night of Feb 1st. Really late. Our first child was spending the night with Grandpa and Grandma, our twins were due in 6 weeks and my dear wife was very tired. So she went to bed early and I stayed up late reading and watching old movies. I finally turned in about 2:30 in the morning.

At 4:30 AM after I had only been asleep 2 hours my dear wife shook me awake with a worried "Honey, I think my water just broke."

I groggily rolled over and asked something really brilliant like "Are you sure?"

Then the odor hit me. When our first child was born we had rushed to the hospital after my wife's water broke while she was fixing dinner. Once we got checked into the hospital and my wife was being prepped for her first C-section (Chaos was four weeks early and a Frank's Breach). A nurse handed me a plastic bag with my wife's wet clothes in it. I took it out to the car and tossed it and the towel she had sat on into the trunk. Many hours later with my new daughter and wife well and sleeping comfortably in the hospital I headed for home. I stopped on the way and bought several newspapers, and some supper. Then went home and programmed the VCRs to record the Tonight Show and several late night news broadcasts. Then I called my parents, and finally ate my now, cold tacos. Finally I remembered the dirty laundry that had been aging for the last 8 hours at around 80 degrees in the trunk of the car. I walked into the garage and popped open the trunk. The odor that wafted out of that trunk almost knocked me over. It is a smell I will never forget no matter how tired I am.

So now convinced that my dear wife's water had broken I rolled out of bed and asked if we had time for me to shower before we left. My dear wife assured me that there was no rush as she still hadn't packed her hospital bag yet. So she packed while I showered and dressed. Then we leisurely drove to the hospital, unlike the first time when I was reaching speed nearing 80 mph getting there.

We strolled into the emergency room. Told the nurse that my dear wife's water had broken. They checked us into a examination room and the nurse told us that she needed to do a quick exam. She got my dear wife into the right position and started to check how the babies were. After a few seconds she got a really surprised look on her face and said "Opps! Something just grabbed my finger."

Immediately everything changed. Where everyone had been moving calmly and deliberately they were now running and talking very fast. I heard the nurse in the hallway holler, "Get their Doctor on the phone now!"

They called Doctor Graves at home, waking him up and telling him what was happening. Doctor Graves had been delivering babies in Ridgecrest for many years. He delivered my dear wife's younger brother, and he performed her C-section four year earlier.

10 minutes after calling him, Doctor Graves who always presents a slow, steady and calm demeanor, came running through the door of our room demanding to know why we were not already in surgury like he ordered when they called.

The nurses were frantically trying to get an IV line into my dear wife. The nurse who had just succeeded with the IV, hopped up onto the edge of the bed, and continued her setup while the rest of them bundled up the bed and started wheeling it down the hall towards surgery. I was walking next to the bed holding my dear wife's hand. We were suddenly both very frightened and worried.

As we started down the hall the smallest nurse (petite, slender, maybe 5 foot tall) started to try and pull me away from the gurney. I ignored her and kept walking along side it. She was explaining that I would not be allowed in surgery like the last time because my wife would be under a general anesthetic this time, instead of the spinal she had before. I ignored her and kept talking to my dear wife, trying to calm her down, even though my own heart rate had to be pushing 180 at the time. As we neared the doors to the operating room my dear wife was finally starting to relax. The petite nurse was still pulling on my arm and insisting that I had to stay there.

As the gurney entered the doors to surgery the drugs they were pumping into my dear wife were knocking her out quickly. I released her hand and let them go through the door. As I stood looking thorugh the little window in the door, it suddenly occured to me that the petite nurse was still pulling on my arm and demanding that I move away from the door.

I turned to her and demanded "I want to know what is wrong, and I want to know RIGHT NOW!"

Still pulling on my arm she tried to tell me that nothing was wrong. I refused to move and just stood there. The nurse kept telling me that everything was OK. She tugged on my arm and I demanded to know what was wrong. She pulled I demanded. Finally she told me that I had to go sit down or she would go get help to sit me down. So I moved away from the door.

The nurse then sat down next to me and explained that the first of my twins to be born, the presenting baby, was in the transverse position. Meaning she/he was trying to be born sideways. The first body part to enter the birth canal was an arm. Trouble being two things, first because there were two babies there really wasn't room to turn the baby. Secondly they could not even be sure that the arm belonged to the presenting baby.

So for the moment, everything was OK. But things were not going to stay that way. The birth process was going to continue regardless of what position my babies were in. She told me that very soon many things were going to start happening, most of them bad. So the Doctors were trying to get my babies delivered as quickly as possible, while everything was still OK.

15 minutes later I was the father of healthy, but 6 week premature twins. One hour later I was in the nursery with both of them just crying their lungs out. So I picked up the phone, called my mother-in-law, gave her a few seconds to wake up enough to understand who I was, then I told her that someone here wanted to talk to her. Then I held the phone down so she could hear the stereo crying.

The twins were 4 lbs 11 ozs at birth. They each lost weight those first few hours. Since they were under 5 lbs they had a hard time maintaining their own body temperature. So they had to stay in warmers for several days. I learned from the nurses that calling them ovens was not funny. They kept reminding me that they were babies, not muffins.

My dear wife was released from the hospital after four days. They babies had to wait an additional six days.

It is hard to beleive that I have been the father of twins for nine years. Actually it only feels like about 6 years. The first three years are just an endless blur of crying, pooping and screaming.

We thought we really had our hands full when our first child had colic for 6 months. We weren't too worried about the twins. After all there is only about a 20% chance of a baby having colic and we were 1 for 1. Then we brought home our two new babies and found out that a 20% chance sometimes means going 3 for 3.

It was a rough start but we finally got through it. My dear wife and I kind of divided up the worrying. She concentrated on the immediate worries of figuring out how to hold two babies, feed two babies, rock two babies, change two babies and comfort two babies at the same time. I just did whatever she told me to do to help out. Meanwhile I concentrated on figuring out the long term plans on how we were going to fit one more child than we ever dreamed of having into our lives. I started planning on an extra seat in the car, a larger stroller, an extra crib, an extra bedroom, an extra education, an extra car, etc.

It's been nine years. They have gone by too fast, my babies are growing up too quickly. I never realized how fast they were growing up until lunchtime today at the kid's school when I was playing around on the volleyball court with three little girls from the kindergarten. We were playing throw the ball back and forth over the net. They were so small and so young. Then my 3rd grade twins show up and the differences were amazing.

My little ones aren't so little amymore.

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