Today, March 15, my sweet babies are three.
I can’t even believe it.
It’s impossible to comprehend how quickly the past three years have passed, and how bittersweet it is to have three-year-old twins already. That means our oldest is almost 9, and it means we have only two more days until our middle daughter is 6. Life is passing by at a rapid pace.
In honor of Carter and Charlotte’s 3rd birthday, I thought I’d share their story with my readers. I get a lot of questions about them. I think people are enamored by twins because they’re not as common as singletons (unless you live where we live, in which case you are the odd ones out if you DON’T have twins…seriously, don’t drink the water here!).
Baby Number 3
Let’s rewind to June 2013. My husband and I were on vacation with four other couples – no kids – in Jamaica. While sitting on the beach one day, one of our best friends made a comment like, “At the end of the day, all you have is family,” and it really struck a chord with us. I’d had such an easy pregnancy and delivery with our oldest, and such a complicated pregnancy and easy delivery with our then-youngest. Two miscarriages, several trips to the emergency room in the middle of the night due to bleeding while I was pregnant with Ava, and three long weeks wondering if the intracardiac echogenic focus in our sweet girl’s heart during her 20-week ultrasound wondering if she would be born with Downs Syndrome, and we weren’t sure we wanted to try one more time.
We thought about his words (thanks, GC!) and we decided to go for it. God has a plan for us, and he’d make sure it was fulfilled if it was also His plan. A month later, I was pregnant. I tested about 6 days before my period was due not really expecting a positive, and I was shocked to see a BIG FAT positive.
That probably should have been my first clue.
I found out at 3 weeks and 1 day along I was pregnant, called and made my first appointment to see my OB 8 weeks later, and began vomiting, living with constant nausea, and feeling like death the day I turned four weeks pregnant.
That should have been my second clue.
I was never sick with either of the girls – ever. I was dying. Our daughter started kindergarten a few weeks later, and I had to ask my husband to pull the car over at the school when we were parking to take her to class for the first time so I could vomit. I’m pretty positive people thought I was hungover.
My third clue should have been the fact that people began asking me at week 6 if I had any secrets I wanted to share. Now, I’m a petite girl and I take care of my body, and it was my third baby; but really? Showing at 6 weeks?
Believe it. I was already showing, and no one believed me when I denied being pregnant. By 10 weeks, I was already so big people thought I was at the halfway point. My best friend, our pastor’s wife, and my mother kept joking I was having twins.
They were adamant, and we laughed it off. No way. Not happening. Not even.
The Big Ultrasound
I finally began to feel better around 14 weeks, but I was so tired. So exceptionally, undeniably, most unapologetically tired. I was barely able to keep my eyes open after noon rolled around, and I had to nap every single day.
We had our big ultrasound on November 4, 2013. I was due to give birth on April 10, 2014. We couldn’t wait to find out if we were having another sweet baby girl or if we were finally going to welcome a little boy into our lives.
As the US tech was rolling her little wand over my very, very large belly she said, “Did your doctor tell you that you’re measuring really large?” and I thought to myself, “Seriously? You, too?” I told her he did not mention that to me at all. She looked at me.
“Oh. So then he definitely didn’t tell you there are two babies in here, then?”
My husband immediately asked for a chair. I asked her if my mom called her and put her up to this. She smiled and said, “The great news is that at least one of them is a boy!”
We were in shock. We had all our friends and family coming over that night for a gender reveal, but our plan was totally thrown out the window in terms of how we were going to do the reveal, so we had to come up with a quick back-up plan that involved getting two sets of balloons.
We figured we’d hold a pink set and a blue set and tell everyone we’d let go of whatever gender we weren’t having and we’d hold onto the ones that indicate the sex of the baby. They all gathered in our home, and we stood there holding a bunch of pink balloons and a bunch of blue ones. To tease them, I let go of the pink balloons for a very short second and everyone lost it. We were FINALLY getting a boy!
When I grabbed the pink balloons from floating off and said, “Oh, wait. We better hold onto these, too,” everyone was confused. We have a video a friend made in which our best friend suddenly screamed, “HOLY SHIT!” on repeat when he realized what was happening.
Suddenly the entire house erupted and it went crazy. There were a LOT of “I told you so” comments, and so much shock and happiness.
The Shock Wearing Off
It took a few days before we finally began to calm down and realize our life was changing in a major way. The doctor already told me he puts all his multiple-makers on moderate bed rest at 28 weeks. In all his years as a doctor (get this – his mom is a twin, he is a twin, and his kids are twins), he’s had only one multiple-maker give birth before 38 weeks. Unheard of, right? Since we wanted some healthy babies, I did what he said. Four hours a day on my sides. Two on my left, two on my right, and no activity other than basically getting the girls to and from school.
