At ceremony for newborn twins, moms tears meld joy and grief

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I never felt happier. I never looked worse. After years of struggling with infertility, we were now going to celebrate the twins' first rite of passage: Nathan's bris and Shoshana's baby-naming.

I woke up that morning and immediately started to cry. I sobbed in the shower, spilled tears on my 5-pound babies as I nursed. I totally broke down when the rabbi and mohel tried to talk with me and my husband. When I tried to greet the 50 people waiting in the living room, I had to retreat back into the bedroom to cry some more.

My puffy face and body now had swollen eyes to match.

Though the twins were born a week before, the reality of finally becoming a mother had just set in. After painful fertility procedures, a miscarriage, a failed adoption and a high-risk pregnancy, I could finally let go of the tension that had built up over the preceding years.

Two years before, we had sat down to stuffed cabbage under our neighbor's sukkah. "So," he began, "when are you going to fulfill God's first commandment?"

Be fruitful and multiply. If only he had known how hard we had been trying!

Grandpa Harry was very supportive during our quest for parenthood. Not usually much of a talker, he called often from his apartment in Brooklyn, inquiring over the latest procedure, offering us bits of hope and sending boxes of Mallomars when I was depressed.

When we decided to adopt, Grandpa Harry was the most enthusiastic member of our extended family. He was willing to embrace any baby to become a great-grandpa. He was especially happy, as we were, that the baby had a Jewish birth mother. He cried with me over the phone when the birth mother decided to give the baby to a different family at the last minute.

I guess part of my crying on Shoshana and Nathan's special day was because Grandpa Harry didn't live long enough to witness the birth of his first great-grandchildren. He died five months earlier.

But mostly my tears were joyful ones. I was so relieved to have two healthy babies and was grateful to have a both a son and a daughter. It seemed miraculous.

Sixteen months later another miracle occurred. Once again a crowd hovered in the living room, this time for the bris of Joshua Harry, Grandpa's namesake.