Leonard, with Mrs. Cooper in tow, was caught in the throes of fa high-speed chase with a police car. Except that… they were the ones doing the chasing and Leonard could barely keep up.
"Mrs. Cooper," he said, winding between cars and flying through red lights. "I can't believe you convinced that cop to give us an escort to the hospital."
"Well, Leonard, just always remember: whenever you talk to someone in authority, you have to be D-N-D."
"DND?" Leonard repeated. "What does that stand for?"
"Dumb, nice and desperate. They'll wanna help your poor soul every time."
"That's good to know," he said, nodding. He sailed through another light.
Soon enough, they arrived at Pasadena General Hospital and the cop—after delivering them, safely and soundly—got out of his vehicle to bid them well.
"Good luck, guys," he said.
"Thank you, Officer," Mrs. Cooper said.
He tipped his hat. "It was my pleasure."
Once he was gone, Leonard and Mrs. Cooper jumped out of the car and ran for the hospital doors. Once inside, they realized that they were more than a bit lost. They studied the hospital map and then bolted for the fourth floor. They spotted a double door with a sign above it that read "Labor and Delivery" and yanked on it. It didn't budge, but they did manage to set off a loud alarm. Suddenly, a foreboding nurse appeared.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
Leonard thought back on Mrs. Cooper's words and feigned dumbness. "Oh, um, well," he stammered. He might have even waved his hands a little. "We just are so, so, so lost. You see, my friend's having a baby as we speak. Think you could help us find our way?"
The nurse looked at him suspiciously.
"Have a name?"
"Leonard Hofstadter is giving birth?" she said with growing suspicion.
"No, I'm Leonard Hofstadter," he said.
"What's your friend's name?"
"Sheldon Cooper is giving birth?"
"No, no," Leonard said, "His girlfriend is giving birth. Well, not so much his girlfriend but his... well I don't know exactly what they are. I mean, I guess domestic partner would be a better—"
"I'm going to need to verify who you are," she said. "Got some ID?"
Leonard patted his coat and realized he'd left it in the car. It seemed like a good time to be nice and desperate.
"Your scrubs are pretty," he said.
"What?" she responded.
"And we have to get in that room right now," he whined.
She looked at him for a second, baffled.
"SECURITY!" the nurse yelled. Mrs. Cooper jumped up.
"Wait one moment before you call the guard," she begged. "The Sheldon Cooper this young man is referring to is my son. And he is somewhere in this hospital as my first grandbabies come into this world. Now, I'm from out of town and just as loss as I can be, but this gentleman was nice enough to bring me here and I was hoping for a little help in locating my family."
"Twins?" the woman said, softening some.
Mrs. Cooper nodded. "Yep, they sure are. I'm just about on the verge of tears thinking about it."
"Awww," the woman said. "Well, I'm sorry for the confusion; it's just, we take hospital security very seriously in the Maternity Ward. We would hate from some weirdo to run in there and snatch up one of the newborns." She shot a look at Leonard.
"And you better never stop taking it seriously," Mrs. Cooper said. "I like to see that you're keeping the place secure."
"Yes ma'am," the lady said. "Follow me; let me get you signed in."
"Thank you, dear," Mrs. Cooper said. She and Leonard followed her to the desk.
"I guess I need a little more practice," he whispered.
Mrs. Cooper sighed. "Well, you certainly got the 'dumb' part down."
Leonard was thoroughly engrossed with reading People magazine, mostly because it was the only reading material available in the waiting area not dedicated to parenting. He was on the verge of telling Penny the exciting news that the Arrested Development movie was finally going to happen when he looked up and found her in a disturbing state. Her eyes were bugging out and she looked like she had been holding her breath for the last ten minutes.
"You okay?" he asked.
Her head snapped to him and she grabbed his arm with both hands, choking it in a death grip.
"Remember that talk we had a couple months ago when we agreed we both wanted to have kids some day?"
"Yeah," he said, smiling. "That was a nice talk."
"Scrap it," she said.
This was an alarming development. "Why?"
"Do you hear that?" she asked.
Leonard strained to listen and just managed to make out the muffled screams of women in the thick of hard labor.
