Marina Japaridze - Art Salon "Ikebana"

© copyright 2005

Story "Velvet Roses"

Sudden telephone call woke me up. “I wonder who is calling so early; I hope there’s nothing wrong happening.”

“Who is calling” – I asked frightened.

“Mom! Mom! It hurts, she is going to give a birth...- I can hardly hear you!”

“What? It’s too early to give birth! There might be some other reason. Let me speak to her!”

“I’m scared, fluid is leaking from me”, I heard her crying and terrified voice.

Oh, my God! They aren’t even seven months of gestation yet! My twin boys. - I thought to myself.

“Don’t be afraid”, I encouraged her; “get ready as soon as possible”. I cried these words angrily into the phone and jumped up quickly.

“She’s about to give birth” - Mr. David said calmly. Then he frowned and went deep in his thoughts. He straightened up a little and leaned against the table. “Small fetuses”, he murmured to himself. Suddenly he turned to the pregnant girl, patted her and smiled. “Don’t worry”, he said and slowly approached the armchair.

On December 9 she was taken to the special care section.

Mr. David trying not to make visible his nervous and tensed appearance said: “you should follow every my word”.

“They are too small and we have to make every possible effort to help them recover! NO mistakes!”

“Please, once more, make an attempt.”

“Now breathe freely… just relax!”

The first twin was born in asphyxia, without crying at birth, pale and with no signs of life.

He was given all resuscitation manipulations and after a while began to moan.

There was an absolute silence in the Block.

“The second one is coming”, I heard.

“He’s coming with his legs! You should try to let him out with one effort not to traumatize the baby. So, let’s start. Don’t stop.”

After 20 minutes the second twin appeared to the world. He cried out loudly and than began moaning. Though he cried, compared with the first twin-he was considered to be more cyanotic. His health was in more vulnerable condition. Both were rendered immediate assistance and switched to the dropper.

Even the nonprofessionals seeing them would have guessed that babies’ conditions were critical, experienced professionals who have seen similar cases, looked at me with no hope and said:

“They are still very young! They’ll still have babies”.

Very soon we carried the children to the newborns department. They began to breathe heavily, that is normal for immature infants. I was very confused and anxious; I couldn’t even say a word. I felt enormous responsibility towards my children and grandchildren. I was worried about their life and was doing my best not to make any mistake in their treatment. A lot of fluid along with antibiotics was transfused. They were supplied with oxygen. The temperature in the room was almost 33 degrees; the heater above them was producing an extra heat. I was performing an additional manipulations with my own hands, with the experience and intuition of a doctor. On the other hand, I prayed to God to save my little angels.

It’s ridiculous but true that when a person is in trouble, full of sorrow and worry, only than he remembers the almighty God, without whom it’s impossible to do anything. If there is no faith and grace of God, your efforts, hard work and attempts can just vanish without any consequence and one is under danger of loosing the most precious and valuable thing in the world.

Young parents…sons were born… my son brought to his wife black velvet roses as a token of great love and respect. These roses were handed to me.

“Mother, how are they? They are real men, aren’t they?”- asked my son proudly and happily. My heart started to bleed so much that I couldn’t answer, and didn’t even try to explain the hopeless condition of his sons. I strengthened, swallowed my tears, lifted up my head and looked at my sons shining face and uttered with difficulty:

“What should I say? They are doing well. Their weight is too small- 1600 grams, they have some troubles but everything will be fine. God won’t leave us…now I have to go and see them…”

I put the Roses in the vase, placed it in my office and walked away.

Breathe -120 per minute, pulse-160. They’re trembling with their whole body.

Rapid breathing and heart beating are expressed with strong insufficiency. Without oxygen it’s impossible to survive. Hopeless faces around…I heard someone whispering: “Dr. Marina has spent so many nights saving lives of other newborns. But her own ones are too weak to survive.

“Dr. Marina provided blood transfusion to my relative. With her help her third baby was finally cured. The baby was named Marina in honor of Doctor Marina. For being so kind and strong God won’t let her grandsons die.”

“I remember one of the twins. She hadn’t left her for 20 days, had forgotten everyone and everything until the day she gave harmless baby to her mother.” Someone was recalling.

“I remember how terribly she felt about Bregvadze’s child as she couldn’t manage to save her. Mother of the baby was trying to appease her saying: “you’ve done everything, it’s not your fault, you are true before God, and probably it was my destiny. You’re faultless! …

Do you remember the child of Tsereteli or Tato! George! Merriam! Ninny! Dea! Tekla! And so on and so forth.

I was sitting under the heater with my babes, with a gloomy face; my right hand was on the first twin and the left on the second one. I could feel their breathing and heart beating with my hands. My experience of working allowed me to feel the frequency of heart beating and breathing without stethoscope. Both of them needed reanimation.

