My Christmas Story

By: Brandy Black

The babies were scheduled to arrive on December 21st based on the doctor’s orders. This would have been past full term for twins. I wanted them to pick their birthday. On December 6th I had contractions that started at 8 minutes apart and went down to 3 minutes for a good 2-3 hours.  I was fully admitted into the hospital and was told the babies would be arriving in the next 24 hours. We called my parents at 3AM and told them to get to the airport fast.  Suddenly, contractions stopped and I was no longer dilating.  Cedars kept me for observation for 5 more hours and then released me advising that I would likely be back in the next couple days.  I called my father as soon as I realized we weren’t having the babies quite yet and he couldn’t hear me.

“I said we aren’t having the babies.”

“I can’t hear you, we’re on the plane, see you soon.”

Dial tone.

Susan and I drove home, disappointed that we weren’t going to be holding our precious babies.  My parents arrived a couple hours later.  Days passed while my mom and dad helped prepare the house.  We soon discovered how much needed to be done, how overwhelmed we were, and I got more and more tired each day.  They took care of us, shopping trips, babysitting, pick up and drop off for preschool, servicing the washing machine, getting my car fixed, I forgot how much family can help when you let them.

After many days passed, I gave up on any chance of the babies coming early.  On December 15th Susan and I went to do some final Christmas shopping.  I was pushing us around tired of being home and doing nothing but wait.  Suddenly in line I got tired and dizzy and had to sit to gather myself, Susan convinced me to skip our last stop and head home for the night.  We got home and I raced to the bathroom because pregnant women with twins have to pee a hundred times a day.  I felt a burst and suddenly a rush of water came out of me.  My water broke.  I was in such shock that I didn’t believe it and everyone kept asking me if I was sure.  I walked back to our room to talk to Susan and stood as water leaked rapidly out of me.  Susan began to laugh and than panic as she rushed around gathering our belongings for our second visit to the hospital.

By the time we arrived to the hospital the contractions were stronger and it was confirmed the babies were coming.  We checked in at 5:45PM and by 11:00PM I was in the operating room with 12 people around me pushing with all my might.  I focused on their voices cheering me on.  5 pushes later Bella Black Howard arrived, white and gooey and full of life.  Her cries brought me tears, tears of joy that I hoped I would have at the sound of her little voice.  But my joyous moment was quickly interrupted with panic around me.  “He’s flipped, I feel a foot now, not a head”.  There was much commotion and I couldn’t figure out what was happening.  My doctor leaned down to me and told me that we would likely be doing a C-section for baby B.  There was chatter around me, I was tired and a bit dizzy, I looked over at Susan and she had backed away from me with her hands over her face.  “What?  What happened?” I asked her.  We had made an agreement that no matter how bad things got she wouldn’t let it show on her face because I knew I would panic.  I began to panic.  In what seemed several minutes later, Susan finally took a moment to speak to me, she huddled over me as to block the others from my view and told me that they were going to try one last thing to get our baby boy to flip around, she told me to relax and breathe and picture him flipping.  I closed my eyes and focused until I heard “I feel a head, I feel a head Brandy, push”.  I pushed hard and what had been a room full of noise and chaos became silent as all waited for baby B to arrive.  An oxygen mask was placed over my mouth and 10 pushes later baby Penn came out screaming.

I didn’t know at the time that Susan and the nurse had conspired to get another doctor in the room who was a big advocate of me having a natural birth, so much so that he had been talking about us since we checked in.  Apparently it’s rare that pregnant women with twins opt to have them naturally so the doctors were following us closely and making bets on what would happen.  Once recovering our nurse told us that my delivery was “epic”.

I didn’t know how I was going to react to these two new family members; everyone has a different experience after birth. Some parents don’t immediately bond with their kids and given that parts of this pregnancy were scary and challenging for me, I wasn’t sure which way it would go.  Luckily, I gushed with love the minute I heard, saw, and held them.  I stare at them in the middle of night and can’t believe I ever feared their arrival.  I treasure them, each and every one of them.  I can’t imagine life without my darlings Sophia, Penn, and Bella.

It was the happiest of holidays with my arms full of delicious children and the realization that I adore being a mama.


  1. says

    I was lucky enough to spend a day last week with this wonderful family. Sophia is adorable and quite the talker (non stop for 6 hours). She is such a cutie. I got to hold the babies and watch Brandy and Susan take care of everyone. Brandy is a natural mother who puts those kids on her breasts with ease and actually hands free. They latch and drink and she makes it look so easy. Penn has flaps of skin on his knees where he needs some fat-Brandy thinks he could have stayed a little longer as he was still encased in his water home. Bella, the bigger one made her entry and then forced little Penn out. Wonder if he will be following her for the rest of his life. Sophia leading them all in song and dance. A delightful day with a family in love and busy.

  2. says

    They are absolutely beautiful. The story is so amazing. And you look great after a natural twin birth! Damn, girl. Nice wedges.
    Congratulations to the whole beautiful family. You are so so so so inspiring.

  3. Jen Thomas says

    Totally has me bawling on the couch! Beautiful story and I’m so glad that Penn turned to give you the birth you wanted! Blessings upon blessings!

  4. Tosha says

    This made me cry!! Especially the part about Susan, leaning in to you, talking you through it. Just kills me. I am so happy you are so happy. You all look beautiful! Can’t wait to meet them, can’t believe I haven’t yet. (That’s what happens when you have babies right before the holidays! Jeez!)

  5. says

    Sending so much love to you and Susan and all three peanuts! We’re in NY for a couple of months but I hope to give you a kiss in person soon. Beautiful story.

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