"Yeah, I do," he said.
"Yeah, I do?" she repeated. "All you have to say is 'Yeah, I do'?"
"I mean, it's no secret that labor's a bitch," he said.
"Yeah, but it's a bitch you won't have to deal with. While you're off somewhere, I don't know, skipping around sucking lollipops, I'm going to be going through the most traumatic experience that the human body can possibly take."
"I hardly think I would be spending your labor skipping around sucking lollipops," he said.
"That's not the point!" Penny exclaimed. She let go of his arm and he could feel the blood easing back in. "That's it—we're adopting."
"Adopting?" Leonard repeated. "I mean, I have no problem with the idea in general—"
Just then Mrs. Cooper appeared. "Well it's ixnay on the aborlay," she said, plopping down beside the panicking pair.
"Why? They didn't let you in the room?" Penny asked.
She shook her head. "Apparently, once a woman's contractions get too close together, they don't allow anyone else in."
"Man, if anyone could wiggle past that rule, I thought it would be you," Leonard said.
"Well, every scheme has its limits. No matter how dumb, nice or desperate I acted, that little nurse girl wasn't budging." She squinted her eyes, lost in thought. "I like her. She's probably from Texas."
"Well, Mrs. Cooper," Penny said, "the good news is you shouldn't have to wait long to see your first grandchildren."
"Did someone say 'Mrs. Cooper'?"
An older woman sitting several feet over turned her head in the direction of Penny. Mrs. Cooper looked up puzzled.
"I'm Mrs. Cooper," she said rising and extending her hand. "But I'm afraid I don't know who you are."
"I am Mrs. Fowler," she said, standing, and took the other woman's hand. "I'm Amy's mom."
A large smile broke out on Sheldon's mom's face. "Well, I'll be. Nice to meet you," she said, and threw her arms around the unsuspecting woman. "How are you?"
"I'm doing just fine," she said. "It's a pleasure to meet you, too. I've heard so much."
Mrs. Cooper was wary of that news. "What have you heard?"
"Oh, nothing much. Just that you're an excellent cook and very active in your church." She'd also heard her called the "Wicked Witch of the Southwest," but Mrs. Fowler kept that fact to herself.
"Oh, well—guilty as charged," Mrs. Cooper said.
"And what have you heard about me?" Mrs. Fowler said.
Honestly, she'd heard absolutely nothing. She was darn near sure that the Lord had been the last virgin birth, so Amy must have come from somewhere, but Mrs. Cooper had never quite gotten around to finding out the particulars.
"Oh, just that you've raised a beautiful daughter," she said, scraping together something that was kind of true.
Mrs. Fowler smiled at that. "Guilty as charged," she said and laughed. Mrs. Cooper smiled back like the Cheshire Cat.
"How would you like it if we caught up a little?" she asked.
"I would like that a lot," Mrs. Fowler said. "It's high time that we connected. Better late than never, right?"
"Absolutely," Mrs. Cooper concurred and, throwing an arm around Amy's mom, they strolled off towards the corner. "So," she began, "what are your views on Sunday school?"
Meanwhile, Dr. Fowler was being subjected to Dr. Cooper's views on labor. He had a stopwatch in one hand and his cell phone in the other.
"Now according to the Mayo Clinic's website, which—incidentally—coincides with what I've read elsewhere, you are entering, or quite possibly already well into, the stage of labor called 'transition.'"
"Sheldon," Amy pleaded in between pants, "Can you please give me some ice chips?"
"Ice chips?" he repeated. "In all our Lamaze classes, we learned that ice chips, though something of a cliché in the realm of birthing lore, has very little value to a woman in labor. They provide scant nourishment, are inferior to an actual beverage and possess no anesthetic qualities."
"Can you just give the woman some ice chips?" the nurse said.
"Why?" Sheldon asked.
"To cut back on all that talking," she answered.
Sheldon nodded as he grabbed the cup. "I completely understand. It would be best if she remained silent for her own tranquility."
"No," the nurse said, "it would be best if you remained silent for my own tranquility."
Sheldon scrunched up his face and crouched near Amy's ear. "I don't like her," he whispered.
