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More Voices


Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

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My twins were born just twelve hours after I came home from work, but six weeks earlier than expected, so I extended my maternity leave for as long as possible. My partners were accommodating and generous while I was away, but they were plenty glad to have me in the call rotation when I came back. So, after my four months' leave, I was on the schedule within a week or two of returning to work.

My pager trilled one night around 3 a.m. I hustled into my bedroom to get it before my husband woke all the way up, popping a shrieking baby into a crib while I did. Her twin was already howling from the other crib. The night had been layers of bottles and diapers and bouncing and walking and rocking and inexplicable fussing broken up only by crying jags from one or both of them.

I silenced the pager and grabbed the phone and dialed, wandering to the hall where the babies were still audible, but somewhat muted.

“Doctor Rowland,” the resident began, “I’m so sorry to wake you. I have a question.”

I giggled, uncharacteristic but uncontrollable. Wake me up?

“What can I help you with?” I asked, begging for a problem I could solve. 

Kate Rowland
Aurora, Illinois