Embla and Olympia,
You are finally here, an armful each of delicious tiny baby, all seashell ears and rooting lips and high-pitched squeaks and snuffles that make you seem more primate than human, curling your fingers around our own and in our hair as though you fear that we may put you down. You came into the world on a nondescript morning at the end of July, a no-sun-but-no-rain-at-least morning, and Olympia, you protested at the top of your lungs for seven minutes straight and Embla, you raised your head right off of my chest and looked around the room as though wondering whether you should request another, and then as I comforted your sister you slowly and quietly turned blue. You were fine, just a little cold and a little surprised at the sudden turn of events but there was something in the quiet way that you did it that makes me think that we should keep an eye on you, that you will be the child to surprise us time and again just when we think that we have the measure of you.
I remember my initial astonishment upon meeting the pair of you, that feeling of oh-my-god-I’ve-made-a-human experienced twice in quick succession. It was a feeling that I had experienced already upon the birth of your brothers but I think that even the mothers of very large families must share in that moment, the moment where your child suddenly ceases to be an abstract concept and instead is so small and has those eyes, and do they have hair? Oh they do have hair! And they are suddenly themselves, still your baby but no longer an extension of you.
There was a moment after you were born, where you were both in my arms and learning to nurse, when it occured to me that I would never feel you kick from the inside again. And I suddenly felt tremendously lonely for you, for that version of you, as I said a quiet goodbye to those unknown babies, those faceless babies, who expressed themselves in movements under my skin. Your mummy and I loved to watch you, to coax you, Olympia, into progressively more outrageous acrobatics. One of my favourite memories of you thus far is of staring at my own abdomen, fascinated and terrified, as you turned yourself from breech to cephalic at thirty-four weeks. Until that moment I had no idea that a small human could stretch my skin so far outside of my own body and that I could survive the experience. Embla, you were always a little quieter and I would worry to myself sometimes, and then suddenly you would move against my pelvic bones like a little fish and I would know that you were fine. I will miss the relationship that we had when you were curled up inside of me, even as I delight in knowing the new and changing versions of you.
These past few days have been beautiful. We wanted to make the most of your first few hours, your early days. We have cuddled with you in our home, examined and admired your features, marveled at your small accomplishments, your diminutive sizes and the faces that you pull in your sleep. We have shared you with nobody but your older brothers, who adore you, and with the midwives who have visited you every day, some of whom followed your story as you grew inside of me, who worried for you and prepared for you and helped us to bring you into the world. I have watched your mummy blossom in her love for you. These past few days have been about learning you, knowing you. And soon we will introduce you to your extended family who are so excited to meet you.
I remember when you were conceived, when you were cells dividing on a screen. I remember feeling proud of you for reaching day five, for beginning to hatch on that fourth night as we waited for the call to inform us of how many of you survived. The two of you were my strongest candidates, my leaders. You were my future growing outside of my body, awaiting my body. As you were returned to me I clutched your picture and I studied you. You were my blastocysts, my day five embryos, and in my head I called you the ‘blastosisters’ and I was right. And now, little sisters, here you are. We are so proud of you.
You are so welcome here. We are so glad to know you. Whomever you are, whomever you will become, you are our daughters, the little sisters to your big brothers. You have enhanced our family just by coming in to it and we love you. We do. We love you.
Goodnight and sleep tight and see you in the morning,
Your mother, who is watching you sleep x