When Pauline and John got to the hospital, John dropped Pauline off so he could take the girls home. Being only an hour away from the hospital, he and Pauline decided that the two of them could take turns with the babies and the girls. Pauline insisted on taking her turn first, having waited three full days to get to see her new grandbabies in person. She couldn't imagine how Kira was feeling, not having gotten to see the boys at all.
Pauline headed straight up to the NICU where the babies were and took the cooler that Doc Appleby had sent with the Dukes upstairs. The cooler had the milk that Kira had pumped in it. The doctors were concerned that the babies weren't thriving as much as they should be. It was normal that babies drop in weight slightly after they are born but the young Dukes couldn't really afford to lose any more weight.
When Pauline was allowed to see the babies, she was told that the babies had just been fed so they would need to stay in the incubators until the next feeding time. Pauline sat down in between the bassinets watched the babies sleep. When Little Jonathan (or as Bo had taken to calling him, Jay) started to cry, Pauline was surprised to see that not only was he spitting up, he was spewing. Ignoring the nurse, Pauline reached in to pick up her grandson and tried to comfort him.
"What's going on? He's crying like he's in pain. I know that all babies spit up but that ain't normal."
"The babies seem to be intolerant to the formula. Their stomachs are a little sensitive."
"Well, get a one of the bottles that I brought from his mother, then. As much as he spit up, he can't have anything left in his stomach."
"It's not time for another bottle yet."
"Time or not, get one." Pauline turned back to Jay as she continued to rub his back. "Poor baby. Grandma's here." Seeing that nurse remaining stubbornly still she snapped at her, "Well, are you goin' to get one of those bottles or should I?"
"I'm supposed to feed the babies at particular times to get them used to a schedule."
"Well, I think that I can speak for my son and daughter-in-law when I say that right now the only thing they want would be to make sure that their boys are fed and happy with full bellies. There will be plenty of time to worry about schedules later. Now go and get me that bottle."
The nurse finally relented and went to get the bottle and Pauline set to feeding the baby. This time when Jay burped only a minimal amount of spit up came up; only mere bubbles came up in comparison to the volcano that had erupted earlier. Once the young Duke fell back to sleep, Pauline started the whole process over with Mikey as he'd just woke up spewing the formula as well. These boys were going to need their momma here to feed them. Pauline was sure that once they had their mother around that they'd start to put on some weight and grow.
Kira and Daisy went back to Kira's room after the shower and found that Jebb had come back to the hospital and was sitting in the chair in the room. Daisy headed on back to the farm after sharing some of the stories from the shower, promising to drop off all of the gifts at their place on the way. After Daisy left, Kira was about ready to ask why Jebb was at Doc Appleby's when he grinned at his wife and told her he had good news.
"Doc told me that they're gonna send you to Atlanta tonight. You're gonna be with the boys in a matter of hours."
"So I'll get to see them tonight?"
"Well, it's gonna be real late when you get to Atlanta, Kira." Jebb knew that Kira wouldn't be stopped from seeing the boys as soon as she got to Atlanta, (and he didn't blame her, he couldn't wait to see them again either) but he couldn't help teasing her a little.
"I'm sure you're gonna be tired when you get there."
"I'll sleep on the way." Kira narrowed her eyes at Jebb's amusement.
"They'll probably be asleep."
"I'm sure that they'll wake up sometime after I get up there."
"The nurses may not bring them down to the room during the night."
"If they don't I'll walk to the nursery." Kira glared at him as if daring him to come up with another excuse why she couldn't see her sons after three days of being separated.
Jebb chuckled as he raised his hands in surrender knowing that when Kira gave him that look it meant that if he was smart, he'd stop the teasing before going any further. "Alright, alright. I'll make sure to let them know not to stand in the way of the lioness seein' her cubs."
"They'd better not." Kira crossed her arms in a stubborn gesture but instantly regretted putting the pressure on her chest. She guessed it was time to pump again. When Jebb realized what had happened, he started to laugh. "Don't start, Jebb."
"I didn't say nothin'."
"No, but you were thinkin' it." Kira shifted around to the machine to get it ready to use, then noticed that Jebb was still in the seat and had not moved since she came in; something that was out of the ordinary for him. "Something wrong?"
"What do ya mean?"
"Well, I noticed that you ain't moved since I came in. So is something on your mind? Or does this have something to do with you goin' to see the Doc today?"
"Who said that I went to see the Doc?"
"Jebb, I just left a room full of women; many of whom were in Hazzard today. Take your pick. So, are you goin' to share? Or should I draw my own conclusions?"
Jebb shifted uncomfortably then proceeded to tell Kira about the conversation that he'd had with the doctor the morning after the twins were born. About the options that the doctor had given to ensure that Kira wouldn't get pregnant again, which led to the reason why he'd gone into the office today.
