First post of the new year! Yay, yay, hurray!
May my prize be paid in gold and chocolate! Or maybe just in free (But trustworthy and reputable!) babysitting because Gods know I have yet to take an uninterrupted piss, an unshared bite of something too sinfully good for anyone, or a moment where the ear piercing "MOMMY!!" doesn't throw me into some shade of panic. Take, for example, the sack of bones thud followed by the 'im in pain and its actually real' cry I heard today from downstairs. What with the crummy weather outside and my worsening hip injury, I ended up hobbling and hopping to the stairs on one leg and doggy crawling up to the second floor where I find one child pale and standing at attention in the hall while the other is buggery with tears and snot on the floor all red faced. Something about swinging small kid around and big kid dropping her on her head I just dont know. I need a fucking break. My breaks without kids usually involve errands. I DONT WANT TO BE AN ADULT!!!
Lets face it though, I was never quite a kid. Ive had nearly a 23 year run as an adult in 27 years of life. But those were really situations out of my hands. I was a kid playing at being an adult in an attempt to stay sane and alive. I left that life when I was merely 15 and thought I was, in some doggy-paddle sort of way, coming up for air.
I was 17 when a 1am 'feeling' landed me in the bathroom staring at two pink lines.
I will tell you now that I thought my world had finally crashed around me. I was fucked (ha!, ironic huh?) and it just cant get worse for a 17 year old emancipated kid.
I was maybe 5 or 6 weeks along the first time I stretched out in an obstetrician's torture table to take a peek at the baby that was causing me some concerning pain.
Any time a radiology tech says 'oh', its not good. I dont care what you have to say about it.
Oh theres two heart beats here Ms. Jimenez....
Two? No...how could there be two...
My life seems to be toggle-controlled because this was one of the first times my life changed at the flip of a switch. Two tiny little heart beats, slightly overlapping and not at all in step with each other, came through faintly across a watery world. I watched dazed as the tech recorded each little life sound wave and catalogued them Baby A and Baby B. She measured each kidney shaped body and pointed out Baby B nuzzled close to the placenta wall facing away from Baby A. Ha, sibling disagreements already.
It cant get any worse I had said. So it did. But now I have twins on the way and its go big or go home right? Cant get any worse for a pregnant 17 year old alone in the world but for her unemployed boyfriend and her dead in the water Air Force Academy candidacy, right?
I think I was 4 or 5 months along desperately searching the black and white screen for Baby B. Wheres Baby B?!
"Sometimes this happens...its called the disappearing twin syndrome..."
Where does a whole baby DISAPPEAR TO?!?
"...The child was likely not viable enough to progress and your body did away with it to allow for better nutrient supplies for the more viable twin..."
Where did Baby B go...
Paddle swimming gets old.
I named Baby A Iris Elizabeth. Iris for the Goddess that brought messages down to earth from Heaven on a rainbow, the sign of peace after all the rain.
Ive never quite admitted this but I named Baby B Gregory. Gregory William.
I dreamt of him a few times. Unruly brown curls and chocolate eyes that would have melted me each time. In one dream he looked at me knowingly as his sister jumped into my arms and he then just disappeared. I think of him more than I should, when I look at Iris and think: Fuck Im crazy for thinking this way.
But what if he had stayed? Would I have lost both babies? Would I have had to see one leave me after knowing their little face?
Iris was born miraculously.
I had asked my stepmom what REAL contractions felt like. She said they felt like you needed to poop but couldn't.
I woke up at 3 am with a nagging pain in my tummy. I tried ignoring it and going to sleep but couldn't Finally I got up and went to the bathroom. Man was my stepmom right about how they felt.
Strapped into the labor bed, I was told I wasn't a single bit dilated but had doctors concerned that my contractions were so strong and close together. In all the commotion I watched my child, who had made my belly bottom heavy, suddenly swim up and seemingly try to crawl into my rib cage. The nurses rushed in and gave me orange juice.
"Her heartbeat is irregular and slow. You need to take sugar and see if we can get her to liven up... you're going to have to have a C Section tonight"
I hadn't even finished the juice before nurses were unhooking my bed and the anesthesiologist was prepping me for an emergency C Section.
"Were losing her heartbeat"
I was the most chicken shit mother to ever have a Cesarean. Ill admit it. I cried and I yelled for fear.
The surgeon, Dr. Pepper (I kid you not!), was very quick. It wasn't very long into the procedure when I heard him say: "Well, she's blonde!"
Noon on the dot, January 21st, Iris was born.
But I didn't hear her cry... I asked everyone why I couldn't hear her. They chuckled and commented on her just being quiet as the delivery nurse briskly walked away with a little bundle to her work station. No sounds. No cries. The nurse rubbed her and wiped away the gunk, that much I could see. Then she stepped aside as Daddy came to see Iris and I glanced this little lily white baby, lazily lifting an arm and letting it fall down. Downy head of the finest blonde fuzz...
The nurse swiped Iris's eyes and pulled a pink and blue cap over the peach fuzz, then wrapped her up in a striped hospital blanket, leaving nothing but a sleeping peaceful face.
"Say hi Momma.."
"Hello my little Iris flower..." A kiss on the button nose and they rushed her away. A kiss and that was all.
It took 24 hours to see her again. I was sure I had imagined the little angel having touched her soft nose to my chapped lips. She was ill. The doctors couldn't tell why her T-cell count was so high and had her installed in the Newborn ICU. I wasn't allowed to touch her, for with my fever I could very well make her worse. I was done waiting by the 24th hour and to hell with wheel chairs that never came. I got up and walked the long corridor to the NICU, trailing little dots of blood from my emergency incision, damned if I wasn't to see my own child.
Iris spent 14 days in a little clear box, her little arms taking turns being strapped to a board that enabled 2-3 IV ports each. I spent hours each day just holding her to my heart, blessing the sound of her breathing and her little fist grasping me close.
To say that Iris is the gentlest of souls puts it mildly. She may not always follow directions properly, nor abide the rules as she should...but she is a kind and mindful girl. She has a moral compass I envy from time to time, and an innocence that seems otherworldly in its wiseness. Sometimes she seems like too much soul for one body, when she looks up at me and smiles like she knows what Im thinking. Or when she brings me a tissue to wipe away tears I swore no one knew about nor could hear. This is the baby girl whom when I fell sick with the flu and she was barely 2, brought me a blanket and herself a box of cheerios settling in quietly on the couch for 4 hours and guarding her mother. When I look at her playing quietly I wonder if I would have the sight had Gregory held on. I wonder also what it would of been like to see two little heads bent over some game, same age, same height, same birth. None the less, each year, on the 21st of January I celebrate her arrival in my world and I thank life that she at least made it.
I wont say this keeps me from losing my mind over her having taken her little sister and swinging her about the room till she collided with the floor. Nor that sometimes they both drive me to drink....Im not a saint.
This year we celebrated with Japanese food, cupcakes at school, and her very own recurve bow. My little fighter wants to follow in Momma's footsteps. Except I hope she has much better aim.
I look at her, all 9 years now, and sometimes feel like that 'too much soul for one body' is what happens when two children sharing a womb end up as just one. Is it crazy to think I didnt much lose him entirely?
Happy Birthday Doll-face. Thank you little sound-wave Baby B; Gregory.