Nurturing A Woman

I call my daughter LittleLady. Among an assortment of other nicknames including: LadyBug, Gidget, and GoGo. But she’s always been my LittleLady. I love to watch her navigate the world around her. She’s a fact-checker, list-keeper, and rule-enforcer. She is an actual factual Mini-Me (though she looks more like her father). I love her so completely. She’s beautiful, amazing, and absolutely terrifying. I can’t wait to see who she grows up to be.

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Margo was breech. She blocked the door, and ensured that between her and her twin brother, that she would be first. Even if it was only by two minutes. She ruled the womb, and she’s very much ruling the outside world. Her brother succumbs to her requests, demands, and brutality. He loves her and he always gives her what she wants. If he doesn’t hand it over, she’ll take it. At times I wonder if this is a good or bad quality? She knows what she wants, and she doesn’t wait for anyone to give her anything. On the same note, her love for her brother is incomparable. She’d take on a silver back gorilla for him. And she’d win.

Much like me, she is methodical. She keeps things in order. She has a naive compulsion about her that requires her to bring tidiness and neatness to her surrounding area.  She’s unable to close anything or put anything away without first verifying the correct order of the contents and returning the item to it’s rightful home. This is a great quality. She clearly got this from me.

She’s a no-nonsense gal. She has no time for your feelings, your small talk, or long answers full of adverbs or synonyms. She suffers “resting b*tch face”, in as sweet and innocently as a four year old girl can. For example: my mother was recently diagnosed with and began treatment for cancer. In the first hours after my being notified, I cried off and on. As we all sat upon the bed preparing to read, I cracked. My boys hugged me, and comforted me, and whispered “It’s ok mama”. But my daughter stared at me with that gorgeous STONE FACE and said “are you gonna read”? You can count on her to keep things on track.

She never forgets anything. She remembers when it happened, how it happened, where it happened, who was there, what they were wearing, what they said. She is the family journalist. I have email addresses established for all of  my kids and I write to them and send them pictures. I’ll give them the password when they are age appropriate and sufficiently responsible. I fear that she will respond to every email with her account of the events mentioned. I kinda look  forward to it. And I’m also scared.

I cannot explain why, but raising her seems infinitely more difficult and involved. Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman and I am raising a woman? Someone’s future wife and / or mother? I just know that outside of nearly passing out and vomiting when I was told “the first baby is a girl”, I felt shook. A sense of worry came over me that I know will never leave. All children are soft, sweet, and vulnerable. But my daughter seems infinitely so. I am realistic about the fact that this is somewhat unreasonable, but it’s how I feel.

Being a woman is hard work. I will not get into the mechanics and specifics of feminism in modern day America, or being a black woman in this here America, or having been a victim of a numerous amount of situations. Perhaps this is why having a daughter is so alarming. I feel like there won’t ever be enough time to tell her all of the things I want her to know and be cautious of.

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In 1998, Lenny Kravitz released the album “5”. The eleventh song is called “Little Girl’s Eyes”. It was always such a beautiful song to me. You could hear and feel the love and heartache he felt for his daughter. It would be fifteen years before I had my little girl and now that song has taken on a much more profound meaning. She’s petite and cute, with prefect curly hair and an affinity for pink and rainbows. She’s classic. Yet she’s unlike any girl you’ve ever known. And she knows all of that.

So beautiful and so wise
I can see the woman from within my child
When I look in my little girl’s eyes

 Margo watches me do just about everything. When I make breakfast, she approves (and protests) the menu. When I cook dinner, she’s my sous chef. When I bake, she’s my assistant. Whenever I spend more than three minutes looking in the mirror, she wants to know what’s going on. She surveys every thing with curiosity and seeks solid answers to her many questions. She demands prayer at meals and bedtime. I think she’s perfect.

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I pray I can be the kind of mother that she needs. And even more so, the one she wants. I hope that she’ll share with me and laugh with me — right through her teens (a mama can hope, can’t she?). I know there will be a day that she won’t need me to tell her not to put too much milk in her eggs, or too much flour on the counter when she rolls out her dough. But I hope that she’ll think about me and know how much I love her.