"You did what?" Kira was dumb-founded.
"Well, a man's supposed to keep his family from harm ain't he? There's been so many things going on that I couldn't control. This was one thing that I could control. Besides, the only other option would be for you to have surgery once you're cleared. Which would be yet another night in the hospital. This way was simpler, just twenty minutes in Doc's office, and it's all done."
Kira didn't know what to say. Most men wouldn't have done what Jebb had. They'd be too scared to. "You still should have told me about it before you went to the doc. I just might have been willing to have gone through with the surgery instead."
"Well I wasn't gonna let you. So there wasn't no point." Kira raised an eyebrow had the word let. Ordinarily she would have fought the implication that Jebb would forbid her from doing anything. This time though, she knew that he was just trying to protect her from harm and any further health risks. Getting up, she walked over to Jebb and gave him a light kiss. "What's that for?"
"For looking out for me."
"Yeh, well, I ain't exactly done such a great job of that, lately."
"Like hell you ain't. No one could have known that any of what's happened would. Not even the doctors could have known that I'd develop a disease just by getting pregnant. And as far as the rest, neither of us knew about the million dollar trust that Ben set up to be split up among any kids born. Or that Shawn would have gone to the lengths that he went through to try to keep me from, as he would have seen it, taking more of his father's money. I've always known that he was greedy. Shoot, he makes Boss look downright generous with his money. I used to say that I wouldn't be surprised if for the right amount of money that he'd commit murder."
Kira paused realizing just how on the mark she'd been. "I guess murder for hire is close enough. Imagine if he knew that the trust wasn't going to only be split in two, but among three children since we were having twins. But like I said, you've been taking real good care of me and I think that you're sweet for it." Kira could tell that Jebb was still going to blame himself, so she figured that there was just one thing to do. She walked back over to the bed and snatched the pillow up off of the bed and turned and added, "Even if you are a bit suffocating at times."
Kira tossed the pillow and hit Jebb in the head and laughed as Jebb grabbed the pillow and went to stand up but winced at the effect that the quick movement had on him.
"You're really asking for it ain't you? Just wait until you get home. You've got enough payback comin' your way as it is."
Kira laughed again since it looked like neither of them would be getting the other anytime soon. "All right, hand it over."
Jebb gave her a questioning look at the statement.
"You read over my restrictions, now it's my turn. I know that the doctor gave you a list."
Kira went to cross her arms again but stopped herself and put her hands on her hips instead. Jebb waited a few seconds before reaching carefully around to grab his wallet out of his back pocket then handed the folded piece of paper to his wife. Reading over the list, Kira grinned up at her husband.
"So I'm guessing that an offer to Kiss it and Make it Better wouldn't be appreciated right about now, huh?" Too bad he did this while she was stuck in the hospital. She would have had fun with some of the restrictions on this list.
"Only if I can get a raincheck."
With a knock on the door, a nurse came in then and informed Kira of what Jebb had already told her, that she was being transferred to Atlanta. She'd see a cardiologist there, but most importantly, she'd get to be with her boys. Kira would be loaded in an Ambulance just as soon as she'd pumped one last time. Jebb promised to see both her and their sons the next day and went on home, to finally take some of the pain pills that Doc Appleby gave him.
When Kira got to the hospital in Atlanta, she insisted that she be taken to her sons. One look on her face, knowing that the mother had yet to see her own children yet, told the nurses that it was in their best interest to go ahead and allow the woman to see her sons. A nurse got out a wheel chair and pushed Kira down to the nursery to at long last get a glimpse of her twin sons for the first time. When Kira was placed between two incubators, Kira felt her eyes moistened.
Before Jebb, she'd never even entertained the idea of having a family of her own. Happy Ever Afters were for someone else. Now looking at her babies Kira thought that maybe it was time to rethink her position on such things. She now had a husband that was more than she deserved and two precious baby boys. Sounds like a pretty good start on a Happily Ever After to her. Now all she had to do was wait until the boys were strong enough to go home.
Kira slipped a hand into the nearest incubator, moving aside some fine baby hair, marveling at the texture of it. When the night nurse asked her if she wanted to hold the baby, Kira looked torn. She knew that you had to be careful with babies as a general rule, but her babies were smaller than most babies. So that meant that they needed even more care, didn't they? They were even hooked up to tiny oxygen masks; it looked as if one of her sons had knocked his off in his sleep. She guessed that he was trying to tell the nurses that he didn't need the mask. Dukes are strong, even as babies. Even when they weren't supposed to be born yet.
"You've never held a baby before, have you?" The nurse leaned down to pick the baby up as he started to wake up. Kira shook her head. "You'll be an old pro in no time. Let me help you. Just keep his head up and put your other arm under him. There you go."
