Thursday, May 22, 2003

Our new little girl and boy finally saw the light of day on Tuesday morning 20 May 2003. We had been expecting them for weeks, but when they finally decided to come out it was with a speed that surprised everyone, and in fact, was quite dangerous. When her water spectacularly broke at around 6:45 Tuesday morning, it was pretty damn clear that my was going into labor. She started screaming that the babies were going to come right then and there. We live about fifteen minutes from the hospital (in good traffic) so I had to decide whether we should call an ambulance or just go for it in the car. Since traffic should be fine at that time, we ran to the car. We took a large, gritty, utterly unromantic avenue in Brussels called Avenue General Jacques, and the whole way I was thinking about how much I didn’t want to have the babies on this street. On the way, in between screams and shouting, “they are coming right now”, my wife managed to call the hospital so they could warn her doctor. The nurse said that she had to come in and they would decide when to call the doctor. As we got closer she started swearing in Swedish (which I took not to be a good sign) but finally we made it.

The hospital is actually quite small and so I could park literally ten feet from the front door (in the taxi stand) and after a hectic elevator ride we were in the maternity ward. The nurse quickly examined my wife and regretted not calling the doctor because she had to immediately deliver the first baby, a girl (no names yet) that weighed 3.2 kilos at around 7:15. The next baby was in the breech position so luckily there was a doctor who had just finished delivering a baby in the next room. He grabbed the little boy by his feet and pulled him out at around 7:25. He weighed 2.7 kilos. Both babies are doing well, although because of some concerns over infection they were placed in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

My wife’s doctor arrived just after the little boy was born and she quickly started attending to her. There are lots of things to do even after the babies are born. I was in the room with the little babies when my wife suffered a fit of convulsions that scared everyone. The room filled with other doctors, and they were able to stabilize the situation rapidly. She spent the following morning and afternoon in intensive care, but she recovered fully and is now in a regular room.

In Belgium it is standard to stay in the hospital for at least five days after the birth. It may be a little longer in this case. The little girl was placed in my wife’s room on Wednesday. We are able to bring the little boy down there for an hour or so at a time, and we expect that he will be released from intensive care on Friday.

The diplomatic wrangling about the names continues, but I expect a decision today.

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