When I tell people I’ve never held a freshly born baby, they always look at me like I’m bonkers. I have three children; how is that possible? But it’s true. I’ve never watched my child take their first breath. I’ve never been the first thing they see, hear or smell. Golden hour? Don’t know her.
I’ve written about all of their births before but today on World Prematurity Day, I’d like to share some of the impacts the twins premature birth had on them and on me.
They came so quickly into this world. I arrived at the hospital after eight contractions at nine centimeters dilated and I know if I had waited any longer these babies were coming on the side of the road. In January. In Canada.
I held the twins for the first time when they were one day old.
I had a foot and a bum in the birth canal, with Katie’s other leg stuck inside. They couldn’t find a heartbeat on Kate, so I was rushed into an emergency csection.
They arrived at very healthy weights for 34-, almost 35-weekers, which threw everyone off since twins are typically smaller. If it weren’t for their troubles breathing, eating and sleeping, the nursing staff said they would be questioning their gestational age.
I met all of my babies when they were four or five hours old. I held the twins for the first time when they were one day old. I Introduced grandparents to their grandchildren in the hospital. I introduced my 2-year-old to her new sisters with wires everywhere. Beeping, lights flashing, alarms going off.
It was overwhelming for all of us. It wasn’t what you see on TV and in movies.
Developmentally they were way behind their peers. They hit all developmental milestones late. I talked to friends who were nurses, doctors, speech pathologists, other twin moms—sometimes obsessively— and they all said the same thing. They’ll catch up. When one pulled ahead and the other didn’t, I was told you can’t compare the moon and the sun. They’ll shine at their own time.
It took two years to make up for those five weeks they missed inside. Blaming myself. The guilt hounded me. On top of a global pandemonium. And that’s part of the reason why in the summer of 2020, I cracked.
We did our best. But their birth day still haunts me.