When First Daughter was almost four, First Husband and I decided to have another child. I quickly got pregnant and things went well until about the seventh month. I was teaching high school at the time and complained to my obstetrician that I was so tired and had difficulty standing, especially when on lunch duty. He patted my hand and said, “Now Anna, you are busy. You have a small child. This is normal.” I decided to put on my pouty face. I stuck out my bottom lip as far as I could and whined, “The other pregnant teachers in my school have had ultrasounds and I have not.” (Ultrasounds were not done routinely in 1983). Pouting worked and he pulled out the ultrasound machine.
As the doctor conducted the test, he suddenly excused himself to get a nurse. He asked her to verify what he was seeing. Her response was, “Oh yes.” He then pointed to the screen and said, “Anna, this is baby A and this is baby B.” Suddenly the blood pressure monitor alarmed as my blood pressure went through the roof from the shock.
I do not remember driving home, but I do remember handing two pictures to First Husband and saying, “This is baby A and this is baby B.” He has always been a real practical guy. He simply got in the car and went to buy a second crib. That’s what good Southern Bubbas do.
The pregnancy progressed and when the due date was two weeks away, my mother called to say she was on the way to my house. “Mama,” I said. “I don’t need you for two more weeks.” The nurse in her said, “The moon is full. I will be there in a few hours.” Sure enough, I went into labor that night.
I was fortunate that I did not need a C-section but I was asked to allow 10 student nurses from the University of South Carolina observe the delivery. “I don’t care who watches,” I yelled. “Get these babies out of me!” And so Princess Daughter was born weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Surfer Girl weighed in at 5 pounds and 5 ounces. They were identical mirror twins. Everything on the left side of one was on the right side of the other. They had opposite hair whorl patterns. One grew up left handed. One grew up right handed. One is gay and one is straight.
I do not remember the first three months. I tried nursing but failed as the babies were on different schedules. I called my pediatrician sobbing about my failure. “Mama,” he called me. “In my 30 years of working with babies, I only knew one mama who could nurse twins. Now get those babies on a bottle and stop your crying.” And so I learned eventually to get them on the same schedule, sit on the couch, put the babies in their carriers on either side of me and hold their bottles in each hand. This is how I survived. First Daughter, who had been the only grandchild on both sides of the family, was my little helper. But in those early days, it was tough for her. One day after washing her hair, as I was blow drying it, she began to sob. When I asked what was wrong, she said through her sobs, “I need somebody to love me.” It broke my heart. I felt overwhelmed with the need to equally love her and two babies. As they grew, the twins loved and looked up to her. However, they also annoyed her to death. I put a latch on First Daughter’s bedroom door up high to keep the twins out of her room. The two of them simply pulled up a chair, one climbed on the other’s shoulders and unhooked the latch. I finally put a deadbolt lock on the door. First Daughter had a key and her dad and I had one.
My girls are grown now. Their teen years were wild and tumultuous. I have a theory that girls become normal again at around age 23. First daughter is now 37 and lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the twins are 33, Surfer Girl living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Princess Daughter in Montgomery, Texas. We are all close and text and chat often. My girls are my best friends and best critics. Each girl in her own way has developed areas where they are wise and I rely on them for their wisdom. Below here they are all grown up!