28 weeks occurred mid-January for me. My husband was a God-send. Not that he isn’t anyway, but he was even more amazing. He’s always been the bath-giver, the boo-boo kisser, and the only person with any real cooking skills, but he took on every single thing and refused to let me help with anything after I turned 28 weeks. He did parks, play dates, cleaned my car, kept the house spotless, did all the laundry, did all the homework, and brought me all my meals in bed.
And he did it all without one complaint.
I was still so tired, and I was very sick again. It was very rough. I missed playing with the girls, and I missed going out and having fun other than once or twice a month when we decided to break the rules and go to dinner together or with friends. It was a very, very long time for me.
When I turned 36 weeks, we had a checkup. It was on a Wednesday. I was not at all effaced, and I was not at all dilated. My doctor laughed at my frustration and told me I definitely was not having any babies in the near future, which was good because he was traveling that weekend to see his grandson perform at a sporting event.
I cried all the way home. I was so tired, so frustrated, everything hurt, I missed being able to live my life, and I wanted them out. They told me that if we could get the twins to at least 34 weeks, we were good. If we could get them to 36 weeks, we were golden. Here I was 36 weeks along and nothing. NOTHING.
My sweet mother-in-law felt so bad for me when she heard that nothing was going on after our appointment Wednesday. She called and asked if the girls could come over to her house Friday night after school for a sleepover so I could rest and not feel guilty that the girls were once again home with me wondering why I wasn’t able to play with them and they only had daddy to play with. We said yes, met her with the girls, and ran to the store very quickly to pick up a few things.
I felt so free being out of the house. I’d been really sick for the past few days with a severe cold, and I was just miserable. Getting up and going out even to the grocery store was super nice. We ran into every single person we knew, and they all told me how good I looked (Because they clearly knew I needed to hear nice things) and how huge I was (because what’s a compliment without that comment at the end?).
I told my husband that night we’d have babies that weekend. He looked at me with those sad eyes and said he knows I hope that, but it’s not going to happen.
I swear, I don’t like being wrong.
So I wasn’t.
We woke up Saturday morning and I left the bed for the couch. Craig decided to cook bacon, eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast while I relaxed. It was around 9 am when I realized I was having consistent contractions, but they didn’t hurt – at all. I ignored them because of it, but I was bored so I began timing them. Five minutes apart. Except they didn’t feel anything like the contractions I had with the girls, and they didn’t hurt at all. But they were five minutes apart. By 10 am, they were four minutes apart and still painless.
I decided to call the hospital and just ask. The nurse wasn’t concerned at all when I told her I’ve had two babies, this definitely doesn’t feel at all like labor, but I’d also never had Braxton hicks, so I wanted to know if they were painless but consistent if it was a thing. She said no, I wasn’t in labor, but to keep monitoring them. If they got any closer together regardless of the pain level, come in just to have a doctor check me out – remember, mine was on vacation that weekend – and if they became painful, come in.
I decided to shower, do my hair, and put on some makeup. At 11, they were still painless, but my contractions were consistent at 3 minutes apart. I didn’t feel like I was in labor, but we decided to go anyway. We arrived at the hospital a little before 1 pm.
Lo and behold, my contractions were consistently 2 minutes apart, apparently very strong, and still painless. I was almost 6 centimeters dilated and I was 100% effaced. Those babies were coming today!
We had to do an ultrasound, the on-call doctor came in to examine me, and we made the phone calls to our parents. The babies were coming! I was 36 weeks and 6 days pregnant, which is so far along for twins. I knew it was such a good day.
I asked for my epidural right away after hearing I was actually in labor. Our oldest daughter was born less than 6 hours after my first contraction occurred, our middle daughter was born less than 2 hours after my doctor issued Pitocin when I was induced at only 2 cm and 70%, so I knew I was a quickly delivery kind of girl. They gave me the epidural, and the doctor came in to check me one more time.
I was ready.
SOP with twins is to deliver in the operating room. They babies were both positioned correctly, so vaginal birth it was. I wasn’t trying to have a C-section, and I certainly wasn’t interested in one if it wasn’t absolutely, 100% medically necessary. They dressed my husband and I in our scrubs, wheeled us down to the operating room. The doctor asked if everyone watched that YouTube video on delivering twins, we all laughed, he asked if some EMT students and some med school students could come in and view the delivery, and I said yes.
We entered the OR at 5:55 pm. The doctor broke my water once we were all set up, said push, and our sweet Charlotte Marie was born in one push at 6:03 pm. She was 3 lbs. 15 oz. and 15 inches long. Tiny. I was shocked.
Then he broke my second water and asked me to take a few minutes to hold Charlotte before I pushed. I held her, loved her, and then decided it was time to push. I pushed, out came Carter’s head. He asked me to go ahead and push one more time, and Carter Michael was born at 6:08 pm. He was 5 lbs. even and 16 ¾ inches long. So small.
