Silent nights? No way, baby

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By Susan Shinn
For the Salisbury Post
Dear Santa, Please bring my friends Debbie and Justin Beck a good night’s sleep, will you?
About seven weeks’ worth, to be exact.
The couple’s nights ó and days ó have changed dramatically since the arrival of their twins, Will and Anna, on Oct. 17.
Early that morning, the couple got a call from Misty Smith, the couple’s gestational surrogate. That’s someone who carries an embryo made from the biological mother’s egg and the biological father’s sperm. In Misty’s case, make that two embryos.
The babies’ due date was not until Nov. 29, but they were in a hurry.
“We got a call at 2:45, we picked her up at 3, we got to the hospital at 3:15,” Justin says.
Anna Glen was delivered at 3:45 a.m., weighing 4 pounds, 11 ounces, followed 10 minutes later by her brother, William Christopher, weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces.
“There was no medication,” Misty says.
“There was no time,” Justin says. “It happened so fast. We didn’t know what happened.”
Misty went home the next day, and the twins came home the day after that. Debbie, who had a room, too, stayed with the babies both nights.
At their last check-up, Will weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces, while the more petite Anna weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
Debbie and Justin are grateful for the help they’ve had from grandparents. But they’re not quite over the sleep-deprived stage yet. Several times during our visit, I promised them that it gets better.
“Nobody can tell you what to expect,” Justin says.
“There’s no way to prepare for the lack of sleep,” Debbie says.
“They are on the same schedule,” Justin notes. “But they are not on our schedule.”
But, Debbie admits, “It has very slowly started getting better.”
The babies are adorable, you’ve got to admit. His parents say that Will is the more demanding of the two, while Anna is easy and content.
Or, as Justin says, “She’s user friendly. He’s for experts only.”
“If you put him down, you can just forget it,” Debbie says.
Misty, too, is glad the babies arrived healthy. She spent a lot of the pregnancy on bed rest ó pretty difficult considering the fact that she and husband Raymond have two young children.
“I was counting the days,” Misty says. “I was sick of ‘can’t.’ I was just pleased to get these babies out of me.”
She reported that at her postpartum doctor’s visit, she’d lost the 31 pounds she’d gained carrying the twins, plus 2 more pounds.
Misty stays busy at home with her own children, and says she doesn’t come to visit as much as she’d like.
“It’s just been a whirlwind,” Debbie says, as Anna sleeps on her lap, dead to the world. Meanwhile, Will is sitting with his dad. The infant keeps going in and out of sleep. His dad says he makes all sorts of noises, sometimes sounding like a billy goat.
The twins share a nursery. Amazingly, Debbie says, they don’t disturb each other. “They’re still kinda oblivious to each other.”
Despite the lack of sleep, Debbie is thrilled to have her babies here.
“It’s the change we were ready for and wanting so desperately,” she says. “We have our parents help every day, but it’s tough.”
Debbie is also grateful for meals and visits from friends and family. Still, a couple of weeks ago, Debbie ó who’s hyperorganized as a schoolteacher ó had a breakdown, she says. “There are two of us, and there are two of them. We’re the parents. Why can’t we do this?”
Debbie noticed that her mom and Justin’s mom were coming in every day, refreshed.
“We are sleep-deprived and doing this 24 hours,” she says. “There was no way to know or expect how tough it was going to be. They are our world now ó but I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!”
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.