“Shego? Wake up! The contractions are regular and getting closer together.”
Shego rolled out of bed, literally. Hitting the floor helped restore her to consciousness. “The bags are in the trunk of the car. Let's go.”
“Should I wake up Monique or Bonnie? You had so much trouble getting to sleep last night I don't know if you should drive.
“I'm fine Kim. How many fingers am I holding up?”
“See, I knew that. I can drive.”
A police car put on its flashers and pulled up behind them within a few blocks of the house. “I'm not stopping!”
“Come on, Shego. They aren't going to write you a ticket.”
She jammed on the brakes.
“Turn off your engine,” the officer shouted from his car.
“No! That you Hobble? You can turn on your flashers and lead the way to the hospital or you get to deliver twins -- right here, right now!”
“Shego, I don't think I'm that close to delivery.”
But the threat had been enough -- the police car pulled in front of them and Shego followed.
“You were right to come to the hospital, but I think delivery is still hours away,” the nurse told Kim as she finished checking her over after being admitted.
“Will you call Dr. Schultz?”
“No, I think we can wait until morning. You'll be happier if she's had a good night's sleep.”
Kim knew she wouldn't be getting any more rest that night. Shego had curled up on a couch in Kim's hospital room and gone back to sleep. Kim wanted someone to talk with, but decided Shego needed the nap. At least the room came with cable. The only programs on at three in the morning were mind numbing -- but the mind was not the part which needed anesthesia.
“How are you doing, Kimmie?”
“I'm doing okay, Mom,” Kim replied as her mother stroked her hair.
“Do you want me to stay with you during delivery?”
“Mom, I love you very, very much. But I'd feel kind of awkweird if you were here.”
“That's okay, I wouldn't have wanted my mother in with me. I had a terrible time getting your father to agree to be in the delivery room. He insisted the duty of the father-to-be was to pace nervously in the waiting room while endlessly smoking cigarettes.”
“Did he smoke?”
“Sometimes just that pipe he still has. But he would have taken up cigarettes if I'd let him stay out of the delivery room. Did Shego give you any argument?”
Kim smiled, “That may be the only thing we didn't fight over. Monique and Bonnie will be here after their classes.”
The conversation woke up Shego, who had been napping on and off through the day. She came over and held Kim's hand. “Are you okay, Princess?”
Kim started to say, “I'm fine,” when another contraction hit and she grimaced in pain. “I think I'm going to give up on a drug-free birth and have the epidural.”
“It's a good choice Kim,” her mother told her. “I never told you this in high school. But now that you are going to be a mother you need to know the truth. Drugs are your friends.”
“Shego, could you get me some ice chips to suck on, please?” As soon as Shego left the room Kim turned to her mother, “While we're here in the hospital you have to get Shego in to see a doctor. She's been having terrible headaches.”
“It certainly sounds like she needs to see one.”
“That's what I tell her. But she doesn't listen to me and she hates to see doctors. She usually listens to you.”
“You two don't have anything in common, do you?”
Almost fourteen hours of labor. Not a record by any means, but certainly long enough for Kim to understand why it was called labor.
Shego had been dreading this day since Kim had first told her she was pregnant. She was frightened for Kim: childbirth was hard on a woman. She was frightened for the girls and how society would treat them. She was frightened about the responsibility it placed on her. And she was frightened of the fact she had always thought babies looked ugly. Their puffy little faces always reminded her of photos of Winston Churchill -- without the cigar, of course. She heard a cry and Dr. Shultz handed the first baby to a nurse to clean and weigh. Kim had told them to let Shego hold the baby as soon as she was born and Shego waited nervously for the face of an English Prime Minister to stare up at her.
“Sharon, here is the baby.”
Shego looked down at the tiny little face with red hair and green eyes. She had never before in her life seen a beautiful baby, but this was the first. She sat down on the couch in the room, the baby on her legs, and began to cry at the sheer wonder of it all. After a few minutes of staring at the perfect tiny person Kim called her back to reality.
“Shego, come here. I need you.”
Shego handed the baby to a nurse and took Bonnie's place on Kim's left hand. Bonnie went out to inform the Drs. Possible of the arrival of their first grandchild. Kim looked up and noticed Shego had been crying, “Is everything all right?”
“God, Kim,” Shego sniffed, “that is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen.”
“I done good?”
“You done great. She's going to be a tough act to follow.”
A half-hour later the second act followed and Shego held the second girl as Dr. Shultz and the nurses finished with Kim. Shego laughed as she looked down into a second pair of green eyes.
“Is she that funny looking?” Kim asked.
