I was a naval corpsman and stationed in Keflavik, Iceland, before I was discharged from the Navy and earned my bachelor’s degree in nursing. The naval station there had a small hospital of two wards, an operating room, and an emergency room. The one ward was divided into private rooms and held obstetric patients and pediatrics and an occasional officer. The other area was an open ward for the enlisted men.
A pregnant woman was admitted again after she had several admissions for her pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a condition in pregnant women when they had changes in their body that would cause their blood pressure to dangerously rise. It required bed rest to lower the woman’s blood pressure. Each time she came in, we would tease, “You’re going to have twins.” because her abdomen was so large.
She would respond, “No. No. My doctor says there is only one.” At that time, we didn’t have sonograms, etc. It was only by listening with a fetascope to hear the infant’s heartbeat that we could monitor child during the pregnancy.
I was working the daylight shift, after she delivered the day before. She had indeed delivered a set of twins. She had two daughters and I was planning on teasing her about having twins, but when I went into her room, I was stopped in my tracks. She was crying.
I asked. “What’s wrong? Are you having pain?”
She gave a few more sobs before managing to answer, “If I had a little girl, I planned to name her Alice. Now I don’t know what to do. If I name one of them Alice, I know I will love that one more.”
Offhandedly I said, “Well…. Why don’t you name both of them something close, but not Alice?” The names Alicia and Allison popped into my head. So I said, “Why not name them something like Alicia and Allison?”
She stopped crying and said the names softly to herself. That was what she named them. Neither name was Alice, but both were variations of her beloved name.
About a month later, she contacted me and I had the privilege of babysitting the girls while she and her husband had their first date night away from the twins.