Baby Talk: Tales from the crib

After having zeroed in on the general birth date, we paused and reflected on the potential brit for Baby B.

baby talk 88 (photo credit: )
baby talk 88
(photo credit: )
Playing God is not as easy as it looks. Since there was no chance for a natural birth after Baby A flipped out of launch position in the 36th week, it was time to decide when the twins would take their first breaths. Oh, the pressure: Deciding your yet-unborn children's birthday is almost as hard as picking their names - after all, this is something they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. So my husband and I sat down in front of the calendar and, like all responsible parents, made the decision based on a mixture of Ya'ir's daycare schedule and my increasing impatience to get the buggers out. According to our scientific calculations, it would be much better for everyone for me to return from the hospital with double trouble (i.e. the twins) when Ya'ir was to be back in daycare following the Succot break. Sure, it meant that my poor, beleaguered husband would have to take care of the little prince alone for a few days, but according to Mr. Martyr, that was a small price to pay for having the bed all to himself for six nights. After having zeroed in on the general birth date, we paused and reflected on the potential brit for Baby B. "If we wait another day and pull them out on Friday, then it will be a lot easier for the whole family to get to the brit," said my optimistic husband, who really thought our new apartment would be ready in time for us to hold it there. ("Definitely by Rosh Hashana," said the contractor. He merely failed to mention which year.) "You mean I should go through another sleepless night without anything to show for it?" was my selfless response. "I know," I said, "let's do it on Thursday after sundown - the great Jewish loophole!" Thus we met our new little girl and boy on October 20 at 7:02 and 7:03 p.m. (Hai b'Tishrei). It was like giving birth on an alien spacecraft. Had I been abducted? Was I merely a pod person these past nine months, incubating the next generation for another breed's whims and wishes? While that definitely explained the demonic heartburn I suffered throughout the pregnancy, I found out that my ordeal was standard procedure for a C-section. After fasting, filling out forms and doing all the prep work for the elective caesarian section since noon, things started happening round about sunset. The magnificent team at Jerusalem's Shaare Zedek's admitting room did everything they could to make the wait as easy as possible. After undergoing yet another ultrasound to make sure Baby A hadn't flipped back into launch position (she hadn't) and being hooked up to the fetal monitor, it was time to start pumping fluids into my vein and prep my belly for the incision. My husband and I waited several hours, listening to the screams of the women going into real labor and wondered if I was getting off too lightly. But after being wheeled into the operating room, lifted onto the table and strapped down Christ-like under the harsh fluorescent lights, I began to realize just how natural was Ya'ir's birth. Spinal anesthesia was inserted, the lower half of my body was completely numbed, curtains were raised to shield me from blood and gore, the seven members of the team dressed to impress, and the surgery began. Whisk! Out came Baby A, the girl. Whoosh, and a slight pressure. Out came Baby B. "Who let the cats in?" I wondered as I heard them protesting their first encounters with life. Suddenly I felt rotten, like I was going to be sick. But how can you be sick lying on your back? I told my husband, also dressed like a Martian in green scrubs, to tell someone. The angelic surgeon said the sick feeling was perfectly normal and beamed down at me, as if to say, "Right on time." After a few more minutes of stitching and stapling, and I was shown the babies and sent to the recovery room to shake off the affects of the spinal for the next couple of hours. Later, I was wheeled into my temporary quarters in the birthing ward, where I stayed in bed for the good part of a day. Slowly, slowly, after a couple of days of proving myself able to walk and produce bodily functions, I was moved down the hall. Eventually I ate in the dining room - a major schlep - where I realized that I was one of the only women without a head covering, and a real novice at childbirth since the average woman was on her fifth or sixth child. A major difference between my paltry pair of birth experiences: While I was up and walking without assistance and had no need for painkillers within a few hours after having Ya'ir, with the twins I am still recovering, one day at a time. But in the meantime, my husband and I are learning new tricks: how to differentiate day and night, breastfeeding concurrently my two little leeches, changing diapers on a girl... No doubt that Kinneret and Yaron are going to open our lives to more out-of-this-world adventures. And Ya'ir will show them the way. The writer is an unlicensed mother of three.