Moments later the doctor walked in.
"Ms. Fowler, Mr. Cooper, I am Dr. Gupta and I will be delivering these babies for you."
Amy nodded—her face tight, her breathing tighter—fighting not to lose control.
"We are both doctors," Sheldon said.
"Wonderful," the doctor said, putting on gloves. "What are your specialties?"
"I am a theoretical physicist," he answered. "And Amy is a neurobiologist."
"Ahhh… doctors of philosophy," he said. "Fascinating." He sat down on a stool at the level of Amy's pelvis and, after conducting a bit of an examination, chatted with nurses. Then Amy had another contraction. "Now, Amy, can you give us one good push?"
She nodded and—taking Sheldon's hand—gave it everything she had.
"Very nice... and another," he repeated. It went on like this for close to an hour, repeated rounds of contractions and pushing. Amy was growing exhausted. She started crying.
And Sheldon started panicking.
"Don't forget to breathe," the nurse said.
"I won't," Sheldon replied in between heaves of air.
"I was talking to Amy," she said.
"I CAN'T DO THIS!" Amy wailed.
"Don't give up now!" the doctor urged her. "I think we have just a few more pushes and you'll have two babies in your hands. Would you like to see the first baby's head crowning?"
Amy nodded (mostly because it was easier than shaking her head) and looked ahead at the mirror they placed between her legs. She was… astonished at what she saw. She turned to Sheldon who had his free hand over his eyes.
"Sheldon… look," she whispered. Slowly parting two fingers, he gazed towards the mirror.
"Sorry we're late," Bernadette said as she and Howard joined the spontaneous waiting party, "but Raj spent forty-five minutes trying to decide whether to buy the 'It's a boy and a girl' balloons or the 'Double Trouble' matching onesies for the babies."
"What did he decide on?" Mrs. Fowler asked.
"Both," Bernadette said, fatigue in her voice. A moment later, Raj entered with two large balloons and a gift bag. He leaned over and whispered something to Howard.
"He wants you all to know that Kohl's is having a Midnight Sale, in the case this thing runs long and you still haven't gotten a gift." He shook his head and joined his wife on the bench. "How much longer?" he asked Leonard.
"We don't know, but from the sound of things we think we'll be hearing something soon."
A second later the doctor walked in. "Is there anyone here for the Fowler-Cooper twins?"
His question was answered with a chorus of yeses. Both grandmothers anxiously stood.
"I am happy to report that Amy Farrah Fowler just gave birth to a healthy boy and girl!" he proclaimed.
Cheers rang out through the assembled crowd.
"I called it!" Penny cried. Leonard turned to the doctor.
"When we heard Amy let out that grisly yell a few minutes ago, figured it was just a matter of time," Leonard said smiling.
"Actually," the doctor said, "that was Sheldon."
Immediately after the birth of the babies, they had been given to Amy for a first feeding and to provide an opportunity for a little mother-son-daughter bonding. Sheldon had watched his family from afar with the awed fascination of a bystander, as if he were having an out-of-body experience. It would have been a day filled with near-overwhelming wonder for anyone, but for Sheldon, it felt like he was literally experiencing the impossible.
After an hour, the twins had been whisked away by hospital staff for bathing, hand and foot prints, vitamin K shots and a myriad of other regulatory tests and procedures mandated for newborns. Also, though the babies seemed to be completely healthy, they had come close to two weeks early and would be especially examined for any complications.
As the initial shock wore off from the labor and delivery, the reality that Sheldon was now a father began to descend on him, and something in his mind shifted. Having been leaning against the wall, bleary-eyed and languid, he suddenly began to pace the floor.
Mrs. Cooper and Mrs. Fowler, who were sitting on opposite sides of the room—equally exhausted, but anxious to see their grandchildren—both sat up and watched him as he prowled about the room.
"You okay, Shelly?" Mrs. Cooper asked.
"Indeed I am not. It has been well over four hours since we've seen the twins. What possibly could be taking so long?"
"I'm sure this is all very normal," Mrs. Fowler said, consolingly. "They have to make sure the babies are hardy and healthy. Besides, there are two of them."