With the baby settled in her arms, Kira gazed down at her son. Knowing for sure that moments like these must be where the term, Love at first Sight first came from.
The next day Jesse, Daisy, Bo and Luke all drove into Atlanta after first stopping off at John and Pauline's in Placid to see Kira and the babies. Some of the town's people volunteered to take care of the chores out at the farm so the Dukes loaded up in the General and the pick-up and headed across the state for a couple of weeks until the twins were released from the hospital. Jesse was looking forward to it since he'd yet to see the babies and he rarely had the opportunity to go to his brother's house.
When they'd gotten to the hospital, they went in search of Kira's room and ran into a nurse pushing a small bassinet down the hall. The name on the placard said DUKE. Jesse bent down and took a real good look at the infant as he asked for his niece's room.
"Fourth one on the right. She's feeding the other baby right now, but you can go on in."
The family headed on to the room that the nurse indicated with Bo and Luke in the lead. When they opened the door they were both laughing at an observation that Luke had just made; with Kira having the babies, Bo would be the equivalent of their Uncle Jesse. That meant that the boys were in trouble in Luke's opinion. He couldn't picture his baby cousin giving the same kind of sage advice that they routinely get from their Uncle who had raised them since they were knee high to a grasshopper.
Bo couldn't even find it in himself to act offended. It was true; he couldn't picture himself filling their uncle's shoes either. When the two walked in, they both instantly started to try to back out of the room only to be stopped by Jesse and Daisy still trying to move forward into the room.
"Guys, move. We're tryin' to get in too." Daisy pushed the fellas on into the room so that she and saw just why they'd stopped. Kira was in the middle of nursing one of the babies. Daisy had to laugh. "Relax fellas. She's covered up. Go on." Still pushing the guys away from the door.
Kira felt a little self-conscious for modesty's sake but she'd already had more people see her without her top on in the last couple of days than she'd had her entire life; sober at least. Taking the lead from Daisy's comment to the guys, Kira picked up the teasing.
"And here I never thought that the infamous Duke Boys ever ran from the thought of seeing a breast. You know these things are used for more than just the amusement of guys like you." Kira smirked when she saw that neither man had a quick come back. Of course she did look down to ensure that she was sufficiently covered up while nursing Michael.
"Well, when the nurse told us that you were feeding one of the babies, we kinda thought that she meant that you were using a bottle," Luke said after finding his voice, though Kira noticed that both he and Bo seemed to suddenly find the wall fascinating.
"The boys can't handle the formula. They have to be nursed."
"Which just proves that they are Duke Men. They know a good thing when they have it." Jesse placed a hand on each of his nephews to silently tell them to relax. After all, they'd have to get used to seeing Kira nurse the twins sooner or later. "Where's Jebb? I kinda thought that he'd be up here."
"Pauline ushered him down to the cafeteria, claiming that he didn't look like he'd been eating. Which he probably hasn't so she's down there making sure that he gets in a full meal; even if it isn't decent in her opinion. Much to the relief of most of the nurses on this floor. They've already learned not to cross her before I even got here."
"That sounds like Pauline. She'll make sure that they do right by her grandbabies. And by you, now. It looks like as soon as these little guys are ready to go home, the nurses will practically be pushing them out the door to get rid of Pauline." Jesse took one of the chairs that had been put into the room and sat by the bed.
"Do you blame them?" Kira laughed at the statement.
"Not at all. Have you heard from the doctor about you yet? I know everyone has been asking about the babies, but that don't mean that we ain't all still concerned about you."
"I'll be stuck taking medicine from now on and keeping regular visits with more doctors. So now I have a regular date with not only an Oncologist, but a Cardiologist and an Urologist, too." Kira shrugged her shoulders as she spoke. She moved the baby in her arms to burp him, still being mindful of the men in the room. "It's a small price to pay."
"Sure it is." Jesse reached for the baby to hold him for the first time. "Now don't you go causin' half of the trouble that your uncles have. Your daddy's hair will be white like mine before it's time." The room started to chuckle when the infant started to cry. "It might have taken a while for you to get to see your babies but it's clear that this little fella knows who his momma is." Jesse handed the young Duke back to Kira as he spoke. "I've got the feeling that everything will work out just fine."
Kira was watching the twins as they played with the other babies in the small Hazzard park enjoying the summer day. Both of the twins seemed to keep one eye on the other while interacting with their playmates. Joining the playgroup had been Jesse's idea. He'd been great with the boys and helping Kira out as she got her feet under her during the first couple of months after the twins were finally allowed to go home after about three weeks in the hospital. Already, though, you'd never know by looking at them that their lives got off to such a rough start.
