My twin granddaughters turned 5 Oct. 25. Their mother and I had taken the other kids to the trick or treat at Ushers Ferry, where Holly, 9 months pregnant, walked the yard for nearly two hours. I think she was tired of being pregnant and want to get the delivery process going. It must have worked, because she went into labor that night, and had the twins the next day by C-section, only 3 weeks earlier than her anticipated due date.
The twins were conceived in a peculiar way, and I love telling the story, because no one I’ve talked to has ever heard of it before:
After suffering 4 miscarriages following her last baby, Holly was given an injection of steroids that doctors hoped would help prevent another miscarriage. The first ultrasound just a few weeks later determined she was carrying two babies. One of them was smaller, which led the doctor to believe the smaller one was conceived three days after the other.
Holly at 32 weeks into her pregnancy
After a fairly normal pregnancy, Holly gave birth to Gianna, who was born first and weighed nearly 6 pounds; Natalie weighed almost a whole pound less. But it didn’t take long for her to catch up to Gianna. By their first year, they were close to being the same size. (They are fraternal, but I still have a hard time telling them apart.)
From the beginning, their personalities were totally different; Gianna was standoffish and moody, while Natalie was quiet and cuddly. (Not a lot has changed, though Natalie has become quite an instigator-partners in crime, if you will.)
The twins spent much of the first 6 months of their lives at home. Holly and Jason were busy adjusting to being the parents of twins, and it being close to winter, it was just a great time to stay home. Period.
I visited them often, offering to help any way I could, but I could tell the constant diaper changing, feeding, and coping were getting to Holly. She had taken time off work to get the twins on a schedule, but being with them 24/7 wasn’t healthy for her, either. Isabelle was 5 and was old enough to help Holly with the little things, but she couldn’t help with the feeding or changing yet.
“I don’t think I will ever get a good night’s sleep again,” Holly mused wearily, as she laid the twins down for a nap.
“You need to rest when you can, but honestly, no, you won’t ever get another good night’s sleep until after they move out. And even then, that’s questionable.”
I smiled to let her know I was being fictitious, but I wasn’t far from the truth. Once you have kids, they are yours for life.
“You’ll get through this, I told her. “Five years from now you’ll look back and wish they were babies again.”
She nodded, and heaving a big sigh, laid down on the sofa for a short nap.
They made it through the first year without too many problems, but when they started to walk, it was a whole new story.
“I always thought it would be a lot of fun having twins,” Holly told me one day while I was visiting. She was attempting a simple thing like putting on pajamas, but as we have found out, not so simple when you’re fighting two at once.
Natalie wiggled to get away, and Holly reached out and grabbed Gianna before she could get away.
Without skipping a beat, she added, “I love them so much, I can’t imagine life without them. But I also didn’t think it would be this hard.”
I remembered back to Isabelle, who was a very cranky baby, and cried so much that I cringed every time Holly asked me to watch her. (She has since passed that stage.)
“Maybe God gave you Isabelle to prepare you for the twins,” I told her with a smile. “And gave you twins to make up for the miscarriages.”
Holly laughed. “Yep, I guess you gotta be careful what you pray for,” she said, letting go of Natalie, while wrestling with Gianna to put on her sleeper.
But we both knew it was exactly what she had prayed for, and what we are very grateful for. Two beautiful little girls who have added so much love and joy to our lives.
Double the crying, double the problems, but double the love.