Sheldon stopped pacing; he found her attempts at comfort cloying and unwelcomed, and said so.
"I find your attempts at comfort cloying and unwelcomed."
"Shelly!" Mrs. Cooper gasped, appalled. "She doesn't know what to think anymore than we do, and it's not right for you to take out your frustrations on her. Now you apologize."
He grimaced and turned to the floor. "Sorry," he muttered.
Mrs. Fowler, far from his biggest fan, just turned her head.
The minor outburst didn't wake Amy, who was enjoying much needed rest, but she did stir a little. Sheldon walked over to the bed and sat down beside her, his face the picture of misery.
A little while later, the door swung open and, wheeled in ahead of the nurse, was a wide bassinette bearing the infants. Sheldon practically leapt from where he was sitting, and the mothers with him.
"Well, Dad," the nurse said, "here are the twins. They can stay in here as long as you like, or you can call us back later to take them to the nursery for the night."
"That… won't be necessary," he said.
She nodded. "Will you be staying over?"
He looked at her with offense. "Of course, I will be."
She shrugged. "Most do, some don't. That chair," he said, pointing to where Mrs. Cooper had been sitting, "pulls out into a recliner bed, and I can bring you a blanket." She looked at the grandmothers with a smile. "Visiting hours were over at nine, but since it's the first night, we can be a little flexible," she said. She headed for the door. "Let me know if you need anything."
The three of them gathered around the bassinette and leaned over the new infants, captivated. The boy was wearing a blue cap, while the girl had on a pink one; both babies were fast asleep.
"They are marvelous," Mrs. Fowler said.
"They are that," Mrs. Cooper agreed. "Like a living miracle."
Sheldon didn't say a word, just stood staring.
"Are they back?" came a voice from behind them. They turned around and Amy was sitting up just a little, craning her neck to see.
"How do they look?"
All three women turned to him, but he didn't say anything, and looked back at the bassinette without answering. Mrs. Cooper filled the void.
"Like angels," she said. "They're just resting up a bit, like their mama."
"Good," Amy said and lied back down, closing her eyes. After a moment, she turned her head. "You should hold them."
She hadn't specified whom, but it was obvious she was talking to Sheldon. He looked at her then back at the babies; the apprehension on his face was unmistakable.
"Yeah, Shelly," his mother goaded. "You should."
"How?" he asked, barely above a whisper. Mrs. Cooper walked towards the sink.
"Well, first we wash our hands," she said. She turned on the water and got some soap, and he joined her. "And then," she said, "you pick them up."
Drying his hand on a paper towel, he looked at one, and then the other, and then back at one, and then the other.
"You're going to have to learn how to do double-duty; trust me—I know. Here," she said. She lifted the boy and gently placed him in Sheldon's right arm. Then lifted the girl and placed her in his other arm. "There," she said, standing back with some admiration. Despite her fatigue, Amy was smiling behind him.
Sheldon looked down at the tiny human beings in his arms.
"What do you think?" Mrs. Cooper asked.
It took him a while to answer; his eyes welled up.
"They're glorious," he said.
Mrs. Cooper nodded, shedding a tear herself and, tucking her hand under his arm, leaned against his shoulder.
After weeks of being in the apartment, Amy was growing stir crazy and as the babies reached their first month's birthday, she put a bug in Sheldon's ear about having something of a coming out party for the pair. Mrs. Cooper thought it was a splendid idea, but naturally, Sheldon balked, citing a shortage of space, the expectation of a full meal on the part of the guests, and the potential risk of a double infant death from an infection contracted from someone in attendance as his principal objections. Amy had assured him that she would keep the event small, inform attendees that only light snacks would be provided and wait to bring the twins out for a brief, non-contact visit at some point during the night. He reluctantly agreed to this arrangement on the condition that he could give out gift bags, a contingency she was more than happy to concede to.
On the appointed night, Amy was cheerful as she looked around at an apartment filled with the buzz of cherished friends, workmates and even a few family members. Mrs. Cooper had spent the entire month in Pasadena following the birth, and Missy had just arrived the day before to see the twins and to escort her mother back to Galveston. The event was somewhat doubling as Mrs. Cooper's going-away party. As agreed to, the twins were going to be brought out at 7:00. At the chosen time, Sheldon rallied the crowd.