They were both such happy babies; unless you tried to split them up. Something that she and Jebb learned the hard way. Kira had been convinced that both babies were colicky, spending endless hours trying to quiet two screaming babies as she was fighting a lack of sleep. It was only when Kira had put Mikey in with Jay one night to change the wet crib sheets after his diaper leaked and both babies stopped crying did she suspect that they were crying only because they were being put in separate cribs.
After that night, Kira stopped putting the twins in separate cribs at night. After hearing the solution to the night time crying Jesse commented that perhaps that had been Bo's problem when he was younger. He was known for being a colicky baby, but maybe he was just crying for his own twin.
"Hey! What's he doin'?" Sara, one of the other mothers in the group hollered out as Mikey leaned into Sara's baby girl and gave her a headbutt of a kiss that babies tend to give; causing the baby girl to cry out in surprise from the headbutt. Kira thought it was cute but apparently Sara didn't.
"What? He just gave her a peck." Kira giggled at the antics of her son. Even now he was hopping on his bottom laughing at his own move.
"You could at least pretend to be concerned. I don't need your kid spreading germs to my daughter."
Kira rolled her eyes.
After a couple of minutes of trying to calm the upset mother, Kira figured that it would probably be best to just go ahead and leave for the day. Jebb had dropped her and the kids off at the park on his way to Cooter's to work on the car but Kira didn't mind the walk back to the garage. Getting up, Kira went over to Mikey and picked him up which caused Jay to instantly raise his own arms up to his mother. Balancing the two boys, she got up and took them over to the stroller and headed over towards the garage.
"Hey, Cooter? Where's everyone else at?" Kira asked as she arrived at the garage only to find the old family friend alone.
"They are all out testing the tweaks out that we made to the car. Jebb thinks that he'll be able to beat me in the next race in that car of his." Cooter laughed as he wiped his hands on a rag. "He can try but I doubt it. Racing cars is something new to him. He ought to stick with Motocross."
"Well, you'll need to prove that to him on the race course. How's the General look?"
"It'll win, like always. Is there ever any doubt?"
"I guess not. Do me a favor, call Jebb back. The boys are done at the park for the day."
"Will do." Cooter headed over to the CB.
"Thanks, Coot. I'll go and get the mail and be right back."
Jebb must have been heading back to the garage when Cooter called him because he was walking down the street toward his small family when Kira stepped out of the post office after parking half a block away. When Mikey saw his father, he started to bounce in the stroller and did that cute hyperventilating sound that babies make when they get excited.
Jebb chuckled at the greeting he was getting. He didn't think that he'd ever get tired of such displays. Reaching down, Jebb picked his oldest son up and walked alongside Kira back to the car.
"Mike, if I didn't know any better, I'd think that you were happy to see me." Jebb tickled the blue-eyed blond in his arms. "I kinda of thought that ya'll would have been a bit longer. I figured that these two would have spent about another hour in the park."
"Yeh, well, some of the mothers got a little upset. Especially Sara Butler. Mikey gave Isabella a little kiss, along with a headbutt."
"Alright, Mikey!" Jebb held his hand up and Mikey pawed at it and giggled. "Already chasin' the girls, huh? Before you know it, they'll be chasin' you."
"Jebb, it didn't mean anything. He's a baby, he doesn't exactly know what he was doin'."
"Of course he knows. He's a Duke Boy, isn't he? He's just not coordinated yet."
Kira shook her head as she laughed at the absurd statement. "You're as bad as the mothers in the park." Kira picked up Jay out of the stroller and put him into the car seat in the backseat.
"Oh yeh? And here I was goin' to ask if you wanted some help putting the boys down for a nap when we get home. Then maybe we could take a nap of our own." Jebb pulled his wife to him and gave her a slow, suggestive kiss. After Kira pulled away, Jebb winked at her before turning back to Mikey with a mock whisper, "That's how you're supposed to do it, Son."
Kira gave Jebb a look to which he only grinned back at her.
Across the street, Jesse stepped out of Rhuebottoms and watched his niece and nephew with the twins. He smiled as he saw the two interact together. Now if he could only see his other niece and nephews so happy. Watching the couple, Jesse supposed that he ought to be satisfied with the way things are. But he'd never give up hope of his other kids finding their own happy endings.
The boys' reaction to the formula is taken from when my son was a baby. He couldn't handle ANY formula without erupting like a volcano. He could get you from four feet away with HOT spit up. Had to change doctors. His just said in response to my description, "All babies spit up." Not like that! He was always hungry if I didn't nurse him.
Also, Mothers and babies really are separated all of the time due to similar circumstances in this story. When the babies need more care than a local hospital can provide. If you've experienced this, feel free to share your story.