“What else can I do?” I was thinking to myself. “How am I supposed to help my little boys? The only thing that can be added to treatment is “Surfactant” but this drug has never been used in our clinic and is there time for experiments now? No, I can’t risk!

The 10-th of December. The situation worsened. Breathing insufficiency isn’t decreasing; attacks of cyanosis developed to the second twin. Everyone is in despair. I’m looking down trying to avoid the expressions and glances of people. I’m spending most of the time with babies, periodically I have to go to my office to get some drugs. Youngsters are waiting there. They have probably guessed that something is wrong, but they can’t even imagine that everything can have an awful ending, the most painful that a woman has to bear. Isn’t it terrible to give a birth and lose the children immediately? To feel, that you have been waiting for babies for 7 months in vain. To think of the time when you were proud, knowing that you would bear two kids, two boys. How happy you were when looking in the mirror, telling people to gaze at you as you were expecting two babies alternating to kick you with a leg and make it visible from outside. How you were expecting to them and wished they were born soon. And all of a sudden you may lose them. Nobody would congratulate you the birth. Your breast would be full of milk but in vain. You would have to listen to cries of other newborns until you are released from the maternity home. What a pleasant odor the infants have! How beautiful and clean they are. God almighty! May every Georgian mother feel the same.

An 83-year-old, kind and wonderful old woman was living in my neighborhoods. She had a big posterity: sons, grandsons and great grandsons. By the way, she was the daughter of noble man Mikeladze!

Every first September we would gather in her tiny little room and celebrate her birthday. She was a brilliant cook. Her house used to fill up with flowers. Everyone was disappointed and heartbroken of her death. I was sitting among her relatives and recalling her. You know what her daughter told me? “The old lady called me before dying and said to take a little box out of my wardrobe drawer and put it in her coffin. After saying this she perished. Do you know what was there in the box? My dead brothers cloths who died as newborn. Yes it is true. For 83 years she has been patting his cloths, 83 years. She never had desire to talk a little about him. It’s awfully painful when your son dies, doesn’t matter at what age. It’s impossible to forget”…83 years…

How are they? Are they Okay? Is anything needed?

-We are doing everything possible- I answered with irritation, and my eyes were fixed on the velvet roses standing so proudly in the vase.

“They are so reserved. It’s so good that they don’t ask any questions!-I thought to myself. They are like Georgian dancers, so proud, slender, with black eyes as if they need everybody’s attention saying “Look, how beautiful we are. What fragrance we have. Remember we are the king of flowers. Do not forget you all are our servants. Be very polite in our company. We are made by God to adorn your souls. We are parts of your soul. We are here to calm your souls down. Yes, we should decorate this temple, shouldn’t we? This is the palace where the purest and most innocent are born. Therefore, we like coming here most of all. We do not fell well in the company of bad people, no matter how well we are looked after. Sometimes they look after us extremely well, wash our feet, clean us from thorns, then put some ointment and make our water sweetened with sugar. However, if the environment is not clean, we do not bloom anyway. And here nobody looks after us. We still see that there is much hard work and kindness involved and therefore, we fell pretty good. We find out about our sorrows and ideas. That’s why we stand proudly in front of you to change your mind, to let you see the world in nice colors and save your newborns who are gentle and tender like our flowers.

I was looking at the flowers and felt as if we were talking to each other.

-Doctor Marina! Hurry up, the babies are in trouble! - called the nurse.

One of the babies had bradicardy (slowing of the rhythm), attack of apnea (termination of breathing). I supplied them with the oxygen, hormone, made reanimation procedures. I felt I was burning inside, I was sweating. The nurse was cleaning my forehead. I felt I had tachycardia. After 10 minutes babies’ heart beat became rhythmic, but heavy breathing still remained. I fell in the chair, rested my hands on the babies chests, I kissed them whispering: “What else shell I do for you my angels to make you feel better, I wish I could give you my soul just to see you healthy, I would not hesitate to sacrifice my life for you.”

I kept kissing calmly, that nobody could hear me whispering and crying.

The day passed.

“-Doctor Marina, take a rest for a while, we will stay with the babies.”

I stood up, I could hardly control my body, as if I were beaten, every single muscle and joint hurting, I walked to my office. It was striking 12 o’clock already, nobody were there except the velvet roses looking still proudly. I came closer to smell them: -“How beautiful you are, I have nobody around but you, my heart is full of sorrow, hopeless faces of surrenders deepen my heart wounds”.

48 hours passed already and still there is no sense of hope, sign of life. It is even vice versa. Tell me something. I wish I could be as proud as you are and everybody congratulated my grandsons’ birth.

