When I was in my late 30s, I started to want to have a baby.
My husband and I talked to our doctor, who said I should stay off birth control pills for three months to let those hormones get out of my system. We used condoms for a while, but at three months, we didn’t. And bang (so to speak), I was pregnant.
I wanted one child, given my age. But at five months when I went in for the amniocentesis — the test where they stick a needle into the amniotic fluid to check for birth defects — the technician said meanly and in frustration, “You didn’t schedule a double appointment.” I apologized. I said, “What’s a double appointment?” She said: “Well, you DO know you’re having twins, right?”
My world shifted at that moment. Well, it actually shifted when the egg split, but I hadn’t known that.
When the results came back, the lab called. The answering machine message went something like this: “We have the sex of your babies. If you do NOT want to know the sex of your babies, then hang up now. I am about to tell you the sex of your babies. . . .”
I was like: Come on already! I wanted a boy and a girl. Second choice: Two girls. Third choice: Boys.
I kept listening to the machine. The man’s voice said: “You are going to have two boys.”
I burst into tears.
My doctor scheduled an inducement short of full term when the babies got large, and she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to deliver them. After 24 hours of labor, I managed to get my son Sam into the world, but the docs had to go after Gabe in a C-section. When they took me off the epidural, I’d never been in such pain in my entire life (Future mothers beware: The effect is instant).
There is a point to this story.
I was in such pain that I didn’t want to have anything to do with those darn little babies. Keep them away! I just wanted to curl up and die. My husband kept saying, “You should come look at them!” and I would yell “NO!” and finally after an hour he said, “I’m going to go get one of them.”
I don’t know if it was Sam or Gabe that he brought back to my room in a little bassinet, but when he rolled it up next to my bed I opened my eyes and there he was, lying there with his little blue and white cap.
An angel. (So it must’ve been Gabriel.)
It was a person! A little teeny person! Oh my God! It was an earthquake, a sensation that shook my whole body. Immediately I felt I would dive in front of a train for this guy. I would do anything for this guy. I would crawl out of my bed in pain to protect him, love him, feed him, hug him, comfort him, teach him, entertain him.
Until that moment I had no idea how much love could be felt by the human body.
And until this moment, I had no idea how horrified I could be that our government, the United States of America, headed by Donald Trump, would rip children from their parents at the border and hold them in what we call “detention centers,” but I consider to be concentration camps.
When White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Attorney General Jeff Sessions started talking about the Bible and saying that a “decades old law” is being enforced, I asked, where is that written?
Are we now approaching the evils of Nazi Germany? Are we already there?
Remember the phrase from Martin Niemöller:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We are all Socialists and Unionists and Jews and Catholics, and — everything. The question is: What do we do now?