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9/11 delivery brings joy on 'tragic' day

“For a couple years the boys kept asking, ‘Why do people always cry on our birthday? Why are so many people so sad on our birthday?’"
Last modified: 11 Sep 2011 09:56
Maria Elena Romero/Al Jazeera

For Mischelle and Al Teixeira, 9/11 has a different meaning than it does for most other people.

September 11, 2001, will forever be remembered in their personal family photo album as the date they became first-time parents; the day Mrs Teixeira gave birth to twins, Colby and Bryce, oddly enough, very near the exact hour the twin towers fell.

When Mr and Mrs Teixeira arrived at the hospital on that date for her planned Cesarean section, the planes had just flown into the towers.

The Teixeira family live in a Charlotte, N.C. suburb [Photo: Maria Elena Romero/Al Jazeera]

The couple remained calm, assuming it was a bad accident, and Mrs Teixeira tried to keep her focus on the pregnancy. But then the news that it was a likely "terrorist" attack spread and hospital staff began to huddle around a TV.

“All the doctors and nurses, and even Al for a while, were standing by the television,” Mrs. Teixeira recalled. “And I was just lying there alone….and then a nurse walked in and  she looked over at them and she said, ‘Hey, there is a woman giving birth, turn the TV off,’ and she went and turned it off.”

After some nerve-racking delays, by mid-morning Mrs Teixeira was finally given anesthesia to prepare for the operation. At the time, she knew an attack was ongoing, but the towers were still standing and the details on exactly what was going on were still sketchy.

Nevertheless, she tried to keep her focus on her soon-to-be born twins.

“I said to myself to focus on the boys and what is happening now,” Mrs Teixeira told me. “I tried not to let my mind get too carried away with what was happening in New York and elsewhere.”

As doctors were beginning the birth procedure, and Mrs Teixeira was heavily sedated, the towers fell. Exactly 89 minutes after the second tower collapsed, the operation was complete and Colby and Bryce were born.

September 11, 2001, just a few minutes after the birth of the twins [Teixeira family photo]

Immediately after the boys were born, neither Mr or Mrs Teixeira spoke about the attacks, but some relatives who waited in a holding area at the hospital had been watching TV.

“I think at least for our family members who were there waiting for us at the hospital, they had more information than we did,” Mr Teixeira said. “We could read from their demeanor that there was something much more serious going on than what we knew about. But being a proud dad, I wanted to spend time with the boys and not watching TV.”

Mrs Teixeira spent seven days in the hospital recovering from minor complications, where she said it was non-stop news coverage of 9/11 and nurses and doctors who could not stop talking about it.

The parents only had to wait five years for the boys to figure out the significance of their birthday.

“Colby was five years old and he came home one day and said, ‘Mom, you didn’t tell me there was a tragedy on my birthday,’” Mrs Teixeira said. “I said, ‘There is a tragedy everyday.’ And he said, ‘but that was a really big tragedy and a lot of people died’.”

Added Mr Teixeira: “For a couple years the boys kept asking, ‘Why do people always cry on our birthday? Why are so many people so sad on our birthday?’ We explain it to them, but I also tell them that was the day we were blessed – twice.”

Bryce (left) and Colby (right) enjoy watching TV programs about 9/11 [Photo: Maria Elena Romero/Al Jazeera]

Both boys are now typical 10 year olds, well behaved, but with seemingly endless energy for skateboarding and football. They know full well what happened on the day they were born.

Both boys know exactly how many people died, and speak openly about how passengers aboard one plane forced it to crash in a field in order to save more lives and why people felt compelled to jump from the towers.

“One plane was going to crash into the White House but it never succeeded,” Bryce said.

He then said he wanted to say something to the kids who might have lost a parent on 9/11.

“We will always keep you in our prayers,” he said.

 Follow Gabriel Elizondo on Twitter @elizondogabriel