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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Entry 81: 1969 August 27...Joyce and Jayne are Born

           The Viet Nam war was raging.  Del was always looking ahead.  He was always up with the latest ideas in farming.  He read everything he could about current events, new laws, and agriculture.  He and Alpha had showed us a dairy on Bradbury Road.  It had an older home on it that needed a lot of work.  The four of us talked about the house and the land.  We talked about fixing the house for me and Larry.  We drove through the land, cows following, talking about how to set up irrigation and varieties of trees.  We all decided it would be a lot of effort but Larry and Del were sure they could make it work to benefit the family and grow the farm. 
          Alpha was having trouble with a vertebra in her neck, Larry got his 1-A in the mail, and I got pregnant!  The 1-A meant that he was up for the draft and could be called at any moment to enlist.  Del weighed the possibilities of the new land gains with the possibility that either Alpha or Larry, or both, would not be able to help with the growth and development.  In the end we all decided together to give up the down payment and not buy that property.
I was under a different type of growth and development plan.  It was a scary time.  I was pregnant and our whole family, not just me, was under the threat of losing Larry.  I wondered how in the world I could survive without him. 
I wasn’t just afraid of being without him for a short time.  I thought of having children without a father, of having a home without a husband, of living day by day without him.  I have always loved him with my whole heart, sometimes I thought too much, as if no other human had ever loved that deeply.  As it worked out Alpha had surgery and came through fine and Larry’s 1-A soon changed to a student deferment.
The very next day after we found we were going to be having twins I woke with a belly ache.  Larry took me to his folk’s house.  I was so naïve about everything.  Alpha and I were actually timing when I’d hurt.  It finally sunk in to someone that it might be labor.  Larry, Alpha, and I got in the car and headed for the doctor’s office.  Larry had called ahead.  When we arrived the nurse took me straight into an exam room.  
The doctor came in immediately and when he asked me to lay on the table I obeyed.  As soon as my head hit the table my tummy exploded with a gush.  It sounded like a waterfall hitting the linoleum floor.  My eyes met Dr. Bigelow’s eyes.  He looked very upset.  His office was just across the street from the hospital.  He grabbed Larry and told him to get me to the emergency door as quickly as he could.   
Alpha was in the car waiting for us when we came back outside.  I sat in the front seat next to Larry.  Alpha was in the back seat.  She scooted up close to me, put her hands on my shoulders, and tried to comfort me.  I guess I was in shock.  I can remember the whole incident as if I was watching it happen.  It took us less than a minute to get to the emergency door.  Nurses were waiting for me with a gurney.  They helped me climb on telling me to hang on and not to worry.  One gave Larry directions too but I didn’t pay any attention to her.  We rushed down hallways and through a big double-door.  I remember it was really cold in the room.  I remember the big lights and lots of mirrors.
Dr. Bigelow said he wanted to get the babies out as quickly as possible just in case we were farther along in our pregnancy than we thought.  He said he wouldn’t be giving me anything for pain because at their delicate stage anything could hurt them.  I was wearing a loose dress mom had brought me from Hawaii.  Dr Bigelow commented we would be having Hawaiian babies and kind of chuckled.  That was the last chuckle of the day.
My feet were buckled into stirrups, an I-V was started in my arm, and two incubators were placed just to the right of me.  I turned my head focusing on the incubators praying when we left the room they would have my babies in them.
Within just a couple of minutes Dr. Bigelow told me to push.  Dutifully I pushed.  In the mirror over the doctors' head I saw a tiny baby girl appear.  The doctor placed her on my tummy.  She made a small cry.  It is a cry that haunted me from that day forward.   It sounded like the cry of a small deer we saw at Yosemite who had been separated from its mom.  It was just one little breath.  Then it was silence.
My eyes moved from the doctor’s face to the incubators.  I was surprised by what I saw.  Above the incubators was a figure.  A handsome but rugged figure of a man.  I knew instantly he was an Angel and I knew he was there for my baby.  He was her escort to Heaven.  I had no doubt then and I have no doubt now.  He was wearing a white robe with a second shawl-type wrapping over his shoulders and around his waist of a burgundy color.  He had a beard but no mustache.  His hair was parted in the middle and shoulder length.  He was looking toward me but his arms were stretched outward toward the incubators.  A sudden peace replaced the panic I had felt building inside me.  I instantly knew although these girls were not to be in our family I would have a family someday.  I knew in the midst of everything, despite the current tragedy, my life was as it should be. 
This Angel was similar in almost every way to people of our time and to people described in the Bible.   In one obvious way he was different.  He was floating between the ceiling and the incubators.  His body ended around his hips.  That is to state the obvious difference from the usual. 
I turned to Dr. Bigelow and asked, “Do you see him?”  He replied, “Do I see who?”  I turned back to the incubators and the Angel was gone.  It was in that moment I  heard the one soft heartbreaking cry from our daughter. 
