Transcript of conversation between Charles Balis, M.D., Mr. Tom Bows, and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, March 18, 1997 at 4 pm at the California Pacific Medical Center.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sylvia. Congratulations!
Ms. Bows: Thank you, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I got a message from Tom last night that the boys have arrived. Are they around? I'd love to meet them.
Ms. Bows: They are around. I don't know if Tom told you that one of them, Grant, had to go into intensive care.
Dr. Balis: No, I didn't know. Is he all right?
Ms. Bows: He was only 3 pounds, 2 ounces. That's not unusual for preemies of his gestational age. But he was having breathing difficulties and they whisked him away right after delivery. He is doing much better now. But he'll have to stay in the hospital for about two weeks.
Dr. Balis: How about the other boy?
Ms. Bows: We named him Roald, after my grandfather.
Dr. Balis: You mean like Roald Dahl?
Ms. Bows: I've always liked his books. But he's the only one other than my grandfather who've I've ever heard of with that name. I'd hate to name him Bob or something and have three kids with the same name in kindergarden. There'll only be one Roald.
Dr. Balis: It's a nice name.
Ms. Bows: It made my mother very happy. Roald is doing fine. He was four pounds and five ounces. He was the first to come out and he came out screaming and kicking.
Dr. Balis: Sounds like you've got a fighter on your hands.
Ms. Bows: He is wonderful. Despite his size, Doctor Aicardi, our pediatrician, said that we can take him home when they are ready to discharge me. Oh, and you'll love this, Doctor Balis. Tom is right now over at the hospital administration, fighting their release policies.
Dr. Balis: Why?
Ms. Bows: Well they said that they are going to discharge me from the hospital on Thursday. They are discharging Roald at the same time. But they will keep Grant hospitalized for the next few weeks. I'm breast feeding both of them, every two hours. Do you see the problem? I can't bring Roald with me into the infant ICU and frankly I don't want to. But I need to stay here at the hospital for Grant. We just assumed that they would just let me stay here while Grant is not ready to go home. But they are kicking me and Roald out. How am I supposed to be here for both of them?
Dr. Balis: That sounds ridiculous. You clearly have special circumstances and should be allowed to stay at the hospital while you need to.
Ms. Bows: Apparently it's not hospital policy. If I didn't have a caesarean, they would have kicked me out even sooner.
Dr. Balis: You had a caesarean? I thought you just said that...
Ms. Bows: I never seem to get a break, Doctor. I had it both way--Roald was first and was delivered vaginally. But Grant wasn't doing well. The prolonged labor stressed him out and left him completely exhausted. When his heart started showing irregularities, the doctors thought it would be best to get him out in the gentlest way possible. Hence the caesarean.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry, Sylvia. How are you feeling now?
Ms. Bows: I'm okay. I wouldn't recommend this as a form of entertainment. But then again, pregnancy wasn't all that amusing either. I will never understand women who swear that they enjoy being pregnant and that bringing a new life into this world is the most wonderful experience that they ever had. As much as I adore my boys, I think the process of getting them was the most physically and emotionally draining thing I will ever do in this life.
Dr. Balis: I have to say that you are a poster girl for teen pregnancies.
Ms. Bows: Oh, absolutely! If those kids had glances into my reality, teenage pregnancy wouldn't be an issue. I should probably think about it.
Dr. Balis: About what?
Ms. Bows: Writing an article on the hazards of pregnancy to one's health.
Dr. Balis: I bet it would be very good reading and quite illuminating.
Ms. Bows: Thank you, Doctor.
Dr. Balis: I see you got quite a collection of flowers.
Ms. Bows: Everyone came through. That basket over there is from SII. The roses are from Richard. And that huge monstrosity over there in the corner is from Lloyd.
Dr. Balis: Wow.
Ms. Bows: They had to move an armchair out of the room to fit it in. I don't know what he was thinking sending something like that to a hospital room. I guess he was trying to impress me. Everything Lloyd does has to be over the top.
Dr. Balis: A small moving van could probably get it into your house.
Ms. Bows: I'm donating it to the hospital gardens. Oh, here is Roald.
Dr. Balis: He is a beautiful baby, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: You know just what to say to a new mother, Doctor. You must have professional training.
Dr. Balis: He has no hair.
Ms. Bows: His brother got all of it.
Dr. Balis: Really? Even though Grant is younger?
Ms. Bows: Apparently gestational age is not an indicator or predictor of hair quantity. Grant came out needing a hair cut. If you excuse me, Doctor, I need to feed this little boy.
