first week and a half with the twins

oh those first days with our babies at home! i hope i’ll never forget how incredibly special and sweet they felt. i was hugely sleep deprived, recovering from giving birth, and hormonal in all kinds of wild ways, but the middle of october 2020 will always be a sacred, sacred time in my life. the twins really brought heaven with them into our little london home.

for about a week, our twins were unnamed. they were just “baby sister” and “baby brother,” or more occasionally “the girl” and “the boy” as we worked to officially decide on their names. we all delighted in their every move. my dad was here for their first three days and my mom was here for their first eight. moses and gabriel were amazing in adjusting to the huge change in their family and home, and our nanny lizzy was such a gift that allowed us to cherish these tender days extra well.

our first photo as a family of six – a selfie in the bed when the big boys wanted to come see the two day old babies first thing in the morning:

lots of skin-to-skin after breastfeeding sessions. around day five i started tandem feeding and it was exciting to start mastering that new skill.

baby sister…

…and baby brother:

morning loves from grammie, mo, and grandfather:

moses was so excited to tell his teachers and classmates about his two new baby siblings. meanwhile, gabriel had fun autumn outings with lizzy:

we quickly learned that the babies were most content when they were close to each other. they spent a lot of their non-feeding time snuggled together in the moses basket (the same one that their big brothers used as tiny babies!).

the boys got to have some mcdonalds happy meals with grammie and grandfather and wanted to show their new toys to their babies…

what an incredible blessing it was to have my parents with me around the birth of my twins!!! i cannot believe how the timing worked out, particularly with covid travel restrictions and concerns. i will forever be deeply grateful that my mom and dad came across the ocean and were here so long quarantining and then waiting for the babies to be born.

when the babies were still snug in my belly, mo and gabe picked out some gifts to give them when they arrived – some little snuggly animal/blankets just like the ones they both had as newborns. they were very careful about selecting these and then so thrilled to give baby brother his elephant and baby sister her monkey. the gifts were presented to the babies while they sunbathed in our big bay window one morning (in an effort to fend off any jaundice!), and witnessing this sweet, sweet sibling exchange will always be one of my most cherished memories.

my mom is the best postpartum / newborn baby helper angel that could ever exist. more on that a bit later … but also having my dad around for a few days after the babies came was such a joy. he stayed up late with the twins, keeping them awake for a bit while the rest of us got some rest, singing them songs and telling them about life on earth. he entertained moses and gabriel to their utter and complete delight. he filled me up with confidence, love and real support. i love him so much.

my mom nicknamed the babies “my little man” and “my little rosebud.”

after intense timidness when first being introduced to the twins, gabriel warmed up pretty quickly to his baby siblings.

look how tiny these little sweeties were! on day two i wrapped them up and took them out for a walk. it started drizzling just as i was leaving. it felt appropriate to have their first london walk to be in the drizzle πŸ™‚

ian and i constantly looked at the babies and said in amazement to each other, “there are two!” (and – i’m writing this nearly seven months later – we still do this with some regularity!)

gabriel had some great days at joy school…

and we all said a sad goodbye to grandfather.

i, of course, couldn’t stop snapping photos of the babies, and always felt that i wasn’t taking enough…

ian taking a baby (not sure which one it is in this photo!) out for a walk, and grammie with her hands full of babies…

our daughter! so exciting to have another baby boy and also so exciting to have our first baby girl.

constant love from moses:

ian took the big boys out on several fun outings. they enjoyed the magnificent foliage in kensington gardens, and happened across this sign as we were debating baby boy’s name…

and spent a saturday at one of their all-time favourite places: richmond park.

there’s two of them!!! what.

we got into a little bit of a routine of ian and i going to sleep really early while my mom stayed up with the babies and tried to keep them awake until the next feeding so they could sleep more during the wee hours. she took this hilarious series of photos after assigning eve the task of keeping august awake. first she chatted with him, then decided to go for it by sucking on his nose, which he didn’t love and so he decided to retaliate. aaaaand, within a minute or two both were fast asleep. haha!

my mom also took some pictures of their ears. because can you even believe that they came out of my belly with four perfect, curved, detailed, beautiful ears?! incredible.

on a little “date” with the babies in carriers – just a walk around the neighbourhood but it felt so good!

constantly feeling like i should take more pictures…!

around the flat … a snuggle with the boy after home church and building a train track around the moses basket…

one week after we took a picture of my thirty eight week belly (so five days after the babies were born), we went back to the same spot for another photo, just for a fun side-by-side. a lot can surely change in one week!

our beloved midwife sarah came by for a visit. i had to snap a photo of her with the twins and then with all three of our babies that she has caught – gabriel, august and eve! i will forever be deeply, deeply grateful for this wonderful woman.