"Here, here," he began, banging on the side of a glass. "The moment you've all been waiting for has arrived."
Kripke piped up from the back of the crowd. "So thewe wiww be a stwippeh?"
Sheldon looked at him quizzically. "And who invited you?"
"I didn't know this was invitation onwy. I just heawd thewe was gonna be babes hewe."
"Then that brings us to our first order of business," Sheldon said, clearing his throat. "Kripke… out."
"He can't go, yet," Stuart said, poking out his head to be seen. "He's riding with me."
"Then I'm afraid you'll have to go, too," Sheldon said.
"Give him a few minutes," Amy pleaded in his behalf. "Stuart was really looking forward to this."
Against his better judgment, Sheldon let them stay. "But one more crude, rhotacistic remark from you, Kripke, and you're on the other side of that door." Kripke rolled his eyes. "Now each of you were given a gift bag at the door with clear instructions not to open it until the appointed time."
"That was a nice touch, Amy," Penny said from the front row.
"Actually, it was Sheldon's idea," Amy shrugged. "I had nothing to do with them."
"You may open them now," Sheldon said. Small cries of glee rang out among the assembled group. They were immediately followed by moans of disappointment.
"Um, Sheldon," Leonard said, "these are just paper masks and latex gloves."
"And what's with this huge blanket, Shelly?" Missy asked.
"It is not a blanket, but a standard-issue hospital gown, and anyone who objects to wearing one can check back with us in five months when the infants' immune systems have been suitably strengthened by the incidental pathogens they encounter and the antibodies found in Amy's breast milk."
A discontented murmur spread throughout the room, and snatches of conversation could be heard, like "psycho" and "OCD" and "I can't believe that's my brother." Over the din, a cough could be heard from the back of the crowd.
"Who was that?" Sheldon asked. The group fell silent and there was no response. "Fine then," he shrugged, "you are all dismissed. The crowd that heaves together, leaves together."
"Sheldon, may I have a word with you?" Amy asked, and started towards the back of the apartment. Sheldon followed, extremely reluctantly.
"Yes… dear?" he added for effect.
"While I champion the cause of cleanliness as much as any new mother, you have taken your typical obsession with hygiene to near-psychotic levels."
"I beg to differ," he said. "No amount of hygiene is too great when it comes to the preservation of tender lives."
"Their lives are not in danger," she countered.
"You don't know that," he said.
"Sheldon, this goody-bag incident falls outside the bounds of normalcy; millions of babies survive, and even thrive, with much less stringent codes of—"
Her tirade was interrupted by the sight of Mrs. Cooper wheeling out the two bundles of joy from the bedroom that once belonged to Leonard.
"Is it time yet?" she asked.
Sheldon and Amy stared, spellbound, as their… children lay in the bassinette. They were awake, and writhing about in the enchanting way that small babies do.
"They are amazing, aren't they?" Mrs. Cooper said in response to their quiet awe. "Takes me back to when you and your sister where tiny." She sighed. "And enjoy this… it doesn't last nearly long enough." She kept wheeling them forward and Amy and Sheldon followed.
When they arrived in the front room, they were greeted with "oohs" and "aahs" and general elation from their guests. Everyone crowded around them, careful not to get too close lest they draw Sheldon's wrath.
"Aditi really looks like Sheldon," Penny said.
"I dunno. I think she looks a lot like Amy," Bernadette said. "Robert is the one that looks just like his dad."
Raj leaned towards Sheldon's ear, but Sheldon pulled away.
"Raj, we've been over this before," he said. "Speak or remain silent, but please refrain from using my ear as a spittoon." Annoyed, Raj returned to his standard interpreter.
"Raj says he's really excited to see that they're wearing the onesies," Howard said.
"I told Mrs. Cooper to put them on," Amy said with a smile and a nod.
Bernadette's phone vibrated and she stepped into the kitchen to answer it.
"Why the hell doesn't Howard have his phone on?" Mrs. Wolowitz shouted through the phone.