Dr. Bigelow said, “These babies are not going to make it, there is no reason for her to watch.”  Without saying anything else to me the nurse added something to my I-V making me unconscious until everything was finished and I was ready to go to my own room.  When the nurse brought me back to reality the first thing I did was turn toward where the incubators had been.  When she saw me turn she told me there had been no need for the incubators and they had been taken away.  She didn’t realize I was looking for the second Angel, the one to go with our second daughter, but they had already gone.
When Larry joined me in my room, I shared with him what had happened in the delivery room.  I swore him to secrecy.  That evening Dr. Bigelow came to check on me.  He was followed by one of the nurses I’d seen in the delivery room.  I noticed she held one hand behind her back.  I assumed that was just the way she walked.  When he neared my bed he asked how I was.  I told him I only had one question.  He got a discouraged look on his face like he was going to have to go over all the particulars of what had happened earlier that day. 
He was greatly relieved when my question was, “How long do we need to wait to get pregnant again.”  He smiled, held my hand, and sent the nurse away.  When she turned to leave I saw a syringe in the hand she was holding behind her back.  He must have thought I was going to blame him or throw a fit or something about what had happened.  He said we should wait three months before getting pregnant again.  He made small talk about a friend of mine named Mina who worked at the hospital.  He stood up straight telling me he’d explain in detail when I wanted to know what had happened.  When he left my room he greeted someone in the hall and started to talk about me and the way I was handling my day. 
I was in the hospital for five or six days that time.  Larry made all the arrangements for our daughters' funeral.  He said in the cemetery there are lots of stones that simply say “Baby Girl,” or “Baby Reed.”  He said if picking a name would be too hard we didn’t need too.  I insisted that giving our daughters each a name would be the only thing we would ever be able to give them.  The stone he picked simply says, “Joyce and Jayne, Our Darling Daughters.”
The funeral was graveside.  I didn’t get to go but Larry did take a couple photographs of the coffin.  He had picked pink and frilly, just like two little girls would have liked.  They were in the same little coffin together.  Larry said the funeral director carried it to the grave from the car in his arms like it held the most precious thing in this world.  That made me happy. 
I spoke to the doctor the following week.  He told me the fluid that surrounds the babies inside the mother is continually expelled and replaced.  The fluid in me was not being eliminated as fast as my body was making it.  My womb actually broke under its size.  I did look really big, but like I said before, it was all firsts for me, I didn’t realize I shouldn’t be as big as I was. 
Because this whole story would have been unbelievably difficult for me to accept if someone else were telling it I didn’t share it with anyone other than Larry at that time.  About five years later my mom and I were having a close moment when I told her.  She believed me.  It meant the world to me that she did. 
In 1984, fifteen years later, I spoke to our pastor at that time, Pastor Reynolds, about what I’d witnessed.  He listened to every word.  When I finished he said he had one way to tell if indeed I had seen an Angel.  He asked me if I’d received a message at the time.  I said yes.  I shared how when I saw the Angel I knew someday I would have a family and that I didn’t need to be sad.   He got tears in his eyes thanking me for sharing with him what I’d kept a secret for so many years.
As more years have passed I’ve been able to share my first delivery room experience and the Angel I saw with more people.  Usually it is with one or two people who I know are believers.  To me the whole thing was a very precious gift.  No matter what has happened to me in my life I’ve always found tremendous comfort in knowing someone is here watching me, guiding me, and protecting me.  It is too precious to share with someone who might scoff at it.  In the end I don’t care if anyone believes me or not.  It was my gift.  It was for me.  It was to get me through a special day but it has comforted me for a lifetime.
I couldn’t bear to think of my children and grandchildren not knowing this about me and my life.  This was one of the easiest picks for my little book of memories.


  1. oh my gosh , what a beautiful story and yes I do beleive in angels,, how wonderful to have this, again confirmed.I'mso sorry you had your little girls for such a short time, whats meant to be,,,, this was such a wonderful post,,thankyou so very much for sharing this,

  2. Joyce ~ Barbara Fuller just asked me for permission to use a story about an Angel that Jill saw and communicated with in the field after her accident before the Ambulance came. Barbara is writing a Bible Study for the Women on Angels. Do you mind if I have her come and read this account. I also believe in Angels, as I have had my own personal experience.

    As the read the story I just love the peace God can give in the tragic circumstance. Loving you big time today.

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  4. Wanda...I guess the proverbial cat is out of the bag...lol. Of course Barbara is welcomed to share this. There will be more in the blogs to come if she isn't too fast in writing her book...


Thank you for sharing in my life's journey. If you don't leave a comment I have no way of knowing you stopped by. I do hope you enjoy reading of my life as much as I have enjoyed living it! Joyce