I closed my eyes, I just wanted to rest my body, but I could not sleep. How on earth I could sleep. Only three walls separated my babies and me, but every time I closed my eyes their appearance came up to my eyes.

-“Stand up! Babies need you!” suddenly I heard the voice, and again- repeated voice – hurry up, and again.

I rushed quickly in to the babies’ room; the second twin was almost dying, with the marble colored skin. The doctors and the nurses were running back and forth in horror made emergency manipulations.

It happened a minute ago, I was just going to call you said Doctor Nunuka, we continued the manipulations: indirect massage, intubations, adrenalin… and again the heart beat has improved slowly.

-“Who called me?!” –I thought to myself.

I stayed with the babies that night. It dawned on us.

They changed the oxygen balloons quickly as babies needed them in abundance. The whole maternity house was in alert. They helped me a lot. I looked out at the sigh of noise, it was one of the personnel fixing the oxygen balloon. He was frightened. He and our staff were exchanging glances about our hopeless condition.

The situation was still critical. Suddenly I walked away to look at my flowers, for I felt they were my last hope, I wish they were still alive, without bending their heads down, still proud and willowy.

I threw the sudden glimpse to the room and felt easy as I saw the roses the same way as they were last night, they looked at me laughing, and I calmed down and returned back to my twins.

I could not eat anything except liquid. The existing temperature was drying me out, my face flashed like a beat, and I was losing a lot of fluid. That’s why I had to drink 5 liters a night.

-“Who was calling me that night?!” –I was wondering, kissing my babies.

Suddenly an idea came to my head, I have to baptize them. In case they could not survive, they will live this world as Christians. As soon as my son came I asked him to bring a priest George from Kashueti Church. So, we baptized them in the afternoon that day. During the ceremony the babies again developed an apnea attacks and we still fought to save their lives.

The Godfathers were very scared watching them. Father George was praying with all his heart and finally he finished the ritual. It was December 11.

I felt very tired, I realized that It was beyond myself, I could not do anything more than I had already done. I wanted to scream, cry to feel free, I could not stop in one place, I was anxious walking back and forth.

December 12. At 4 o’clock in the morning the baby had another attack. I felt that I was loosing him and again all these manipulations. . . Tear drop fell down from my eye; I could not stop anymore and cried out loudly. – “God help me.” This time emergency manipulations lasted more than ever. I was handling this little body praying to survive and suddenly I felt the beat, than another, and other…

I sat in a table and began kissing that tiny body. I lost my consciousness for a while. –“He is alive, don’t worry. . .’ alive . . . alive. . .” – I kept hearing the voices.

At 8 o’clock the same day, I came to my office smelled the roses and fell asleep. I slept only for an hour, but it seemed a century, since I didn’t see the twins. I got up.

The roses blossomed and become more beautiful as if they were preparing to dance.

Their, thick, velvet petals moved, as if trying to speak to me: -“Wait, I am going to open every leave I have and embrace your little boys, now try to count my leaves, can’t you? Not everybody dare to touch us, we must feel the warmth and love, and one must like us not only for our beauty, but also intrinsically”. We must bring you joy. Sometimes we are presented to someone just for saying:-“What a gentleman”. Sometimes they treat us a horrible way. They cut us, tie us together with chain, make us scratch each other with our own thrones and cry. Do not give us a break. Throw us into the car. So, we are bind to each other asking: “Where we are going? What will happen to us?” and finally we appear on dead mans coffin. We aren’t even given water. Then we are put in one packet and sent to the cemetery.

Do you know what makes us happier? When we are presented as a sigh of a great joy and happiness as it is a beginning of a new life. It is great to appear in the maternity house, because the environment here is so fresh and full of life. Everyone fells happy no matter the gender, name and race are. It is also great to appear on the jubilees as well, but this place in purer and cleaner. As soon as you leave this place, you become spoiled and sinful. That’s why we are so full of life here.

I embraced my roses and went away to my babies.

… Breathing rhythm is 100, pulse 150 a minute; I am watching their little bodies as if I can see them through. Nobody dares ask me anything. They are so weak, little chest is moving according the heart beat, so you will understand they are alive. They are so thin you can even count their ribs. I can see their bodies move. I can even see them through.

I was watching them thinking how hard it is to know how many complications may appear after this. There are so many examples that the doctors gave their lives for the babies, but unfortunately the results were so cruel, that sometimes you think that would be better to loose the baby earlier. What will happen than, how could I tell my children the truth?! O, God help me! I remembered all my sick patients: George, Mary, Dea, Nina, David, Tato etc… their parents always calling me informing about the babies successes. Almost all of them are talented, but George, who is 4 years already and can’t walk independently, he can not speak as well, O, God, it is a big tragedy to the family.

