birthday rollercoaster

On July 24, 2011, my diary reads: Der schlimmste und beste Tag (The worst and best day) – ever.

One year later, on another rainy July morning, this manic spectrum of memories and emotions is still with me, but I’ve come to accept that the story of Q&L’s arrival [in short: days of excruciating pain from a twin-related kidney blockage, topped with 48 hours of induced labor in a desperate attempt to avoid a c-section (both boys had recently turned and were positioned perfectly…), only to finally give in, then think we were through it all but end up in a second emergency surgery two hours later, again in full consciousness – while R was left alone with his newborn sons, growing unsure if he would see me again – losing more than half of my blood, getting hooked up for transfusions and iron injections, and consequently not being able to hold/nurse/take care of my babies for the first couple of days] is part of our story. Which is otherwise a good one. Q&L stole my heart the moment their slimy little cheeks touched mine – and, most importantly, turned out to be the happiest, healthiest and toughest little guys I’ve ever met.

Twin year 1, with all its challenges, always referred to as ‘the hardest,’ was generally a blast. In retrospect, I’m not entirely sure how we made it through the first three months with R in Chicago and me in Berlin, even though I had the strongest imaginable partner-in-crime in my Mom who dedicated her summer to us, made sure I got some sleep during the boys’ crazy 3-hour-feeding intervals, and helped me become the Mama I wanted to be.

In comparison, months 4-8 seemed like a walk in the park – all four of us together, with amazing family support on this side of the pond, discovering our new city and making new friends with two chipper babies who ate and slept well – this phase immediately made us want another set. Which kind of paused in month 9 when Q&L got serious about moving – nonstop, always, immer, that is. Exhausting as hell, but: Watching them explore the world with all senses and without any reservations, seeing them develop, learn, imitate and interact, is the single best thing in my life.

Twin year 2 will bring even more mobility, language(s?), a working Mama, 2L Papa, at least one Berlin trip and uncountable firsts. I officially can’t wait.

Happy first birthday, mini men. I couldn’t love you more.
And happy first birthday, R. I told you I was the luckiest.

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nine months later

Nine months ago, I left my hometown Berlin for Chicago with the three loves of my life – two of whom I had just given birth to. As a starting point to this blog, here’s a list of the top 10 surprises that awaited me. Very subjective, very random, high- and low-lights included.

1 | Q&L rock my world more than I could have ever known. I’m wondering what I did with all that love before they were here to absorb it. And, how many smiles can you fit in a day?

2 | Strolling along Lake Michigan in the crisp morning air makes me wanna be nowhere else on planet earth.

3 | Mayor Emanuel recently touted having gone the longest time without a murder in the city of Chicago: 5 days.

4 | A guy on the street apologized to me for walking next to us with a cigarette in his hand. Outside! I wanted to hug him and tell him to take this to Berlin.

5 | Our health insurance let us know, via invoice, that they’re not covering any routine baby care or immunizations. Babies have to get sick before insurance kicks in.

6 | I’m actually starting to enjoy chitchatting to strangers – not a very German trait. Can’t count the times I was randomly informed though that I’ve got ‘my hands full’ with the boys. Alternatively, that they’re ‘double trouble’.

7 | The insanity of the Republican primaries kept me wondering if this was all one giant comedy skit. Turns out it was not.

8 | My favorite basketball player is the son of my childhood tennis idol.

9 | Life with two bubbly mini people has actually made me a calmer person.

10 | The occasional homesickness, or any other problem, can instantly be cured by a sloppy baby kiss.