Five years ago, when I first became a mother, I found myself in awe.
Without trying to sound too cheesy, it truly was a miracle. I had waddled around for the better part of nine months, carrying a baby,who would squirm about, kicking my ribs at the most inconvenient times, or send me running to the bathroom repeatedly throughout the night. It was a miracle alright, but that isn’t what this story is about.
Everyone has heard a new parent anecdote at some point or another. We all know someone, who knows someone who has just entered their new role as a mother/maid/servant/on-call nurse.We also know people who have become new parents to twins. My story lends its hand to a different experience, that of the Irish twins.
The term ‘Irish twins’ describes two siblings which are born 12 or less months apart. Ok, so my pair have just missed the cut off by a month, but that title just wasn’t as interesting.
Becoming a new mum was hard, there were a lot of inconsistencies between what I had imagined and the reality of the situation. I spent my entire pregnancy watching video blogs about having a baby. I longed to be the mum who cooked homemade baby food, packed with nutrients or caressed my sweet angel to sleep in a luxurious feeding chair.
Instead, I bulk bought Heinz jars in every flavor and ruined my mattress by bouncing on the edge for hours on end just to send ‘said angel’ off to sleep. Months passed, the baby began to grow and at four months old, his slightly delusional mother was beginning to bounce back and get a handle on this whole baby sleeps, she-sips-coffee-in-the-shower thing.
At the time my husband and I were also running a café. Ok, he was running the café and I came downstairs for a free coffee every few hours. I entered the kitchen, excited for another meal I didn’t have to prepare myself and slipped straight off the stairs, fracturing my ankle. Sh*t! What have I done? I screamed in agony, until the ambulance came offering me a hit of morphine till I was right as rain.
Unfortunately, my leg ended up in of those extremely uncomfortable and unattractive heavy-duty boots and I woke up the next morning feeling like all the pain in the world had managed to rush down to my ankle.
Meanwhile, the baby you ask? Yeah, he was being passed around like a football between my husband, my mother-in-law and pretty much anyone who could stand and hold a baby at the same time. Sadly (and I say this with very slight sarcasm), I was not one of those people.
Between the café and demands of parenthood, my husband and I agreed that baby and I would be shipped off to live with my mother while I recovered. It was great. She pretty much did everything,including the dreaded midnight feeds, whilst I sat on a recliner chair and discovered The Iconic had a 3-hour delivery window.
Weeks passed, baby was now five months old and I was missing my husband. Time apart from the ones you love really does make the heart grow fonder, and the lady parts a little bit antsy.
So, he took me out on a date. I jazzed myself up in leggings to match my boot and off we went. Dinner, movie and a quickie later (Wait! Back up!) Yes, I used the term ‘quickie’, probably the only time this has ever happened. Needless to say, my ankle was broken but not my flexibility. So,with powered windows and a boot out of the sun-roof, we made the magic happen.
Now, according to Newtons Law of Cause and Effect, “With every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In this case, moments of passion unexpectedly turned into bubba number 2.
Try explaining how that occurred to surprised relatives and friends. What? A woman has needs,and momentarily lapses of judgement. Regardless, it happened, and I had to face the reality of a growing pregnancy, a recovering fracture and a toddler who still wanted mum for everything. Like everything in life, we adapt. Mums are built this way.
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So, I adapted. I was back home, bruised up but capable, chasing the tot around and returning to normal life. This second pregnancy went surprisingly quick. It was very different to the first. For example, I remembered tracking every fruit that bubba number one resembled throughout the 39 weeks he was inside me, but I just forgot about that with this one.
Baby number 1,had a nursery decorated in Bubba Blue wall decals, with stuffed animals and bed décor to match. Baby number 2,would simply live in a hand-me-down Target bassinet next to my bedside until he eventually grew too big.
That’s the thing about siblings, especially having two boys, it was just expected he would be handed down every clothing item/toy/bedding from his older brother. Economical,and really, who has the stretch and energy the second time around?
It was around 7 o’clock in the morning on the 18th August 2013. I was carrying bubba number 1 on my hip and whipping up scrambled eggs in the kitchen. I started feeling what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions, until I was struggling to talk through them.
