Phyllis McGuire: Watching the miracle of birth unfold

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WILLIAMSTOWN — I remember word for word a phone call I received here in Williamstown 28 years ago.

It was in the wee hours of the morning that my daughter, Jennifer, called from New York. When I picked up the phone all I heard was Jennifer sobbing."What's wrong?" I asked. Jennifer took a deep breath.

"Mama," she said, "I have the most beautiful baby girl in the world."

I knew how my daughter felt for I, too, had given birth to the most beautiful baby girl in the world 22 years earlier when Jennifer made her debut on the stage we call life.

My husband and I arrived at the hospital nearly five minutes to midnight, and the representative at the admittance desk asked if I could wait a few minutes. "You'll have to pay for today if you register now," she explained. I did wait, without consequences.

My child-bearing years are long gone, but I recently watched and waited as the miracle of birth unfolded. When my granddaughter Alyssa and her husband Steve visited me last year, Alyssa repeatedly left the dinner table, suffering nausea. "I think I'm pregnant," she finally said. "This has been happening the last few days."

A week after Alyssa and Steve returned to their home in Queens, Alyssa phoned me. "Hello, Great-Grandma," she said. It was official: a doctor had confirmed that Alyssa was pregnant.

Through the months of waiting for the Big Day, both Jennifer and Alyssa kept me informed of what was happening.

When Alyssa and I were alone, we giggled like schoolchildren about the "inconveniences" of the expectant mother experience: "You can't remember anything, You can't bend. At night you're in the bathroom more than in bed."

I loved seeing sonograms of Alyssa's unborn baby on my computer screen, "The baby looks like a black spot," Alyssa wrote in an email in which she sent the first sonogram.

When my granddaughter visited me a couple of months later, she handed me the newest sonogram. "They are getting bigger," she said.

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"Do you know yet if you are having a boy or girl?" I asked. "Grandma, I said THEY were getting bigger., Alyssa said.

"I can't wait to see them," she would say from then on of the two babies growing in her womb.

I suppose Alyssa and Steve were destined to be parents of twins. There are multiple sets of twins in Steve's family, including Steve, as well as in Alyssa's paternal side of the family.

My daughter phoned me several times on April 12 from a hospital on Long Island. The first time she called, I found out it was the Big Day, Jennifer saying "Steve and I are here with Alyssa. She's excited."

I said the Rosary and kept busy around the house, wanting to be near the phone.

Finally around 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Jennifer announced that the twins had been delivered by Caesarean section. "I'll send you pictures," she added. That evening I took delight in gazing at emailed photos of Steve and Alyssa cradling the twins in their arms.

Ariana and Angelo weighed 6 pounds 7 ounces and 6 pounds 2 ounces respectively. Alyssa and babies went home together three days after they were born.

Alyssa and Steve are beyond happy, albeit busy as one-armed paper hangers. Jennifer is helping with the babies all hours of the day and night. "I don't know what we would do without Mom," Alyssa says.

I found a lovely surprise in the mailbox the other day: nine photos of the twins Jennifer sent. In a note referring to a photo in which the twins are lying side side by side in a play pen, Jennifer wrote, "Ariana was crying and Angelo touched her face with his hand, and she stopped."

It is said that twins have a special bond. I hope that is true with Ariana and Angelo, God bless them.

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.


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