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the sectioning of my cesarean

before i tell you the story of how my twin darlings were ushered into the world, let me share with you my initial observations as i look back on the situation. there’s no pop quiz at the end, but these observations will give you insight into my mind-frame and disposition as i became a mother for the second time…and just two minutes later for the third.

obstetric observations:
– cold arctic breeze
– seafoam green tile
– sterile silver objects and tools
– a padded crucifix
– worker bees darting about donning shamrock green scrubs, cafeteria lady shower caps, and bird flu face masks
– THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED! i wanted contractions, dilating, effacing, water breaking, breathing, pushing, screaming labor! i didn’t want surgery. boooooooooo!!!
– fear. unfathomable i-am-not-prepared-for-this fear

and so…
a c-section is considered “major surgery”. looking back, i can’t say that i actually realized that before being wheeled into an operating room. it was quite the experience! i’d hate to scare anyone or bias someone’s opinion, but it was downright unnerving. it gives me a little anxiety just to reflect on it. but, the outcome was phenomenal, and i’d like to share our story.

full term pregnancy is considered forty weeks. that’s from egg-to-sperm conception to uterine eviction. where folks got “nine months” from is a mystery to me. gestation is almost ten loooong months, and a woman feels it. almost all women hit a wall around thirty two weeks. our bodies have been through the ringer. we’ve braved and survived trimesters one and two and as we round third base headed into home — we are exhausted. thirty-six weeks is considered safe. an infant is fully formed, inside and out, and simply gains weight for the remaining weeks. for those of us lucky enough to be blessed with multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc) it is estimated that three weeks be subtracted from the estimated delivery date for each additional baby. in my case, my actual due date was december 02, my predicted due date (subtracting three weeks for the additional baby) was november 11, and my doctor advised that i would not be allowed to carry past thirty eight weeks, which was november 18. the more babies, the less room, and the more opportunity for complications. no bueno.

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snipets from my BabyBump app.

i saw my doctor on the morning of the eighteenth. nothing life changing (or date changing) was taking place. my daughter, Margo (known as baby A) was still breech. she was actually sideways (transverse) and was laying inside my pelvis. my csection was scheduled for the twentieth at nine. i left the doctor, went home, had a meltdown, and set out on a massive cleaning mission. if you’ll recall, this (csection) was not what i wanted. it was not the plan i’d contemplated and devised all these many long months. i wanted to deny it. reject it. but i knew in my mind that it was a necessary evil used solely for the purpose of bringing two tiny lives into the world — hopefully problem free. my logic accepted, but my heart and soul were in denial.

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taken by my coworker. if i recall correctly, from left to right:
13 weeks, 20 weeks, and 27 weeks.

the wee hours of the twentieth came. i zipped my hospital bag, finished the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and eventually went to bed. i woke just three hours later. i was elated, anxious, scared, worried, excited and nervous. i showered, tied my hair up and dressed for the occasion:

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a gift from Tiffany. this shirt turned us into celebrities. everyone wanted to know if i was REALLY having twins, if they were REALLY a boy and a girl, and if they could take a picture.

just after sun up, i woke my son, prepared him for his school day and waited (extremely impatiently) for danielle to pick us up. we loaded up, dropped off my first born and headed for the hospital. i met my expectancy entourage (the twins’s dad and oldest siblings) in labor and delivery. as well, prayer warrior #1 mz. Imelda came and prayed with me just as the whirlwind of procedures began.

undress completely. put this on. opening towards the back. put your stuff in here. sit down. do you have good veins? what’s your name? what’s your date of birth? who’s here with you? we are going to do this, this, and this. then we will go over here and do this. let’s see. oops. i’m sorry. oops. i’m sorry. uh oh. lemme get someone else. ok. hi. oops. i’m sorry. uhhhhh….that’s not good. lemme try again. yes? no. uh oh. oops. i’m sorry. let me get someone else. ok. hi. oooohhhhh. um, ok. sorry sorry sorry. ok, we got it.

it took three people and at least seven needle pricks to get ONE i.v. into my arm. the bruises that occurred from the attempts lasted for at least a month. once the i.v. was in, the green light was given and every little methodical tiny detail was underway. i bid danielle g’bye, surrendered my phone (re.luc.tant.ly!), and was whisked away.

as i lay on the hospital bed, slowly being wheeled away, i lost the warm fuzzy and almost comfortable feeling i had in the pre-op room. anxiety stomped into my heart and i realized that there was a lot more going on than i was prepared to deal with. we turned a corner, turned another corner and approached a doorway. wait. hold the phone. are we going IN THERE? in therrrrrre?

ohSWEETlordBABYjesusSONofGODinHEAVENpleaseNO!

the doorway led to the operating room. a brisk sixty degree breeze came from there. somewhere in my unconscious mind i heard “it’s cold to control the germs”. (*shrug* that’s the nerd in me). seafoam green tile and sterile silver equipment lured my eyesight. there were a few people in there buzzing about. each of them glanced at me and i instantly began to cry. i’m certain i began to shake my head and whisper “no no no” under my breath. if i had been one iota more coherent instead of scared i would have put my feet up and held my hands out, in animated cartoon fashion, to deter my entering THAT room. tears. big whopping alligator tears and a belly shaking sob. sob sob sob.

