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May 18th, 2011

Eight years ago today I became a mother for the first time - twice - when Roan and Posey came into the world. I know every mother has prego stories, and I’m no exception. However, I’m completely bored with the thought of discussing morning sickness and swollen ankles and buying undies of an alarmlingly large size (but golly PETE, have you seen those undies???) Rather, this is a reflection on the journey Roan and Posey and I made together to reach that first May 18th.  

I think every mother worth her salt loves to celebrate the birthdays of her children. For me, I have twice the joy and twice the gratitude...and not just because I have twice the children. Roan and Posey came early - way too early, and it’s no exaggeration when I say that they are little miracles. Although I don’t always show when Posey asks me why I never comb my hair (usually on my way to work), or when Roan makes the armpit fart sound for the 216th time at the dinner I am simply wallowing in it.  

I am the second sister in my family to become pregnant with twins. For all those pesky people who want to know, no, we didn’t use fertility. We are just fertile. My brother-in-law once - and only once, due to the wrath he suffered - proudly referred to us as Double Yolkers. Sister Darci had twin girls ten years before me. And, as is typical of Darc, she sailed right through the pregnancy with her belly blazing a way through Wal-Mart aisles across Iowa. At 39 weeks she was induced and my ultra cool nieces were born. They were big and healthy and beautiful. I was quite confident that I would have the same experience. I had apparently forgotten that Darci and I have many similarities - but vast differences. For example, while Darci was helping my Dad chop firewood, I was inside highlighting interesting passages in the Encyclopedia Britannica. While she was racing a minibike around our backyard, I was wearing a skirt on my head and impersonating Crystal Gayle in the living room, complete with candlestick microphone. When someone needed a babysitter, or a housesitter, or someone to cleverly design their new kitchen cabinets, they called Darci. The only reason anyone called me was to see if Darci was home. Regardless, I felt certain that even my affiliation with Wonder Darci would work in my favor.  

So imagine my surprise when, at 20 weeks, I went into labor. Instead of having baby showers and nesting, I was rushed to the hospital that day, and there I stayed. In fact, I was a full-time resident until the very day I reached 29 weeks, which just happened to be May 18th, 2003.  

I met other women while in the hospital who relished their bedrest. They knitted sweaters and wrote long letters to their grandmothers. They played online games, designed baby announcements, watched soap operas every morning and napped every afternoon. They were peaceful and relaxed. And I wanted to punch them in their smiling, pregnant cow faces. Didn’t they realize that the world was going on outside? And we were missing it? Didn’t they know I had a surgery center to run, parties to attend, and a nursery to decorate? And didn’t they lay in bed in fear every night, as I did, and worry obsessively that their babies would fly out of their uterus at any moment if they so much as sneezed? Clearly, they did not. I retreated to my room and entered a phase that is best described as The Great Depression.  

Under normal circumstances, I’m just not the lay-around-and-relax kind of gal. I’m more of the run-your-ass-off-all-the-time variety. So when my activity was suddenly, completely, unilaterally curtailed, I became a nasty little prego. A caged animal on a double dose of hormones, if you will. For some reason I still cannot explain, the only item that temporarily soothed my inner beast was Scotch tape. Poor Sister Deidra was living nearby at that time, and she became not only my link to the outside world, but my supplier. She would speed to the hospital after putting in a full day at a demanding job, and spend her evenings engaged in such fine activities as helping me pee in a bed pan, inspecting my belly button at my insistence to see if she could see the babies coming out, rubbing my feet, opening and then closing the curtains at my whim, fetching pudding, then a spoon, then a different spoon, damn it, didn’t I say spoon not a spork?, then a different flavor of pudding. When she finally escaped my clutches and walked (or ran, God love her) down the hall, I would snatch up my phone and dial her mobile. And I would sob uncontrollably. When she would ask me what I needed, the only thing I could squeak out in reply was, “MORE TAPE!!!!!” She brought it to me in packages, in rolls, in dispensers. Colored tape, double-sided tape, scented tape. Dr. Seuss could write a series of books about my love of tape and its’ many uses. To this day, she and I cannot enter a Fred Meyer or a Target together without her instinctively turning to me and asking, “Dor, do you need any tape?”  

Almost nine weeks and nine gazillion rolls of Scotch tape later, Roan and Posey made their debut. At the ripe old age of 31, I was convinced that I had seen and done all that mattered, and that kids were like icing on an already very satisfying cake. And then came that moment. The moment when they held up my teeny, tiny Posey and I looked into her enormous blue eyes for the first time...and I was lost and found and everything in between. Just one minute later, I had the same experience while gazing into Roans sleepy brown eyes, already fringed with to-die-for lashes. I was forever changed. In the span of two minutes, in an operating room in Salt Lake City, I became a mother. Had I not been numb from the chest down, I would have leapt off the table and wildly hugged every pregnant cow face in the hospital.  

Eight years later, with my kids tucked into their beds and my sisters and I wildly texting each other into the wee hours, my heart smiles. I don’t think parenthood is for everyone, and I will be the first one to support your right to remain childless. But I’m grateful for every fingerprinted window, eye roll, dental bill and call from the teacher, because each one reminds me that I am the lucky mother of two vibrant, sassy buck-toothed kids who defied all the odds to be here today.  

Happy Birthday, Roan and Posey.  

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