"I think he turned it off so it wouldn't ring," Bernadette answered.
"Why the hell would you have a phone if you don't want it to ring?" she asked.
Bernadette sighed. "Did you want something?"
"I just want you to send my apologies to Amy and Sheldon. I would have loved to make it tonight, but I just came down with the most outrageous case of explosive diarrhea, like you wouldn't believe."
"I might," Bernadette said.
"Can you send them my love?"
"And what are the little bubelehs' names again?"
"Robert Sheldon and Aditi Amy Fowler Cooper."
"Ohhh. Must be a family name," she said, dismissively.
"Actually," Bernadette explained. "Robert is named for Robert Oppenheimer, Sheldon's favorite physicist, and Aditi is named for Aditi Shankardass, a neuroscientist Amy admires."
"Well, you and Howard better not pull any stunts like that," she said. "Give grandma some nice Jewish grandbabies with nice Jewish names."
Bernadette just sighed.
Meanwhile, Missy had parked next to Sheldon. "Well, I never thought you'd give Mom the first grandkids," she said.
"Nor I," he answered. "I actually never imagined that I would give Mom any grandchildren at all."
"That's what a special woman does to you," she said. They watched the infants a little longer. "You think they'll grow up to be like us: one, freakishly smart and successful and the other one irresistibly charming and drop-dead gorgeous?"
Sheldon didn't like the thought of that. "I certainly hope not; it's my wish that they both turn out to be like me, of course," he answered.
"Good Lord, Shelly," she said, "Don't you love them babies at all?"
He turned to her, not the least bit amused, and watched as she walked off, chuckling to herself.
Predictably, Sheldon checked out of the gathering early, and by the time the last guests (Missy and Penny) had gone, he was collapsed on the bed, fully dressed and sound asleep; an open book was draped across his chest. Upon further examination, Amy realized it was…
The children's book. She wasn't sure where it had come from: Mrs. Cooper, maybe, or the mail. She slowly lowered herself to the bed and, gingerly, she extracted the publication from his fingers, then stared at the cover. "You and I Count from 1 to 20" it was called, and it featured a young girl and a young boy; she didn't know if it was him and her or the twins.
She opened the book and, thumbing through the first few pages, came across this:
Mary Cooper, the woman who gave me life
Amy Farrah Fowler, the woman with whom I share my life
My twins, Aditi and Robert, who have amplified my life
If there was a better way to end a night, Amy couldn't think of one. She took off her shoes and snuggled in next to Sheldon, falling asleep to the sound of his heart beating.
The following morning, Sheldon and Amy gathered by the door as Mrs. Cooper got ready to catch her taxi.
"If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to call me," she told Amy. "Boy/girl twins ain't nothing to sneeze at. Trust you me, they can be a handful."
"I will," Amy said, and the two women hugged. "Have a safe trip back, Mrs. Cooper."
"Now, if I've told you once, Amy, I've told you a million times. Please, call me Mary."
Amy bore a bashful smile, then nodded. "Okay, Mary, have a safe trip back."
"I will," she assured her. "Now, when you two get married, you can call me 'Mom'."
Amy gave Sheldon an awkward look as he grabbed his mother's luggage and shuffled her out of the door.
"Mom," he said as they started down the stairs, "I've told you many, many times before that I do not subscribe to your Judeo-Christian norms, and neither does Amy. So, I beg of you, don't enforce them upon us."
"You're right, Shelly," she conceded. "I shouldn't meddle. I'll just leave the matter to you and Amy."
"Thank you," he said.
Little did he know, his mother's fingers were crossed behind her back.
Mrs. Cooper never could get her kids to come around to her way of thinking, but she usually got them thinking about coming around to her way. Of course, when Sheldon finally did decide to get married, it didn't have anything to do with Biblical morality.
But that's another story for another day.
Endote: Massive love to my beta, In the dark. Follow the Son—she's the best there is. But also thanks to you guys who stuck it out all the way to the Shamy!babies party. If we haven't met yet, leave a shout out in the comments—even if you haven't joined FFN (I love my anons, too), or your English sucks (who cares?) or you usually ship Shenny (much respect). THANKS FOR READING!