what’s the matter? is she ok? are you ok? what’s going on? scared? are you alone? ok, we’ll get him. are you ok? are you sure? just scared? you’ll be fine. ok, we’ll get him. we need a second i.v. we are going to do this this and this. ok? ok? are you ok, honey? let’s get started. ok, we’ll get him. a poke. a big bee sting. a burning sensation. lift your leg. lift your leg. help her. hurry.

within ten minutes, i was strapped to a padded crucifix, affixed with a second i.v., given a spinal tap (the bee sting, burning sensation of a pain blocker that numbs you from the boobies down), gently pushed over (because i was mentally numb and then my body went numb and i didn’t move fast enough) and prepped for surgery. i cried the whole time.

the worker bees buzzed about and my nurse; julie said:

we have to count the instruments. you’re going to hear some loud tapping of metal objects together and counting. don’t be alarmed.

shitcrap. don’t be alarmed? that was one of the most unnerving portions of the whole experience. knowing they were counting instruments because someone somewhere had left something inside of someone that wasn’t supposed to be there. ugh. CLINK! one. CLINK! two. CLINK! three. better safe than sorry, i suppose.

soon i saw the familiar eyes of my doctor. he grabbed my hand and greeted me with his ever so familiar “hello dear”. i cried harder. he assured me that everything was going to be fine, move along as scheduled, and within moments i would be holding my sweet babies. he was right. the busy bees put up a curtain at my bust line. the only thing i could see was directly above my head or to either side. WonderTwinDad was finally escorted into the room. he grabbed my hand, kissed my forehead and cheek, shushed me, and took his place at my side. he never let me go.

my doctor inquired about what i could feel and not feel. he asked me if i could move my legs. you bet i can! see? did you see that? ummmm, no. i was certain i was dancing a jig. he was certain i was completely numb and my legs were as heavy as two redwoods plucked out of yellowstone national park. boom! surgery began. there’s something “out of body” about being operated on. i was numb, but awake and alert. i developed a sort of tunnel vision and stared only at the ceiling and at the eyes and hands of the man with whom these miracles were made. without the feelings associated with pain and nerves, one only gets a pulling and tugging sensation. it’s very surreal.

it’s hard to imagine being pregnant for thirty eight weeks and then having the children without the involved birthing. for the most part, my job was done. i arrived. everything from that point forward was out of my control. an incision was made, and the babies were retrieved from within my body. WonderTwinDad said “i see a tiny foot”. i cried. first born was Margo. baby A. they showed her over the curtain but my head was turned and i didn’t get to see her. it was 09:37am. just two minutes later, a tiny little man made his debut over the curtain. Miles. baby B. it was 09:39am. and there … within two minutes, my motherhood had tripled.

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a few moments passed. the worker bees were busy. i know they were putting me back together, but i was oblivious to what was actually being done. i soon heard “mom, here’s baby B for skin-to-skin”. just then, a female nurse laid the tiniest baby boy upon my chest. he was wearing a diaper and a beanie. i was stunned. this little person had been inside me for months and now, finally, i was able to hold him. the nurse reappeared and soon whisked him away. i questioned “where’s the girl? where’s my daughter?” she was in the nursery with the NICU team. she hadn’t wanted to cry and they needed to “stimulate” her. 😦

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moments later i was stitched and taped up and ready to move. within a blink i was in a recovery suite. a huge room all to myself. where’s my daughter? where’s the girl? were my only thoughts. upon setting the brake, WonderTwinDad and the SuperSiblings arrived. they’d been admiring the babies through the nursery window. is she there? did you see her? is she ok? WTDad assured me that all was well. moments later the WonderTwins were wheeled in. the nurse asked “are you going to breastfeed? who would you like first?” i was giddy! my babies! my babies! MY BABIES WERE HERE!!! “give her the girl, she hasn’t seen her yet” said WTDad.

Margo was laid in my arms and i said “OHmyGODshesSOprettyyyyyyyy”. within minutes, i was breastfeeding both babies and that scaredy-fraidy-cat-sissy-lala feeling was gone.

let me give you the vitals:
Baby A: Margo Rae; 6lbs 5ozs, 19.5″ long, born at 09:37am
Baby B: Miles Raymond; 5lbs 5ozs, 18.75″ long, born at 09:39am.

you might consider me a little biased, but i think they are perfect. newborn babies come into the world with their heartbeats and not much more. as the hours pass, you find yourself in awe of their majesty. their tiny bodies and miniature everythings woo you into a state of bliss. i was in a full fledged newborn induced coma. this thing, this surgery was not my plan, but who cares, right? look what i get out of it.

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