Dr. Balis: I don't mind. I'll just sit right here and watch. I'm kidding, Sylvia. I'd like to go and visit with Grant, if it's okay with you.
Ms. Bows: Sure. Thank you for caring so much, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: And he is one beautiful kid. I'll see you soon, Sylvia. Just let me know when I can come over.
Ms. Bows: If you don't mind, I'd like to set up our regular meetings on Tuesdays again. Is it all right to meet in my house for a little while longer? It would be very difficult for me to go to your office right now.
Dr. Balis: I'll see you at your house next Tuesday at four.
Ms. Bows: Thank you, Doctor. Goodbye.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye, Sylvia. I bet you're soon going to be a whole lot less shy about breast feeding, too. I've seen women go from absolute secusion to wearing shirts with buttons down the front so that they can whip them out at the first sign of a demand. Oh Tom!
Mr. Bows: Doctor Balis, how are you?
Dr. Balis: Oh, it's good to see you, Tom. Congratulations. You have beautiful little boys.
Mr. Bows: Yes I do. I see you've met Roald.
Dr. Balis: I have. And I was about to go visit Grant.
Mr. Bows: I'll go with you Doctor. I'll see you in a bit, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Bye, Tom.
Dr. Balis: So how are you doing?
Mr. Bows: I'm fighting the powers that be here.
Dr. Balis: I heard.
Mr. Bows: I can't believe how rigid the hospital is. Nothing is set up for our situation, with one twin in and one twin out. But they can't break their stupid rules even when it makes no sense for their patients. Here, they're making Sylvia choose between her children. Obviously both need her constantly, and yet one is in Intensive Care and the other is out of the hospital. So what is she supposed to do?
Dr. Balis: So you weren't successful at working out an arrangement with the hospital? They are making Sylvia go home Thursday?
Mr. Bows: They might be able to let her stay until Friday. What a concession!
Dr. Balis: How are you doing otherwise?
Mr. Bows: I'm not sure. I don't think I have had a moment to think yet. Or maybe I just don't want to. Sylvia will come home with the boys.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad. I think it was a good decision--a good decision for you.
Mr. Bows: I know. But I still don't know if I can...even when I brush upon that thought, I shudder with disgust. All those men! How can I be with her after that? When I touch her, I'll always think of all those others she let inside. She said that she never stopped loving me. Can a woman love one man and fuck another? I'm sorry, Doctor. You're not my therapist. I guess I'm more tired than I thought to dump on you like this.
Dr. Balis: I'd like to help you and Sylvia work it out.
Mr. Bows: The neonatal ICU, Doctor. Are you sure you're feeling fine? No rashes or congestion?
Dr. Balis: I'm perfectly healthy.
Mr. Bows: Good. I had to ask.
Dr. Balis: No problem. I understand completely.
Mr. Bows: He's in the third incubator on the right. Look at how little he is. I wish I could take over the fight for him--to grow and gather strength. But I'm helpless, really. I know I'm lucky. If you look around here, there are babies that were barely 25 weeks when they were born. The pain that these kids will go through just to be able to live. There are 32 babies here in the neonatal ICU right now.
Dr. Balis: That's a lot even for a large hospital like this.
Mr. Bows: Some of them won't make it. A baby died here yesterday. All last week, I saw the father pacing the hallways of the hospital, worrying about his kid. And then I saw him after he knew. He could have been me. He still could be me. I can't wait to be able to bring Grant home. These are going to be the longest two weeks of my life.
Dr. Balis: I'm amazed how different Grant is from his brother. Sylvia said that he had more hair. But even the expressions on his face...
Mr. Bows: I think he is a very brave little boy. He lets them stick all these tubes in his body and he hardly complains. I try to be here when they come to torture him. I put my finger in there and he grabs on to it as tight as he can. I can't believe how strong he is. Now, if you don't mind, Doctor, I'd like to sit here with him for awhile.
Dr. Balis: Thank you for letting me see your boys, Tom. I arranged with Sylvia to visit at your house next Tuesday.
Mr. Bows: I'm glad you're continuing to work with Sylvia.
Dr. Balis: Thank you, Tom. I appreciate that.
Mr. Bows: Well, I think she needs it.
Dr. Balis: Oh. Have good day, Tom. Good luck.
Mr. Bows: Thanks. Goodbye.
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Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Conversation

Button to Sylvia Bows' Transcripts Transcripts of Sylvia Bows' Therapy Sessions
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