As I write this, I reminisce about the pregnancy and the day I gave birth to them and I smile broadly with gladness in my heart.
Six times I’ve embarked on this journey, the fifth brought forth two babies. I remember the day I got the news. The vomiting was out of control and my doctor suspecting something, ordered a scan. The cold gel hit my belly and I frowned as the technician casually said, “Oh… that’s the reason, there are two of them in there!”
On hearing that, I burst into tears! The poor technician panicked and confused, began to comfort me. “It won’t be so bad dear, it’s hard being a single mom but people are kind and will help. Twins bring out the best in many, you’ll see”. She thought I was crying because I was a single parent overwhelmed with the prospect of twins. I laughed and assured her I would be fine but gave the reason why.
She didn’t know my tears were out of fear for the battle which lay ahead. You see, I suffer from hyperemesis when pregnant. This means from the first month to the day I give birth, I vomit and hardly keep anything down. I just could not imagine the double portion of torture sure to ensue soon, hence the reason for my tears folks.
She laughed and apologized, reassuring me perhaps fate would be kinder this time. The ER in Central Middlesex Hospital in North London was buzzed that morning. Everyone excited about the mother of four who just found out she was carrying twins. They were excited and curious to see my husband’s reaction when given the news.
When the time came, a nurse hurried into my cubicle with flushed rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes announcing he was here.
“Let me tell him, let me tell him please” she begged.
I smiled and nodded. She dashed off immediately and in about a minute, I heard his laughter, “Oh my gawd! hahahaha…you are kidding me! Babes, Babes, are you there?”
This was his response and he ran to me. Horrified, I observed him angrily. What’s with the joy, I wondered, he’s not the one who will carry this weight the next eight months is he?
My poor hubby the enthusiast! Nothing ever brings him down. He cheered and praised God, as always making positive pronouncements in my favor and savoring the joy of the news.
Our lives went back to normal, whatever normal was for us and my journey began.
Weeks of barely eating and constant vomiting ensued. The routine was two weeks home and one week in the hospital to be hydrated, so continued my so-called normal life.
I still had to be mom to four other kids; hubby worked and did what he always did whenever we are pregnant, take over some of my duties as best as he could while I struggled with the rest.
Poor man! He ran from pillar to post and in between, had to listen to my cries and complaints. The days grew longer and as usual, I began to adjust. Not only was I caught in this web of misery called hyperemesis, I also happen to be one of those women who spit excessively when pregnant, I mean every other minute.
Many women of African or Caribbean origin will tell you how disgusting and tiring this thing is. I can’t emphasis enough, just how humiliating it is to spit on the roadside. No matter how discreet you are; people still see you and frown in disgust.
Little do they realize you are expelling bile or something I can only describe as saliva solution mixed with the most bitter herbs. Yes! That’s that how gross bile tastes. Who would want to swallow this? if you do, you vomit even more.
To save myself from angry stares and sometimes confrontation from total strangers, I made myself The Spit Bin. A small darkened plastic container with a lid which I carried around in my purse and whenever spitting called, I simple opened and spat.
I still got disgusting looks from complete strangers,but I didn’t mind too much, if only they knew.
The technician was right, fate was indeed kinder to me. Turned our the twins pregnancy was the best I ever had so far. Yes all the usual things were there, but by the fifth month, I began to eat and keep food down…some of the time. I still vomited everyday, sometimes two or three times within the day, but I this time I was able to eat everything I laid my eyes on.
By the seventh month, my belly had grown so big, you could see it way ahead before the rest of me emerged, but strangely enough I did not gain too much weight.
My youngest child at the time was only two but my little man was so independent, I did not have to worry about him. He would only cuddle up to me at bed time. Once I put him down, he would rub my belly and say “Baby” and I would smile and reply, “Yes Obi, two babies”.
At exactly thirty eight weeks on July 19th 2002 at twelve ten p.m., I went into labor. The first baby came at 1:05 pm, and 7 minutes later her sister came at 1:12pm. I was told they were big for twins, weighing 6.7lbs and 6.8lbs respectively.
My babies were so cute! Little bodies covered in amniotic fluid. I looked in awe as though I had never seen babies before. Amidst the buzz in the delivery room, all two of every professional present congratulated me and they all circled around my babies.
The rest I’ll leave for another time. The only regret I have is allowing myself be caught up in my crazy excited mother-in-law’s joy as she gave them traditional names as done in their culture. Each baby has six names and stupidly, I allowed the council registrar put all six names on their birth certificates. How was I to know that years later this single action would come bite me in the butt?
The time came to get their Social security cards; this was when the biting began, how do you put in all six names? I’m happy to say after many weeks of mix ups and personal interviews and sworn affidavits, Homeland Security eventually decreed my girls were not impostors and six separate children. They got their social security numbers.
So back to today, I can’t believe how much they’ve grown. Still very much attached to each other as they were in my womb; like letters A and B, numbers 3 and 4; they take life together, hand in hand, one after the other.
It’s been a joy watching them grow and today, as has been on other birthdays, I find myself reliving their journey so far.
So with a heart full of joy and gratitude, I thank the heavens and wish them a very happy birthday. May my eyes continue to witness glory and goodness in you two girls and may all the joys and wonders of childhood be yours to cherish as long as time permits.
All we can do is grow older. Live as children still, while you can.
FOR MY GIRLS, TAI AND KENNI WITH MUCH LOVE.