“She's a real Jacob to sister Esau,” Shego said and Kim joined her in laughing.
“Have you two lost your minds?” Monique demanded.
“No, Jacob and Esau, in the Bible --”
“I know the story.”
“So, who was born first and what was his hair color?”
“Esau was born first, he was all red and hairy. He later sold his birthright to his brother --”
“We just need the first-born and red, Monique. Look at girl number one.”
“Oh, she's got hair just like Kim's.”
Shego came over with her second-born in her arms. “Now, look at little Jacob. Whose hair does she have?”
“That's weird, her hair almost looks like it’s dark green. Your hair is black.”
“I dye it. If I didn't you'd see green roots.”
“Really,” Kim assured her. “She only dyes the hair on top.”
Monique joined them in laughing, “At least you'll never have any trouble telling the two of them apart.” Then she left to find Bonnie, Ron, and the Possibles.
Jean was on her cell phone when Monique found them. “Here comes Kim's friend Monique. She looks happy; I think everyone is fine. … Okay, Susan, I'll call you back as soon as I've seen our grandchildren.”
Jean was only allowed to stay with her daughter for a few minutes before the nurse shooed her out of the room. “Miss Possible needs to rest.” The twins had already been taken to the newborns' room where everyone would get a chance to see them through the glass. The nurse tried to make Shego leave as well, but Kim insisted the pale woman be allowed to stay.
There was really nothing which could be said at the moment. Shego held Kim's hand and stroked her hair as she waited for the redhead to drift off. After Kim fell asleep Shego sat in the corner and pulled a textbook from her bag.
Soon after Kim awoke from her nap a nervous looking nurse came into the room. “Miss Possible? We, uh, have a concern about the babies.”
“Well, there may be just a little jaundice. Babies are often a little reddish when they are born. As your girls lost that flush they went over to a very pale skin tone, but it almost appears there is a little green tone in it. We may need to keep you for an extra day or two just to make certain everyone is fine.”
Kim smiled. Her health insurance only wanted mothers and newborns in the hospital for twenty-four hours unless the hospital recommended a longer stay.
The nurse, who had just come on duty, turned to leave and noticed Shego for the first time. She stared at the pale-skinned woman with a more noticeable hint of green to her skin. She must be the sister of the father.
Jean Possible, not wanting her grandbabies to suffer too many blood tests, sent a note to the lab with the samples -- suggesting the twins' blood work be compared with that of a young woman who had been given a blood test about a year and a half earlier.
Various friends stopped by to see the babies and wish Kim well. Rabbi Horowitz and Dr. Delahooke surprised the couple when they walked in together. “We know each other from the Middleton Interfaith Council, “ Dr. Delahooke explained. “We ran into each other at the newborn viewing area. I'm quite certain this is our first pastoral call together. The girls are beautiful.”
Rabbi Ruth stayed a few minutes after Dr. Delahooke left. “He doesn't know you two are a couple, does he?” Kim shook her head 'no'. “Well, I didn't mention it. However, I think he was curious why I made a pastoral call.”
Betty Director agreed they were beautiful babies, but stared very hard at the couple when she visited them in Kim's room. “I'm going to pull your medical file when I get back to my office and look it over very closely,” she warned Shego. “I don't see how you could have hidden a thing like that from your physician…” She turned to Kim, “Or maybe this was your doing. I may really have to believe your 'Anything's possible,' motto.”
The nurse was fairly new to Middleton, having moved there in the last six months. Perhaps Human Resources could have done a more thorough psychological profile on her before assigning her to obstetrics and pediatrics. Today she was assigned to fill in the birth certificate forms for the state. Hospital policy required the form be filled out without the father present, but the only men to visit the red-haired mother of the twins had been brief visitors. The pale, dark haired woman who almost lived in the room was still there. Another nurse had thought the woman might be related to the father, but as far as Cheryl was concerned she was following hospital policy. She already resented how long she had been forced to wait in hopes of seeing the young mother alone.
“Now, Mrs. Possible. I'm here to get the information for the birth certificates.”
“It's Miss Possible. You can call me Kim.”
Cheryl tightened her lips in disapproval, “Oh yeah, just what we need. More unwed mothers.”
“All right, MISS Possible, can you please spell your full name for me?”
Cheryl's resentment built as the young woman cheerfully gave her various pieces of required information. “She should at least show some sort of regret for what she's done. She acts like she's happy about this. She's probably one of those little freeloaders who hopes to live off welfare.”
“Now then, father's name?”
“You need to leave that blank,” Kim said softly.
