Chapter 23: Melanie
I hear Martin’s car in the garage, and then he comes into the house.
“Hi,” I call.
He comes into the living room. He’s pale.
“Are you okay?”
“I feel like a criminal.”
“In a way, I am one. I just got a speeding ticket.”
“Joseph gets those sometimes. Mom yells at him, but I won’t yell at you. I’m guessing you were hurrying home.”
“Okay, but there’s no need, and don’t do it again, please.”
“I won’t. I thought I was gonna cry in front of them.”
“I’m sure they’ve seen worse.”
“How’s your labor going?”
“It’s pretty much stopped. Mom called around nine. Her plans got canceled, and I told her about maybe being in labor. She said to call her any time. I told her I would, but I’d call your mom for the ride because she can just leave her house and lives closer. Mom likes that plan. I called your mom and she likes the plan, so we’re all set. Can you run and buy what we need?”
“What we need?”
“Yes. Two cribs, two carseats, a stroller that can fit two, and a bunch of other stuff. I’ve been making a list.”
I hand it to him.
“That isn’t gonna fit in my car.”
“My dad would like to help by offering his truck for transportation and his hands for setting things up.”
“But we have a few days to figure all that stuff out. We don’t need to run out and buy everything now, do we? I thought you said labor stopped.”
“I said it mostly stopped. For now, anyway. It could start any minute, and we need to be ready. They won’t keep me in the hospital for long. I might only be there for a day after they’re born. When I come home-”
A strong contraction grips me.
“I think it’s starting again.”
I reach for my phone.
“Are you calling an ambulance?”
“No, I’m calling your mom. I think I’ll ask her to come over so we can just leave for the hospital when it’s time.”
Once his mom arrives, Martin calls my dad and he comes in the truck.
Grace and I sit and chat for a couple of hours, and then my contractions start to become a problem, so she drives me to the hospital.
My mom meets us there.
An hour later, I’m fully dilated.
Martin and Dad are probably at home setting things up.
I wonder how many rooms they’re using.
Everything is a bit of a blur as I push and shove my babies out into the world.
Somewhere between the first and second twin, I hear the words, “You have a boy!”
The second one is a girl.
I hold both of them.
“Please get a picture,” I say.
Mom takes my phone and snaps a few of me holding my twins.
They’re so tiny.
I count their toes and fingers.
“I did that with Martin,” his mom says.
“I did that with you,” Mom says to me.”
The boy cries.
“Oh, I think he wants to meet his grandma.” I hand him over to Martin’s mom. “This is George.”
“Oh, thank you. Hi George. Nice to meet you.”
The little girl cries.
“Ready to meet Grandma?”
I hand her to Mom.
“This is Catherine, but we’ll call her Cat or something else so it doesn’t get confusing when Martin calls either of you.”
“Thanks Mel,” Mom says. “Hi Cat, it’s nice to meet you.”
I get my phone and text Martin.
Melanie: Hi Dad.
Martin: You’ve got the wrong person.
I burst out laughing.
“What?” both moms ask in unison.
“I called Martin Dad, and he told me I had the wrong number!”
Both of our moms cry laughing.
Then they exchange grandchildren.
“Hi Cat,” Martin’s mom says. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Hi George,” Mom says. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“I wish my husband were here,” Martin’s mom says. “He’d love what just happened with the messages. Have you answered him yet?”
Melanie: You are a dad now. We have a boy and a girl. They’re George and Catherine, but we’ve been calling her Cat.
His one-word reaction says it all.
I text Dad.
Melanie: Hi Grandpa!
He replies with a heart emoji.
Another simple but true reaction.
We all heart each other in the wow.
Is that supposed to be poetic or something?
We all wow each other in the heart.
I must be tired.
I text everyone else on my contacts list.
Martin and Dad come to visit.
Then the rest of my family and a bunch of my friends come by.
I’m surrounded by people, and I’m tired. I also need to learn some things, and I’d rather not have too many people around while I do that.
Somebody understands, and the crowd melts away, until just Martin is left.
He looks as tired as I feel.
“I’ll just learn how to feed them, and then I’m out for the night. I know you’re tired, and I don’t mind if you go home to sleep in a real bed. How many rooms are we using?”
“You’ll see that tomorrow.”
The next day, Martin comes early.
“Once you’re allowed to go home, your dad’s gonna bring the truck so we can all take you and the kids home.”
“You mean your mom and mine too?”
“Right. I’ve taken the rest of the year off.”
“Yeah, but that’s only two months.”
“Oh, right. I keep forgetting what day it is.”
Later that evening, Dad drives us home.
We get out, and Mom hands Cat to me, and Martin’s mom hands George to Martin.
“We’d better go,” Dad says. “Have a quiet first night.”
“No,” Mom says. “Not a quiet night.”
“No? Oh, is it a silent night?”
“No. Break a leg. Have a noisy first night.”
We all laugh, wave goodbye, and then Martin and I carry our kids into the house.
There’s just one crib in each room.
“You texted just in time. Your dad was thinking twins were the same sex, so he was going to put them in the same room. When I read your message, I asked him to put the second crib in the other room since they would eventually need their own rooms anyway.”
“It’s not that, it’s so they don’t wake each other up.”
“Oh, well. The rooms are ready now, so can you show me how to put these two into their cribs?”