Reclaiming my Birth

To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born.

“David Copperfield”, Charles Dickens


They say that you choose the hour of your birth. I most certainly did, it was something that was mine, I suppose that I knew that nothing would ever belong to me, even before my birth. But it was my hour, it was my hour of my birth. I shared my birthday with my twin, my wombmate, and an older sister but that time,that hour, that minute, it was mine.

An X-Ray, that is how they found me, in an x-ray. My mother was months pregnant with twins and didn’t know until then. My brother’s heartbeat and mine were in synch, that is all we would ever have in common. The day that Mama got that x-ray she brought it home, commanded my 4 oldest sisters to the big room and locked herself and my dad into their bedroom. The big girls, such sweeties, sent sister #4 to snoop. Jewell Cadell was all of 5 years old. She lay down on the floor in front of my folks’ door, peeked under, and saw mama display the x-ray to Daddy and tell him “I’m having twins”. Not, “We’re having twins, I’m having twins”. They’d found me. I didn’t want to be discovered and I was certainly in no rush to be born.

My mother’s pregnancy went amazingly well for a woman carrying twins in the late 1960’s. She carried us to term, no small feat in those days or even these days! Two weeks before we were born my mother was hospitalized and put on bedrest. I don’t know the particulars of the labor but I do know that my twin, William, was born at 4:49 am, September 7, 1968. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck a couple of times and the doctor slapped his bum twice before he made a whimper. Welcome to the world little one! Then it was my turn. Now, I figure that I’d spent 9 months cramped up in the womb of a short little woman and I had room, I was comfortable! I had room to move but I didn’t move down the birth canal.

My mother’s doctor, whom she trusted with her life, decided that I was taking too much time. Things were getting serious. ( I mean what if he was missing his golf game or something?) In all of his medical wisdom, he decided that my mother needed an episiotomy. A woman that had just given birth to a twin and had given birth 4 times prior needed an episiotomy. Genius! When he cut my mother, he cut an artery. She began to bleed to death. She bled and bled as I was being born. My mom died as I was being born. She says she remembered floating above the room and seeing and hearing everything but she was determined to live because she didn’t want the adoption agency to take my newly adopted sister away from the family.

My little brother once told me that we were both born killers. She also died giving birth to him. They revived her both times. Our dad said that he was glad that she lived. He had 5 little girls at home, the youngest having been adopted 6 months prior. When we twins were born, he said: “Well, I wouldn’t have believed he (my brother) was mine if he hadn’t come with a girl.”  That was me, the cereal in the box with the prize. The Toasted Oat pieces mixed in with the yummy marshmallows. If you want a boy, you have to take the girl with the package, sorry. From that day forward, for my mother, it was all about the boy that she’d named for her sainted grandfather, 6 girls faded into the baby.jpg

William and I spent the first few weeks of our lives in the hospital, despite the fact that we were strong and healthy. Mother wasn’t leaving and we weren’t either.  Our first life experience was a cold and sterile hospital nursery of the 1960’s. We were also given cold bottles of formula. Mama told them to not warm the bottles as she had no intention of warming them at home. Cold hospital, cold bottles, cold mother, cold world. I still hate the cold!

To be continued…



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