Cheryl put the pen down in disgust. “Look,” she snapped. “If you're going to jump in bed with any guy you meet it's your concern. But use contraception. There are enough little bastards from tramps who can't even remember the father running around already. Why don't--”
Cheryl was a large woman, capable of moving a heavy patient from hospital bed to gurney all by herself. But the slim, pale woman had her almost a foot off the floor and pressed against the wall. Trembling with rage Shego stared at the nurse's name badge, “Don't you EVER speak to Kim like that, Cheryl, or I will kill you.”
“Shego, don't hurt her,” Kim pleaded.
Shego dropped the heavy-set woman and stepped back. Cheryl staggered and went down on her knees before getting up, “You threatened me!”
“Damn straight. That was a warning. And you only got that because Kim was here. If you're still here in ten seconds I will hurt you.”
Cheryl backed out of the room, not wanting to turn her back on the mad woman. Kim and Shego took out their cell phones.
Cheryl sat in the office of the head nurse of Obstetrics and Pediatrics, filling out a complaint form while a security officer stood to the side, waiting to go back down with her to patient's room. The phone began ringing before the form could be completed.
“Pediatrics … Oh, hi! … SHE WHAT! … Yes, I will check on that and get back with you.”
The head of the unit stared at Cheryl. “Why didn't you tell me the name of the mother? That was the head of Neurosurgery, complaining that a nurse harassed her daughter, Kim.” Cheryl slowed the writing on the complaint as the phone rang again.
“Pediatrics … Yes, Sir! … I've just heard about it, and promise to have a thorough investigation. … No, Sir. I had not forgotten that story.”
“That was the head of the Board of Directors. Kim rescued his son when he got lost during a Boy Scout campout--” The phone rang again before she could finish the story.
“Pediatrics … Hi, Steve, how are things in hematology? … Yeah, she's here with me now … Yes, I remember that winter.”
“Someone reminding me how Kim used a dog team to bring in blood from the hospital in Upperton when a blizzard was keeping everything off the roads. She saved six lives that day. He's heard that someone was giving her--” The phone rang again.
Two phone calls later the security guard drifted off. After another phone call Cheryl threw away the incomplete form.
“Go home,” the head nurse in pediatrics told her, “I'll call oncology and see if they need you -- it's as far away from pediatrics and neurosurgery as I can put you. Call them tomorrow and see if you still have a job. I think I'm going to spend the rest of my day answering the phone. If you haven't guessed, we all are very fond of Kim.”
Down in Kim's room the two had calmed down slightly. “That's what I was afraid of,” Shego told her partner. “If we tell people the truth the girls will be held up as freaks and get all sorts of media attention. And this way hurts you.”
“I really don't need 'I told you so' right this minute.”
“I'm sorry, Kim. We're going to get a lot of it.”
“What I need is you saying we'll get through it together.”
“We will,” Shego promised. “All four of us will.”
The Head of Neurosurgery at the Middleton Hospital sat in her daughter's room with a clipboard on her lap. “Why don't you go home, Shego?”
Shego looked at Kim, “It's okay.” Kim assured her. “You've missed two days of classes. You shouldn't miss any more. I'm going to be fine now.” It no longer bothered Jean when Shego leaned over the side of the hospital bed and kissed Kim. The two had gone through a lot together.
Shego gathered her belongings into a small overnight bag while Jean began filling out the birth certificate information for the state bureau of vital statistics. “They should be able to leave tomorrow,” Jean assured Shego as she kissed Kim again, “the day after at the latest.”
Unsurprisingly, Shego was treated with a great deal of deference at the pediatrics nurses' station. A nurse even brought the babies out, entirely against hospital regulations, so that Shego could kiss them before leaving. “Goodbye Jane. Goodbye Lizzy. I'll see you tomorrow.”
“So, Jane and Lizzy will be the names?”
“Jane and Elizabeth. I think those are the names we agreed on.”
“Oh, good. You've heard you and Kim calling them Jacob and Esau so often some people were starting to believe those were the names. So Jacob is Jane and Esau will be Elizabeth?”
On the way home Shego called the house and Ron answered. “I need a favor. Get on your coat and get in the car when I pull in. I've got an errand to run and I need you drive Kim's car back.”
Meanwhile, back in the hospital Jean had filled in every required line except for one on each form. “Okay, Kim. The discussion and teasing has to be over now. What are the names I put on the birth certificates?”
“Mom, I really don't like sitting in a wheelchair to leave the hospital.”
“I know, Kim. But remember, this is a hospital, and there are regulations. Now, you two hold on tight to my babies,” she warned her husband and daughter.
