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Boys in NICU 001At 5:00 a.m. on the morning of June 3rd, I sat bolt upright in bed.  I hadn’t moved that fast in months, but I had good reason.  Niagara Falls gushed between my legs.

I shook Dan awake.  “I think my water broke.”  I slid off the bed and waddled to the bathroom.

He followed me.  “I can’t believe it.  Six weeks early!”

I shook my head.  “This shouldn’t be happening.”  Then a strange calm settled over me.  “No.  It is happening, so it’s meant to be.  We’ve got calls to make.  The doctor, our parents…”

All at once, the Reiki Master’s words came back to me.  Whoever this is, he’s going to be present at the birth.  Actually, a lot of spirits are.  I don’t know why, but it’s like they’re crowding around, vying for the chance to be there.

No wonder!

We made it to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and the staff there organized an ambulance to the airport.  By the time it arrived, minor contractions had begun.  One paramedic started timing them, while another strapped me onto a stretcher.

I grimaced.  “I’m sorry you guys have to move me while I’m so heavy.”

The paramedics exchanged grins.  “That’s our job,” one said.

In the space of 15 minutes, they wheeled me into an ambulance and onto a plane.  Then we were in the air.

When we reached the mainland, a second ambulance stood at the ready.  The original paramedics wished me well, and the new team took over.  I felt like we were playing some bizarre game of musical medics, but there was nothing to do but go with the flow.

During the 40-minute ride to Beth Israel, Dan rode in front with the driver.  The paramedic on my left seemed determined to keep me calm and struck up a conversation.

“Were you shocked when the doctor said you were having twins?” he asked.

“No.  I already knew.  There were signs, and I’d had a dream about it.”

He smiled.  “You sound a lot like my wife!”

By the time we arrived at the hospital, we were chatting away like old friends.  Then new hands whisked me onto an elevator, along a maze of corridors, and into the long-awaited hospital room.

My doctor was away—en route to Nantucket, believe it or not—but his colleagues stepped in.  They gave me magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions, hoping to buy another 48 hours.  Their primary concern was the boys’ lungs.

“Every minute counts when you’re dealing with premature birth,” they told me.

Everyone expected the magnesium to work.  Translation:  no epidural!  It actually lengthened my labor, and by mid-afternoon, the contractions were brutal.  First one pain gripped me, then another slammed it home.  Over and over again.

One nurse gaped at the monitor.  “I’ve never seen this before.  It’s like double contractions.”

Dan squeezed my hand.  “Well, you are having twins.”

The “twin peaks” went on for hours until just before 6:00 p.m.  At that point, the doctor discovered my cervix had dilated from three centimeters to ten in as many minutes.  The babies wanted out, and nothing in this world was going to stop them.

The nurse who’d refused me pain medication all day gave me a nod.  “I guess you really were in labor.”

You think?!

If the pain hadn’t been so severe, I might’ve laughed, but there wasn’t time.  Connor’s butt was lodged in my cervix, which meant an immediate C-section.

Dan was bustled out of the room and into sterile attire (complete with blue shower cap and booties), and I was rushed into surgery.  Once again, I apologized to the staff for my hefty frame as they hoisted me onto the operating table.

“Don’t you worry,” one of them said.  “We do this all the time, and we’ve moved bigger patients than you.”

I took his word for it and buckled under the force of a new contraction.  Time was of the essence, so an anesthesiologist gave me a spinal, which mercifully removed all sensation from the abdomen down.  Then I met the surgeon in a “hi and good-bye” fashion, and Dan was at my side.

Soon after, a tiny cry rang out.  It was Connor, and the fact that he’d been able to cry boded well for his lungs.  One minute later, it was Geoffrey’s turn to rage against the light, and he did so with utter abandon.

They weighed 3 lbs. 6 oz. and 3 lbs. 9 oz. respectively.  Dan cut their umbilical cords, while I lay like a slug on the table.  Even so, the nurses tried to include me.  They held the babies where I could see them for five seconds, then bundled them off to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Our family had just doubled, and incredible as it seemed, Dan and I were parents.  We were totally responsible for two new lives whose tiny bodies and delicate features were perfectly formed.  They were indeed identical, to each other and to the faces I’d seen in my dream.

Rewind half an hour and travel to Florida.  My parents, who’d been with us in spirit and prayed all day for the babies’ safety, went out to dinner.

A short while into their meal, a toddler at the next table let out a single cry.  He’d been calm and well-behaved before then, and his cry sounded more like an infant’s.

Comprehension seized my mom.  One of the babies was just born.

She asked my dad to check his watch.  It was 6:15 p.m.

One minute later, the same child emitted a second cry, which also resembled an infant’s.  Dad glanced at his watch again.  It read 6:16 p.m.

Mom had no doubts.  “There goes the second one.”

The toddler kept quiet for the rest of the meal.  First thing after dinner, Mom called Dan on his cell phone, and he confirmed the twins had arrived.

“What time were they born?” she asked.

His answer came as no surprise.  “6:15 and 6:16.”

What did surprise us all was a related phenomenon.  Three women who were knitting blankets for the boys stayed up most of the previous night to complete them.  Even though the due date was six weeks away, a sense of urgency compelled them to finish the job.

Everyone and everything is connected.  The events surrounding the boys’ births erased any doubts we still harbored on the subject.