December 13. Breathing rhythm-82, heart beat-140. George the older one opened the eyes, as if he observed the outer world and closed them quickly. Than the second one did the same. My tired and tormented babies, they didn’t even ask for milk, I wish I could tell their mother to feed them. They do not even have energy to suck and swallow.

December 14. Breathing-60, pulse-140. Both of them opened their eyes. How beautiful eyes they have, nice brows, large eyelashes, blue sclera. I couldn’t believe my eyes, they responded to the reflexes. They mowed extremities, they looked as if nothing had happened . . . wondering. . .

My dear boys! Hello my Christian boys, did the Lord give you life?

Who told they can not see? Their watching at me, moving little lips, they are talking to me. My little angels. Do you want anything? Yes they nodded.

It was the first day since December 2, when I went to mother asking for milk.

“Congratulations?” –different voices keep asking me all the time. But I couldn’t answer with a loud voice “yes,” because I was afraid of complications, the babies were in hypoxia for a long period of time. The outcome could be negative. I’ve seen so many babies with cerebral paralysis, who are not able to move, eat, speak. . . God make them healthy and save them from being disabled.

From this day, I had an opportunity to see my roses more often, they blossomed all its leaves and than began to fall down. I saved every fallen leave,” We were happy here, but we did everything we could. We were witnesses of sorrow, love, happiness, troubles, crying”. It’s more than a week we are trying to be strong as long as babies need it. It hurt us as well, but we were trying not to express our feelings. God has examined you in a trouble. It was like a scale. One side there laid your babies and on the other- your past. But you won, because you are strong, nobody believed it might have finished so, but now everybody admires you.

December 17. Everything is all right, as if nothing has happened. I saved every petal, every green leaf and thorn, every piece of the roses. They deserved tenderness and love for their beauty, scent and an importance they gave me. They keep the main mystery of my soul. They are witnesses of what had happened in these rooms a couple of days before. They make my room beautiful and wonderful.

The babies were saved. They are ten days’ old already. It’s obvious they survived from death. I’m still concerned about their health, their future. They spent a long time in a maternity house. I control their every motion, growth, development. They gained weight. The neuro-pathologist is hopeful despite the fact that they both have changes in their cerebrum. But will everything be alright? God, help me!

“What can I say, my dear? With kids of this weight there are always 80% reported cases of changes in cerebrum. This is because of severe pre-maturity. They weren’t even seven months old. This was the best way out. It is unbelievable!”

“You are right. The weight of the newborn in respect with its age should not exceed 1,200 grams. But the genetic factor prevails in kids. Their father’s weight at birth was 4,200 grams whereas the weighed mother 5,000 grams.”

“I am still hopeful. Not However with 100%. I had newborns with cerebral complications. It’s a great risk itself. It is difficult to speak about the future of pre-mature newborns. “

“I am afraid and I can’t disclose my fear to anyone, my dear Gia. Let God save me and my babies. I feel awful.

Now I know one thing, it is God who saved me and my babies.

I constantly use to speak with the dry rose petals in the room. I had my own ideas about the health of my little babies. What can I do? Tell me something. They will be OK. Won’t they? They are so nice. Everyone cares about them. They are so alike, lying back to back with each other. I could differentiate them. I am so thankful to everyone. Especially you. I have not seen such meaningful roses able to talk. Thank you very much!

Indeed, the power of God saves my babies and me. I want to constantly look at you. You can’t even imagine how you calm me down, although your petals have withered. But they retained their beauty and odor.

Time passed. Babies are OK. First teeth came out on time. First words, first steps. One year passed. To my surprise their development is satisfying. They are healthy.

One day I entered my room and of course, saluted my rose petals, I patted them. Tomorrow my kids will be 1 year old. I recalled all the tragedy of those days. I kissed the cross, and thanked everybody.

Now I decided to make something with my dry petals. But how? It is simple; I will glue them on something and hang on the wall. We should look at each other all the time. Thus I found paper glue, necessary material and glued each petal on it. One, two, three, forty-six, seventy… I put green leaves around to cover the whiteness of the material. Than I put thrones below.

Finally, when I looked at it attentively from the distance, I was surprised, it appeared a big velvet heart with the green leaves around it.

It was my first work. 6 years passed since I have created this picture. The roses look still very beautiful, haven’t lost their exquisiteness.


George and Badri Svanidze - born on December 9, 1997.

Besides the facts that they were born in very hard circumstances, they are very handsome and smart according to their age. They are fond of football and music. They know many rhymes and like reading fairy tales. Especially they like hearing my own stories, created chiefly for them. They are gifted with an absolute hearing and vocal capabilities as well. I believe that God gave them this gift, which needs to be developed. It is rather difficult to bring up a child especially twins. They need similar things.

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