They looked out the door for Shego, but didn't see a car they recognized. However Shego blew the horn and waved when she saw them. Each baby got another blanket and her first experience with cold air as the Possibles ran out to Shego.
“What is this?” Kim asked as they got out to the bright red station wagon and strapped the babies into their car seats.
“It's a nineteen-seventy-three Volvo one-forty-five. Only four thousand original miles on it. It went into storage thirty years ago and was forgotten. Ebay is great. I had to rebuild the engine and do a lot of other work -- but we need a safe car to drive the babies around in -- and this is it. This baby exceeded every safety standard in the world, before they had safety standards. Oh, early happy birthday.”
The Drs. Possible saw the girls off, then found their own car and followed to Possible Manor.
“YOU NAMED THEM WHAT!” Shego yelled at Kim as they rode home from the hospital.
“Quiet, you'll wake the babies.”
And, right on cue, the sound of crying started in the back seat. And the discussion, if it could be called that, had to stop.
Ron and Monique had tied pink balloons and ribbons to the front door, with two pictures of storks carrying bundles and a large banner that read, “They are girls!”
Kim and Shego carried the babies into a crowd. Shego's parents were there, with Ed and Will flanking Bonnie and Hego looming in the background. A cheer went up from the small crowd in the entryway at the sight of the babies and their mothers. Shego handed off her little burden to her own mother and went back to the Volvo for Kim's bags. The Drs. Possible pulled in as she took the bags out of the car, and James helped her carry everything inside.
Shego felt the twins should be taken up to the nursery, but they had been commandeered by their grandmothers and there appeared to be very little chance of taking them away at the moment.
“You two had better be nice to us,” Jean warned Kim and Shego. “We just became the founts of everything you will want to know about raising babies.
It seemed like everyone was crowded around the babies, wanting a better look at them and talking about their coloring or the standard how beautiful they were -- although in this case it might be honest -- but Kim noticed Shego slipping away to the kitchen and followed her a minute later.
“I came in here to be alone,” Shego remarked coldly.
“And I came in to talk with you.”
“How could you do that to me, Kim?”
“I didn't think I was doing anything to you. We had never settled on names.”
“But we talked about Jane and Elizabeth.”
“Yes, we did, and a hundred and fifty other names too.”
“You knew those were my favorite.”
“So, I was just supposed to roll over and let you pick the names?”
Shego opened her mouth to speak, then closed it and pursed her lips, Kim had a point. “We could have talked about it more.”
“We talked about it for a month and a half and never got anywhere.”
“But those are made up names, other kids will make fun of them.”
“I thought we agreed that kids could make fun of any name we used. These sound close to normal given some of the names being used today. Kasy, from Kim and Shego. Sheki, from Shego and Kim -- hey, it even sounds sort of Jewish.”
“Yeah, but Kasy gets Ann -- which works for a middle name. Go is a silly name.”
“Look, Georgiana, she'll get less grief about it than you got for yours. And you should have seen your Dad when I announced the names. He was beaming like a hundred-watt bulb to have his initials used.”
“Really. And if you care, Hego and the Wegos loved it too. Now let's get back to the living room. There hasn't been time to miss us yet. If we stay in here longer and no one notices we were gone I'll feel depressed.”
About half and hour after the babies arrived home Shego's dad opened a small canvas bag he had brought with him and took out a package of small, plastic shot glasses and a bottle of something, which he left inside a brown paper bag. “In the words of Dickens, 'Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.' Who would like to drink a toast to the new babies?”
The Drs. Possible, Shego, Ron's dad, and Hego all asked for a glass. Perhaps Ron's mother took her cue from the fact Shego's mom wasn't going to drink what her husband provided and she passed. The Wegos volunteered to drink to the babies' health, but their mom declared them ineligible.
The fact her dad left the bottle in the paper bag made Shego nervous, and she sniffed the cup when he handed it to her. “It smells a little like rum.”
“Yes, it does,” he agreed with a twinkle in his eye. “But it's not.” He raised his glass and declared, “To Kim, and the two most glorious grandchildren this world has ever seen.” He knocked his back, and the others attempted the feat.
The Drs. Possible were left choking and gasping for air. “No one light a match!” were the only words Jean was able to croak.
Ron's dad gave a nod and a smile, “Now that's good stuff.”
Hego looked vaguely shocked. Shego's eyes and mouth were round and wide open as she stared at her dad, “What was that?”
“It's a fine Irish whiskey, Knockeen Hills Poteen, black label -- one hundred and eighty proof. Now, who'll join me in a toast to the babies' other mom?” He took the bottle out of the paper sack.
