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Babies

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August 6, 2007

One morning, I woke to discover I had given birth overnight. It was troubling to realize because I had felt no pain as I slept, did not remember the birth, and in fact had not even known I was pregnant. But there he was, a little baby boy, swaddled among cotton sheets, sticky with amniotic fluid and other various baby-goops. The child had pulled himself up to my breast in the night and was at that moment having breakfast. He looked up and smiled when I reached for him.

“Hello,” I said.

I bundled my sheets and my mattress pad into a trash bag and set it by the door. I got into the shower with my new baby, because we were both covered in the material of his birth, and were becoming cold. I soaped him up with my gentle face soap. He laughed and I laughed, because using face soap on an infant is funny. I toweled him off and wrapped him in an Irish linen shirt.

On the walk to the store, I called my boyfriend, Chuck.

“I had a baby overnight,” I said.

Chuck coughed. “I am not amenable to babies,” he said.

I looked down at the baby. He was bundled up in the fine shirt and smiled as if he was aware of the quality of the shirt, and enjoyed it. “I am in love with this baby,” I said, “and that’s that.”

At the grocery, I bought baby powder, diapers, two pacifiers, and a box of chocolate. I walked us home, fit a diaper on the baby, and ate a piece of chocolate. Chuck came over and said that perhaps he was amenable to babies after all, and we fell asleep together with the baby between us. The baby had not cried all day and neither had I.

The next morning, we woke to discover I had once again given birth, this time to a little girl. The babies were nestled together between us on the bed, and my spare sheets were ruined. I handed the babies off to Chuck and sent him to the shower. I bundled up the spare sheets and set them by the other bag of sheets. Then, I got into the shower with Chuck. It was a nervous fit, with the two of us and the babies.

“These babies are so quiet,” said Chuck. “I love them, too. But I hope you don’t have another one overnight.”

We all had a good laugh. The next morning, there was another baby. And another. And another. And another.

And that brings us to today.

Amelia Gray has work published or forthcoming in StoryGlossia, McSweeney’s, Spork, Swivel, Bound Off, and Barbaric Yawp.

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