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September 2018 – April 2019
Lexie went to her eight week ultrasound appointment at Falls Creek Clinic very excited to see her baby, and found out that she was carrying two babies.
The certified nurse midwife, Imani Obama, told her that the ultrasound confirmed her due date to be April 21, 2019.
After the ultrasound, she and Nurse Obama consulted with Dr. Farai about her pregnancy. Dr. Farai and Nurse Obama both agreed that Falls Bridge clinic is not equipped to deliver twins, and that Lexie would need to be referred to a specialist in Grand Pass.
Dr. Farai said that most expectant mothers carrying twins go into labor earlier, and that the clinic is not equipped to care for premature babies, or cesarean section delivery, if needed.
Lexie was in a hurry to get pregnant, but this news worries her. She feels sad that she isn’t going to have the pregnancy she always imagined. It sounds like, at best, she’ll have a good pregnancy, but be considered high risk, and at worse, have any number of complications.
Aston started kindergarten, and on his first day, Raine took off early to meet him, and give him a surprise.
A puppy! The wriggly little puppy licks Aston as he cuddles her.
Another kindergartener, Lisa Hawkins, has come home with Aston and she plays with the puppy too. “What’s her name,” Lisa asks.
“Pippi,” Aston says. “After Pippi Longstocking.”
When Lexie arrives home, she shares the news with Raine, that they are expecting two babies. Raine doesn’t know what to say; childbirth was already an alarming thought for him and now he is visibly distressed.
Mindful of Lexie’s feelings, he puts his hand on her belly and tries to imagine the little beings forming inside. But it’s hard to think of anything as memories of Aston’s mother slipping away after his delivery fill his mind.
He can’t sleep.
He hears the puppy crying at the top of the stairwell in the middle of the night and carries her down to the lawn.
The next morning he comes downstairs, hoping to leave for work before anyone notices he can’t smile.
As he waits for the carpool, he’s glad to continue the puppy’s house training instead of being trapped inside with the family.
Raine and Lexie look at the ultrasound picture, trying to make out any of the features of their babies. Raine tries not to resent the risk that the babies represent, as Lexie wonders what he is thinking.
Lexie is about 20 weeks along, and Liz, the ultrasound tech at Grand Pass Regional Hospital, seems really excited that they are having twins. Sarah Page, their doula, watches calmly.
But Raine is not calm. He glares at the cheerful tech.
A little later, in their specialist’s office, Raine can’t hide his anger.
“We need to plan for the delivery,” he snaps. “Why not go ahead and plan for a scheduled cesarean, so we can avoid complications?!”
Dr. Ono looks at Raine with concern.
“You are terrified for Lexie,” she says.
“Damn right,” Raine says, Lexie looking at him with surprise.
One of Lexie’s greatest fears has been that this pregnancy was too soon, and will cause conflict between her and Raine. She knows, because he never speaks of it, that he hasn’t dealt with Aston’s mother’s death.
Something snaps in Lexie.
“I’m not her,” she says, her face contorted with the pain of realizing that her husband is still grieving his first wife, that he hasn’t been with her for months, when she’s needed him, and this is why.
They look at the specialist. Both of them, intensely private as they are, feel abashed.
“That took a lot of courage,” the specialist says.
Raine looks at Lexie.
Lexie says, “I knew you were hurting, but I didn’t realize…”
“The way you are feeling is normal, with what you’ve gone through,” she says.
Raine breaks down and cries. “I thought I could beat it,” he said. Dr. Ono refers them to a therapist.
“If it doesn’t feel right, it’s ok,” she says, reassuringly. “But give counseling a try. Having someone to listen to your story can help.”
She walks them to the elevator. As the exuberant ultrasound tech shakes Lexie’s hand, Raine feels a little less angry at her cluelessness.
Raine goes home and sits by his son’s bed and cries.
The pain of losing her washes over him and he doesn’t fight it.
They make it to the third trimester. She has really had an easy pregnancy, physically, which is so ironic considering all the emotional pain they’ve been through. She’s thankful that Raine was willing, and has followed through with counseling, and they’ve had some sessions together.
Raine can feel something besides fear and anger now. He feels the wonder that Lexie carries their babies in her womb.
“You are beautiful,” Raine says to her one crisp morning, as snow begins to fall. Lexie has her own personal heaters, and even as the cold presses on the windows, she feels warm and cozy.
Later that week, Lexie holds her sore back and looks at the assembled cribs, trying to imagine how their lives are about to change. With only two bedrooms and one bath, they will need a bigger house soon, but for now, they’ve turned the dining room into a makeshift nursery.
March 31, 2019
She wakes up to a rock hard abdomen and wonders if this is the day she’ll meet her babies. Quietly, without waking him, she slips out.
But soon he realizes she’s gone and hurries downstairs.
“What can I get for you?” he asks.
By that evening, April Fool’s Day, she knows the babies are coming. She tries to take deep breaths, but it’s time to tell Raine they need to go.
They settle in at the hospital late that night and she paces in the spacious labor and delivery suite.
Dr. Ono comes in to check her and says everything looks great. Both babies are in perfect position, a real miracle with twins.
A new day dawns, April 2nd, and she’s still in labor. Raine rubs her back in between contractions.
Dr. Ono comes in to check on her, and she’s doubled over.
They get her to the bed, check her, and the first baby is crowning. The first baby is born after five minutes of pushing, and placed in the waiting incubator. She is pretty, with rosy cheeks. A girl.
The second baby is crowning, and Dr. Ono tells Lexie to push.
April 4th, 2019
After an uneventful vaginal delivery at 37 weeks, they go home after two days.
Lexie and Raine name their girls Charlotte and Emily. They seem to be identical.
Aston is excited to be a big brother and he plays peek-a-boo with Emily, the younger of the two.
Despite the complications, they have come through it, stronger.
It was so funny that all the hospital staff kept freaking out during labor.
Here’s Charlotte, the first born
And Emily, the younger one.
And now it’s time for Round 2!