“With the girls?” he replied as he sat. “Everything’s great. They’re eating and sleeping. Haven’t seen a single sign that they’re doing anything but thriving.”
“Thank God,” I said. “Sorry, I’m just…”
“You’re being a mom, I get it. And I understand that no one likes sitting around waiting for news. But you’re lucky enough to not be in that position. You can assume that everything’s fine unless you hear otherwise.”
I cleared my throat. “Is… everything OK with her?”
He shook his head. “No, not at all. She gave birth the day after you did. She wasn’t as lucky as you, as us.”
“My God. I’m so sorry.”
He pursed his lips. “Yeah. I’ve helped with quite a few births since taking over this place, despite my focus being surgery. Most babies come out happy and healthy. But not all.”
I sat back. “I feel like such a jackass. Here I am, stressing over my two healthy girls. Meanwhile, there are parents like her trying to deal with an unthinkable loss.”
“I didn’t tell you to guilt you or anything like that. But when you work this job for as long as I have, you can’t help but develop a certain perspective on life, like how fragile it is, how lucky someone is if they’re in good health.” He sat back. “All the same, I know how tough it is waiting to bring the girls home. We’re thinking another day and they should be ready to leave.”
“OK, good. Sorry to be a pain. Just…”
He raised his palm. “Like I said, I get it.”
“Can we at least see them?”
He glanced aside for a moment. “Yeah. We can do that. Come on.”
Together we left his office, making our way downstairs. Before too long we were in front of the postnatal ward, the windows looking in on a small room of a half-dozen bassinets. The girls were in there, both sleeping soundly, looking glowing and healthy.
“We’re lucky,” he said. “Two beautiful, healthy girls.”
I couldn’t resist taking his hand as I looked at my babies. As I glanced over at Alex, however, I noticed a tense expression on his face.
Something was on his mind. I kept my questions to myself, feeling like I’d pried enough for one day.
Besides, I had too much to be grateful for. I watched the girls sleep, a love coming over me that I’d never known. And I knew it was just the beginning.
It was a day later, and I was in the middle of getting the schedule together for the next week when a gentle knock sounded at the door to my office.
“Come in!” I called out, not taking my eyes off the computer in front of me.
The door opened, Melanie stepping inside. A small, almost playful smile was on her face.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Just came in to tell you that we’re getting the twins ready to be taken home. Georgia’s down in the waiting room with her parents, and they’re chomping at the bit.”
“I thought we weren’t going to be releasing the twins until later this afternoon?” I checked my watch, seeing that it was a little before noon.
“That was the plan. But the weather’s looking a little rough. There’s supposed to be a snowstorm in the next few hours. I didn’t think you’d want them stuck on the road.”
“Hm. Yeah, good call.”
I glanced up at her, that smile still on her face. “Now, as for that knowing smile you’ve been sporting around me, are you going to make me guess what it is, or are you going to tell me?” I softened my expression after I spoke, letting her know that I wasn’t mad. All the same, I was curious as hell what had the normally professional Melanie smirking like that.
“It’s just… the staff’s been talking. I think you can guess what about.”