The nurses took so many photos for us, and they handed me both babies at the same time. I was smitten. Before I knew it, they were taking both babies away because of respiratory issues. Craig never got to hold them, and we weren’t sure where they were going other than to the NICU. I was wheeled back to my room less than a half hour after I was wheeled out of there to give birth.
It would be 24 hours before my husband ever got to hold our babies, and before anyone got to meet them. Their bilirubin wasn’t impressive, they both had an infection and required antibiotics – probably because I was sick and they had what I had – and they were so small. The nurses kept asking if I was sure I was as far along as I thought, and I was certain. We planned baby number three to the day, and I knew.
One day turned into two, which turned into six. After day two, I was discharged. Our sweet babies were still in the NICU. We hadn’t left their side other than to eat, visit anyone who came to see us, and to shower – and we did all that in our room right there. We booked a hotel room near the hospital so we could come back and do our every 3 hour feeding with the twins, but our nurse was beyond SOOOOOOO amazing, and he let us keep our room for a full week. They weren’t busy, they didn’t need it, and he said we could just stay at the hospital as long as they didn’t need it.
The problem came with our neonatologist said Carter was good to go home with me after my discharge. We were so happy, but he explained to us that Carter could not come back into the NICU once he was taken out, and that meant one of us would not be able to go in and see Charlotte every feeding time, and we’d need to stay outside with him in the hall and take turns visiting her.
We hated that idea, so he offered to keep Carter in the NICU with Charlotte so we could just spend all day with both of them and one another. They were seriously so amazing to us. Unfortunately, Thursday our neonatologist was no longer at work. It had been 6 days. The new one discharged Carter because she couldn’t find a reason to keep him – and the hospital needed their room back.
We took our sweet boy, kissed our sweet girl at 10 pm on Thursday night, and we went home to be with our little boy and our big girls for the first time in 6 days. The girls needed us so much at this point. They missed us, didn’t understand why we never came home with the babies, and they were tired of only seeing us for a few hours at night after school.
Leaving Charlotte in the NICU killed me. I cried nonstop. The nurses were so wonderful, and we’d gotten to know them so well. They promised me they’d cuddle her the entire time the way we did, and they’d tell her we loved her constantly. They called me every 3 hours all night long to tell us how much she ate, how she was doing, and to let us talk to her.
Can you say amazing?
We got up Friday morning, took the girls to school, took Carter back to the hospital, and my husband sat with him in the hallway while I visited my baby girl. That’s when the neonatologist told us all her test scores came back perfect, she was still maintaining her birth weight without losing weight, and he would let us take her home. It was the most amazing day of my life.
After a week, we had both our babies. We got to bring them home and they got to meet their sisters up close for the first time, and the rest is history.
They have been amazing since day one. They slept 6 hours right away, they were sleeping 8 hours a night before they turned a month old, and they slept 12 hours before they turned 6 weeks. They were the easiest babies, the busiest toddlers, and I swear I’ve never met happier babies in my life.
Today they are three. They are three-years-old, but they certainly don’t look it. They are growing well, but they are so petite and tiny. They don’t talk too much – well, Charlotte doesn’t – but neither did Ava. In fact, she’ll be 6 on Friday and she still doesn’t talk to anyone unless SHE’S in the mood to speak. Carter talks nonstop – I’m actually considering changing my name because he loves it so much.
They are fiercely protective of one another. They are darling, and those two love a schedule like no one else’s business. They are so much fun – and I’m so happy we no longer have two-year-old twins. That was something else.
Charlotte – at 3 you love to dance and sing “Let it Go,” and you love when someone in a cartoon falls down and gets hurt. You laugh hard. You love your brother more than anyone, but you also love to smack him on the head with any toys you see fit when he’s upsetting you. You don’t love it when Ava picks you up, you love you some daddy more than anything, and you have the most adorable RBF, the sweetest laugh, and you are so ticklish.
Carter – at 3 you LOVE to say my name, you love to sing the song at the beginning and end of “The Croods” and you have a serious thing for the Princesses at Disney World. You love your twin sister to the point you hold her hand when you’re at school, you make sure no one messes with her, but you are happy to push her down when she’s making you angry. You are obsessed with cleanliness and dislike anything being out of its place at home and you are the most wonderful cleaner-upper in the world – and this is probably going to make you my favorite if you stay on this path. 😉
Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet babies. If you ever read this one day, you are the best of everything. You have shown us that anything is possible, nothing is impossible, and having two babies at one time is nowhere near as difficult as people like to say it is.
Having two two-year-olds at one time is, but two babies at one time is a piece of cake.
We love you to the moon and back C&C.