Friday, October 21, 2011
THIRTY YEARS AGO TODAY
Within a few months I was pregnant, sick, and tired. Very tired. I could eat a good breakfast and reasonable lunch, but by dinner I couldn’t look at food. For some reason the only thing I had a taste for at night was oatmeal. I couldn’t stand the smell or sight of meat as it was cooking, so John dutifully made me a bowl of oatmeal every night after work. I couldn’t even drink a cup of my beloved coffee in the morning. I would carpool with the girls from work, but if I wasn’t the one driving I would fall into a deep, drooling, sleep.
At the third month of pregnancy, I had to quit work. I was exhausted. All of these extreme symptoms seemed to bode well for a healthy pregnancy and I began to pray for twins. I don’t know why, but the Lord laid it on my heart to pray for twins. By the time I was about five months along, I looked to be seven months. Could it be that God was answering my prayers?
My days were spent doing light chores, walking our Irish setter, and taking frequent naps. I was thankful that I had quit my job so that I could follow the rhythms of my body and do what I needed to do for the health of my child. The further along I advanced in the pregnancy the more attention I drew from people who were sure I was about to go into labor. When I informed them that I was only seven months pregnant, they sometimes backed away from me as if I were not in my right mind. A neighbor and experienced mother of twin boys warned me consistently that I was having twins.
My doctor begged to disagree with me and my opinionated lady friends, and conceded the possibility that I was having an “ouch” baby, not twins. After each visit at my obstetrician’s office, I would lie in bed and feel my abdomen for baby parts. By my count there were far too many feet and other lumps.
By the middle of the seventh month I was unable to do much around the house and I was experiencing severe pain in my diaphragm every evening. I couldn’t get the doctors to take this seriously. They thought I was having indigestion. This wasn’t indigestion and I wanted to reach through the phone and strangle my otherwise competent doctor. Finally one morning I couldn’t stand the pain anymore and in anger I told John that if he didn’t get the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me, I would divorce him. John called the office and repeated my threat at which point they made arrangements for me to have one of those new-fangled ultrasounds.
Off we went to a tech center somewhere, into the office of a female technician from India. I only mention her nationality because I find east Indians to be very humorous and the heavier the accent, the better. As she began the process of looking for an unhealthy gall bladder, WHICH IS WHAT MY DOCTOR THOUGHT WAS WRONG and for which he ordered the ultrasound, she asked, “Did they tell you that you were having twins?” To which I replied, “No. They said it was just a big baby.” She began muttering derogatory things about the stupid doctors, but I don’t remember what she said because I wasn’t sure if John was going to faint.
After a few minutes of disbelief, my Indian tech told us that she could see one baby was definitely a girl, but she could not determine the gender of baby number two. As we left the building, John told everyone we met in the elevator that we were having twins. Once home we called my mother who immediately booked a flight to Houston to help me prepare for two babies. That night was the last night of pain. The next morning I could tell that Baby A (Rebekah), head down, had dropped, making room for Baby B (Rachel) whose head had been causing all of my pain.
Four weeks later, I entered the hospital to be induced. My blood pressure was too high and I was full-term. As I lay in bed watching the Yankees in the World Series, my water broke and labor began. My body went right into hard labor with no breaks between contractions. After five hours it was decided that I needed a caesarean section seeing as they could not control my blood pressure. I had made John vow that he would not let them do surgery on me, but by this time in the torture I couldn’t wait to get knocked out. When I came to, I was the mother of two girls, one 6 pounds, the other 4 pounds, 14 ounces. Rachel was the runt and spent the night in the incubator, but was soon placed in a normal crib.
It is said that when we pray, it is not to conform God to our will, hoping to get what we want from Him. We pray so that our will might be conformed to God’s perfect will. There is no reason in the world for me to have suddenly felt compelled to ask God for twins unless the compulsion originated with God first. He knew I needed those girls. In a way they were the visible representation of the salvation that had come to me three years before. A sign and a seal of being born-again in Christ.
Since that morning of October 21, 1981, there has never been a day that Rebekah and Rachel have not blessed me. There has never been a day of strife between my daughters and myself. Life couldn’t be more blessed than when children love their parents as much as their parents love them and demonstrate that love in their trust and obedience.
I am acutely aware that I really don’t deserve the life I have lived and the love I have received from my husband and my children. God’s grace is sufficient for me and sometimes it is overwhelming. Rebekah and Rachel, I love you more than you could know. May you have the joy from your children that I have had from you.