Three years ago today, I delivered healthy fraternal twin boys. Aiden (whom I was not successful in renaming Adam) was 7 pounds 2 ounces and Ben (who shall forever be #noben for reasons you already know or will soon discover) was 6 pounds 15 ounces. But if you’ve ever had twins you know that the actual birth is not where the story begins.
As I’ve mentioned before, our daughter was something of a miracle in that she was conceived when I was nearly 39 years old after being diagnosed with fibroids that would make having a baby ‘impossible’. After much drama and doom-saying from medical professionals, she was born healthy and happy and 10 days late, so when she was 18 months old we felt safe in trying for a little sister.
After two months of trying, I got an app, and realized that at 41 years old I had misunderstood the timing of ovulation my whole life, and the next month it was confirmed that another baby was coming. I received what I sincerely thought was a message straight from God that my baby was a little girl, and I was going to name her Hannah Joy.
So imagine my shock at my first ultrasound to be told it was TWINS.
To properly frame the context, not only did I NOT ‘always want twins’, neither had I been taking fertility treatments, twins do not run anywhere in either my or Dreamy’s family, and until that day I had not realized that having children at my age increased the likelihood of twins. I was not devastated at first. That came after the shock wore off. The doctor slipped out of the room to give us a moment, while I laughed hysterically. Then once I got home, and saw little Bisky running around being the center of the universe, I felt like I’d ruined her life, and ours. The sheer magnitude of what was coming was not even fathomable, but I knew we’d need more car seats, a bigger kitchen table (and more chairs), a new car…not to mention the family of four I’d envisioned was gone.
I cried a lot. Thank God Dreamy didn’t share any doubts he might have felt. He seems to actually love babies and kids and was cautiously optimistic. One friend who’d had a surprise third baby understood that weird mix of fear, dread, and guilt that comes when you have an extra blessing. Not to mention the superstitious fear that a) you were going to kill one of the babies by not being happy it was there or b) You were getting an extra baby because something terrible was going to happen to one of them.
And then there’s the twin books! I have a condition that requires I live in the moment, day by day, so reading books that talked about how hard the next year, and years after that, would be, was not feasible. And since we’d moved away from our families of origin and our families of the heart to start our business, I felt very alone. At least I had the solace of working for a ‘family-friendly’ company that I trusted, so we didn’t have to worry financially about the extra babies as we started our business (which is a story for another day, but suffice it to say it’s a blessing not to know the future).
I don’t know the point where I moved out of acceptance and towards anticipation. Possibly it was when I stopped feeling Baby A move for a whole day before my ultrasound and realized how much I wanted BOTH babies to be healthy. Or maybe when I went through the amazing experience of having my body do something that hardly anyone does, without needing bedrest or any other interventions. Between you and me it was probably before that, at my first specialist appointment when they told me to ‘front load’ my caloric intake and basically go home and eat cheeseburgers and milkshakes.
And then they came. Two newborns and a two-year-old is no walk in the park – especially recovering from a C-section! I wish I had memories of the first three months of their lives, but I just don’t. It’s a blur. I have pictures, so I know it happened, but that’s about it.
Being pregnant with twins allows you to appreciate the miracle of birth like nothing else. One is already a miracle, but these two little beings being formed and growing is indescribable. And then when they’re born it’s increased even more! We were half expecting identical twins because they weighed and measured the exact same every appointment but besides looking different (as different as newborns can, at least) they have different blood types so we didn’t have to wonder.
With my first baby, I checked the ‘what to expect’ manuals DAILY. I’d do little drills with her to make sure we were hitting the milestones correctly. When you have two at once, you can’t help but be aware of and appreciate the variety and diversity of each individual. One day Aiden discovered his hand and it was amazing. A week later Ben did, and it was amazing. Ben started walking at about 11 months (I think) with great fanfare and demands for cheering (like his sister). I’m not sure when Aiden started, because I think he practiced in private, as he just started walking nonchalantly past us all one day.
We sleep train (because we’re cruel monsters who relish hearing our children cry and depriving them of the safety and security of our love) and so from day one the boys slept together and when one woke to feed we’d wake the other and then put them down. They were sleeping through the night by 3 months, which helped.
I’ve got a ton of twin stories that if I ever have time I’ll actually do something with for my book/site “Twin Life Hacks”.
But today is their third birthday!
And let me tell you – for someone who never wanted twins (or boys, ahem), I am SO GRATEFUL for my little guys! They make me laugh so much, and they’re so affectionate. Having two completely different little people who are best friends is incredible. They already know how to share, and take turns, and fight and all the things most kids don’t figure out until preschool or kindergarten.
They’re so different, that I don’t have to try particularly hard to treat them as individuals because they just are. Aiden loves letters and numbers (he’ll be reading soon), and goldfish and cookies. He’s very reserved at first, but once he knows you he’s quite the little jokester. #NoBen is a consummate daredevil with a tender streak that will melt hearts his whole life.
I thought our family didn’t have enough room for 5 but now I know that this is the way it was always supposed to be. I don’t know why, as I certainly didn’t consider myself qualified or up to the challenge. I am by nature selfish and self-centered and used to love my creature comforts. My biggest fear was not getting my body back. Twins (with an older sibling) has given me all new priorities. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything, because I get back so much more than I give.
So happy birthday, guys. Like I always say…I love, love, love, being your Moooooommmmmmmmmmm!