Alarmed and slightly annoyed, because I had a whole day of sitting on the couch planned, I crept into my bedroom and slightly nudged my sleeping husband. “Babe, babe” I whispered “Hmm”, he groaned, “I’m not feeling great I think I’m having contractions and I’m going to call your mum to take me to the hospital.”
“Mmm” he groaned again. (Please note: He is not insensitive, he was running a café and waking up throughout the night for baby every day, but it’s much funnier to make him sound that way).
I called my mother-in-law and within minutes,my father-in-law arrived at my house and took me and bubba number one down to the hospital. What I failed to remember was that Egyptian people are quite exuberant and dramatic by nature. My father-in-law was no exception and began driving as if the baby was about to pop out any second.
“It doesn’t work that way!” I shouted as he continued to force his heavy foot down onto the accelerator.
We soon arrived at the hospital and I was strapped to plugs and machines that beep and my contractions were being monitored. The nurse informed me that in some cases when this happens a little early, the doctor will often try to stop labour and my planned C-section would go ahead at its scheduled date in three weeks.
“Please be the case!” I thought to myself, I was keen to see the crazy giveaways on the Ellen Show and I wanted to do more of the bonding thing with bubba number one. I received a visit from my OBGYN an hour later “Well you are definitely having contractions and considering you are exactly 37 weeks, we will prepare you for a C-section.”
His words reverberated through my ears and I began panicking. Scenario: Stressed out, agitated me on left shoulder, “Crap! I wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t pack a bag! I don’t have a name! I haven’t done my nails and my eyebrows look like shit!” Cool, calm, collected me on right shoulder “Babes you’ve got this. What’s one more! Plus, a week in hospital is like a mini vacay.”
So,I pondered and went with the latter. Husband called. Anesthetic administered. Baby born. Pretty stock, standard stuff followed over the next week. It wasn’t until I came back home, with bubba number two in tow, that I realised sh*t was about to get real.
Imagine this, a week into recovering from a C-section, I found myself in the comfort of my own home, yes, but in a life,I didn’t recognise. Truth be told,I hadn’t entered the nappy free household yet, I was still using Avent milk bottles and ABC for kids was constant background noise. However, I was now faced with one demanding toddler and a helpless newborn.
Look, I guess it wasn’t their fault. By nature, yes babies are cute and cuddly, and the giggles make life seem easier, but they’re also turds *for use of a better word*.
I remember those days and nights vividly, the incessant crying, the colic, the sh*t storm, literally, when gastro would strike the house, immunisations, feeding wars, controlled crying, co-sleeping, fighting with my husband over whose turn it was to take the baby, oh wait, there’s two. F*ck! Fine I’ll take one, you take the other.
No-one slept. No-one was sane. No-one was happy. Months rolled by, soon we were hitting all the milestones, one would walk, one would crawl, one would start talking, the other would start running. Months turned into years. Bubba number two caught up quickly. From walker to stalker, he eventually gave his older brother a run for his money. It became easier. Well to a point. I think I just accepted it.
Nappies left the house at the same time. We tandem toilet trained, created a great bath, story, bed routine and I soon realized I could kill two birds, or babies, with one stone.
It became easier. Don’t get me wrong, we have our challenges. They both have strong opinions and have the physical force to back up those opinions, so I am always playing the referee. What one has the other one wants which, sounds easier to just have two of everything, but I can’t justify paying for the same thing twice. We’ve just learned how to go through the motions and how to make it a little more bearable.
One day, they will be older and hopefully remain as close as they are now. They will always have each other, unless one does a shitty move on the other I suppose, but boys bounce back, they rumble and then they forgive and move on.
Irish twins are hard. The baby phase seemed it would never end. But it did. We’re onto the next phase now,with school starting and it’s scary and exciting all at the same time.
I learned about myself as a person and as a mother through these past five years and having Irish twins will make you step up to the plate a lot quicker than saying “the floor is lava” (a game which we love by the way). I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Erase it from my memory maybe, but wouldn’t trade it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m pretty sure they’re on the verge of drowning each other in the pool, that or they are attempting to float on top of one another. Either way, I’ve got to go.
Shout out to all Dads.
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