Jean Possible and Hego both passed on the second round, “Nothing personal, Sis.”
James Possible appeared to only be doing it to be a good sport.
“Uh, Dad? Just as a matter of question, why are you putting less in your glass than in the glasses you are pouring for the rest of us?”
“Oh, I'm just being a good host. I want to make sure there's plenty to go around.”
“There's plenty, Dad. I think you're just trying to create the impression you're a great drinker by going easy on yourself.”
George filled his cup to the rim to refute the charge. James offered the second toast, “To Shego, may she always be there for her girls.” It was an odd sort of toast, but entirely understandable.
Only Shego joined with her father and Ron's dad on the toast to the Wegos for getting the house ready. She dropped out and left the two men to toast the house itself, and Shego's other brothers, and Ron, and Kim's parents, and Shego's parents…
Bonnie and Monique led Susan up to the nursery with the babies as the living room took on the definite air of a challenge arena. Both men were still on their feet, but Hego had moved behind his father and Ron behind his, in case either man decided to leave the world of the vertical for the horizontal.
“Are you ready to quit?” George asked.
“Nope, I can go as long as you can.”
“Well, as a medical doctor I'm declaring the contest over. It is a draw. You both lose,” Jean Possible announced.
The two men sat on the couch as the room spun around them. “How did you manage that? You don't look Irish.”
“I'm not. Have you heard of schlivovitz? It’s the Jewish version of your bottled lightning.”
Kim and Shego joined the nursery crowd as Ron began a display of kitchen magic for those who remained downstairs.
“Did you remember me asking if I could stay with you for a week after the babies were born?” Susan asked.
“I got a bed in the spare bedroom, Mom, you're welcome to stay. Did you bring clothes?”
“Of course, if you didn't have space for me I was going to stay with Jean and James. But I like this better.”
“What about dad and the boys?”
“Hego flew us down in the Go Jet. He'll take your dad and brothers home tonight. I'll take a commercial flight later.
Realizing it would be impossible, and perhaps wrong, to hide it from her mother, Shego explained to Susan about her growing interest in the faith of her great-grandparents that evening in their bedroom as Kim nursed the babies.
“So you're becoming Jewish?”
“I think I already am. Technically I think you are too.”
“Thank God, I thought you were really becoming vegetarian.”
Shego stared at her mom in amazement, and the older woman burst into laughter and hugged her daughter, “I'm sorry Sharon. But after hearing about you and Kim and becoming a grandmother I just can't get too concerned about Judaism. Do you have any more dark secrets left or are they all out in the open?”
Susan O'Ceallaigh made Ron a bit nervous because of the amount of time she wanted to spend in the kitchen. He had come to regard it as his fiefdom and only grudgingly accepted the interloper with the understanding she would be gone in a week. Bonnie would have been delighted if Susan had stayed a month. With the doting grandmother around Bonnie's first week of nanny duties had consisted of one diaper change.
Since Ron had avoided morning classes he was drafted into taking Susan to the Middleton airport. Everyone was up for breakfast and received a smothering hug before she left.
“Who was the white lady, I saw? Does she live here?”
“What white lady, Mom?”
“That's what I'm asking you. I saw her three or four times, usually in the hall upstairs and once down in the kitchen. She never said anything. She was always dressed all in white. Do you have someone who comes in and cleans?”
The residents of Possible Manor looked at each other. “Some people think the place is haunted.”
“Oh, no. She seemed like a very nice young woman,” Susan said, “she just didn't say anything.”
Monique assumed Susan had experienced a vivid dream, Bonnie wondered if Susan needed to be on medication, and Ron, Kim, and Shego had seen enough odd things to wonder if a ghost or an enemy with access to the house was the greater possibility -- and the greater threat.
Translation: Dies natalis - Birthday
Author's Note: And I imagine that anyone reading this recognizes Kasy Ann and Sheki Go from A Small Possibility by NoDrogs -- here with the generous permission of their creator. I found their origin the gynecological equivalent of the cartoon character walking across a canyon -- until he looks down and falls only when he realizes he's walking on air. (Drakken could make a billion dollars a year with a chain of fertility clinics if he could bring about a pregnancy via a shot in the arm.) I am also troubled, ethically, with involuntary pregnancy being forced on a character. But I like the little girls and decided I wanted them around in my universe if I continue writing these stories.
Additional note: Several of the snippets of dialog and details come from the birth of my first daughter -- in a hospital that required the father not be in the room when the birth certificate was filled out.