Note from Naomi: Today's post is a guest post from Ashleigh from 3 Girl's Mummy about her experience raising Irish twins - the name given to two children who are born less than a year apart. Make sure you check out her blog over at 3 Girl's Mummy.
Irish Twins [Noun]
"Either: a pair of siblings born less than 12 months apart - especially if born within the same calendar year or school year; or a pair of siblings born one year apart."
Often I am stopped in the street and questioned (sometimes rather abruptly) about the age gap between my youngest 2 children, 364 days to be precise. Although some seem to believe it is impossible to have children so close in age, my daughters are living proof it is not. Funnily enough, I've had both my girls in my double pram and been questioned if they are actual twins although one is only 5 months old and the other is a whooping 17 months.
The most common phrase I hear is "you've got your hands full." Unfortunately, it is usually said with distain as there is a stigma with having children close in age.
Having Irish twins has come with some lovely advantages such as the closeness and connection my daughters have together, matching outfits are easy to come by, it is pretty cheap as I don't really need to buy anything else other than a Moses basket mattress and cot mattress as I cloth nappy and cloth wipe as well as breastfeed and best of all, the online community which all have Irish twins.
This is my Irish Twins story...
Lets go back to the beginning, I had given birth in July 2015 to a gorgeous baby girl. She was my second daughter and I was absolutely smitten. The last thing on my mind was having another baby, I had just given birth. Everything went mostly perfectly and I had my appointment booked at the doctors to have the hormone implant fitted in my arm at 12 weeks.
I had started feeling slightly dizzy but nothing really out of the ordinary. I decided to take a pregnancy test at 10 weeks post partum just to make sure all the hormones were out of my body from having my baby as I had placental abruption after birth.
It came back positive.
This came as a shock as the hospital had told me that I should get a negative pregnancy test around the 8 week mark. I waited a couple of days and tested again. It was getting darker and stronger. Oh goodness me! I was pregnant again.
Rather than phoning up for an appointment at the doctors, I waited until I was due to have my implant fitted and went to that appointment. After doing another test at the doctors, it was confirmed. I was officially pregnant again.
As with both my older children, I had bleeding at the beginning of the pregnancy which meant I was to have an early scan to check I wasn't miscarrying.
That scan was a roller coaster of emotions. The ultrasound technician put the Doppler to my belly and found not one, but two sacs, two heartbeats... twins. This made me extremely anxious. I had a 3 month old baby and I was pregnant with twins. How were we going to tell everyone? What would they say? Would anyone be happy for us? Many questions shot through my head, all of which made me feel sick to my stomach with worry, guilt and anxiety.
I had another scan at 13 weeks. Another emotional appointment. During this scan, they confirmed that one of the babies had in fact stopped growing at 11 weeks and in their words "would be reabsorbed into my body". I honestly didn't know how I felt right now. I was feeling regret, sadness, worry and guilt however I also felt relieved which made me feel even more guilty.
Other than the beginning, I had quite an easy pregnancy with no morning sickness at all other than fainting quite a lot - that's common with my pregnancies though as I suffer with low blood pressure and anemia.
I had ups and downs in this pregnancy. Mostly downs. I felt really guilty that I couldn't give my utmost to my new baby, enjoying weaning, crawling and generally enjoying her being a baby. In addition to my guilt of this and losing a twin, I also suffered with gender disappointment which led to prenatal depression.
Enough about the bad pregnancy though, since my third daughter has been born, I have been smitten. I couldn't imagine life any other way.
I have three very gorgeous daughters all close in age and can only see them staying close as they grow up - with the odd fight about who's clothes are who's.
If I could give my pregnant self some advice, it would be to enjoy my pregnancy. Don't regret anything and definitely do not feel guilty over anything. My daughters haven't missed out on anything, they have gained something. They have gained each other, a close bond that no one will ever break.