in an attempt to get a photo like the one on the right, i got lots of photos like the one on the left. haha!

the babies were so, so sleepy in their first couple of weeks. i forgot how much a newborn sleeps!

okay, here’s some more about my mom being an angel from heaven. she has to be the best person in the world at taking care of a newly-grown family, and the most precious experiences of my life have been the days with my mom after my babies have been born. she stayed up with the babies into the night, prepared three gourmet meals a day for us (and lots of beautiful, tasty snacks), played with the older boys, went to the grocery store basically daily to keep us all stocked, rubbed my arms and reassured me as i sobbed, constantly cleaned up, and showered us all with love and support.

when the babies were six days old, we took our first outing as a family of six. the babies snuggled up together in the buggy bassinet, gabriel took the seat next to them, moses rode his scooter, and we all ventured to kensington gardens together.

the leaves were stunning and the outing was a success! the babies slept through it all πŸ™‚

there were a few rounds of hide and seek…

…and then moses and i sang songs to the babies all the way home (moses’s idea after he swapped buggy/scooter places with gabriel). back to grammie…

on the twins’ one week birthday, we had our dear friend who happens to be a photographer, kami, over for a newborn photo shoot. i’ll share those precious captures in the next post! kami has taken newborn photos of all four of our kids now. we love her!

some post-photo-shoot snuggles. i took a selfie and then ian came along and took a photo for me πŸ™‚

while my mom was with us, our lizzy stayed at an airbnb around the corner. here she is collecting pretty leaves with mo, and snuggling the twins! soooo thankful for this awesome girl!

the day before my mom left, we took a walk together with the babies to kensington gardens. she hadn’t seen the amazing leaves there and i wanted to make sure she did before she left. it was a golden, golden afternoon – such a gorgeous little slice of time in one of my favourite places on earth. i had to hold back tears the whole time thinking about my mom leaving the next morning.

when it was time for her to go, she snuggled up these babies really well one last time as newborns…

…and then got in an uber outside our flat in the drizzling rain. i stood on the porch and sobbed for a few minutes before going back inside.
(the “father richard” she mentions in her text is father richard rohr, a franciscan monk whose daily email meditations we both love to read!)

after my mom left, ian still had a few days of paternity leave to use – hooray. ian is amazing in a million ways, but he shines probably the most after the arrival of a baby (or two πŸ˜‰ ). he rises to the occasion and is a total rockstar, and this was true by double with the twins. here he is after coming inside after getting caught in a random downpour while running errands, and with a funny shirt that a friend sent him. i love this man.

hmmmm, i don’t think i’ve taken enough photos of the babies sleeping… πŸ˜‰

they were a little small for the bouncer seats back then… (so wild to look at this photo now!!!)

a couple snaps that lizzy sent to me after she took the boys to the science museum (yes, we all love this mews street which has shown up a lot in this blog post!):
moses had used his own hard-earned money to buy a little blue rock bracelet from the gift shop, and was feeling very proud holding up his receipt haha!

gabriel got to dress up for a joy school halloween party…!

on the same day we finally finalised the twins’ names, when they were nine days old, i got to go out for a few hours … by myself! … for a massage!!! i had the most delightful walk through kensington and notting hill to the spa and then a superb postpartum massage. i feel very strongly that every woman should get a massage after giving birth!

so many cute corners to spot on the walk there, and back home to these wide-eyed sweethearts – very ready for milk!

a montage of moses love…
after school he’d run right to the babies. he was so gentle and sweet and would do this little nuzzle with his face that was just adorable.

a dreamy smile from baby sister, and a double rainbow over our street!

and some attempts at family photos in our garden. here’s the best we could do with a four year old, two and a half year old, and ten day old twins. we’ll take it.

we snapped some photos with lizzy too! she was part of our family for those months.

phew! that’s a lot of photos that took forever to narrow down, edit, and compile here. but ooooh how i want to remember those precious, precious first days with our tiny newborn twins. a sacred time, indeed.

2 comments

  1. What a beautiful description of the way your mom blessed you in the days after August and Eve were born. It makes me excited to be a grandmother one day myself so I can bless my daughters in the same way.

    Like

  2. Your mom is wonderful. I love observing hands in all of your photos – how they show parenting, love, gentleness, responsibility, etc. It’s easy to see that you are doing great as a mother if you simply watch your hands. I notice that early on with the twins, Gabriel looks less timid when his hand is connecting with yours as you are holding the babies, so sweet – I’m sure he wants to be sure he won’t be left behind, haha. Never gonna happen, little guy!

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