On one of the brightest and sunniest Saturdays of January, I had the pleasure of visiting Francesca and her beautiful twins. A boy named Gregorio and a girl named Mathilde.
As I arrived to her home she welcomed me in with a huge smile and told me that her husband had taken the kids outside and would be home in just a few minutes. They had gone out for some fresh air and a bit of play at her local park.
Upon their return, I noticed three more big smiles and was even more excited to hear their story and the secret behind the happiness they all seemed to share.
I soon learned that Francesca and her husband were eternally grateful because after 5 years of struggling to conceive with almost no hope left and a lot of exhaustion, the twins chose to arrive.
So after two years of dating you guys chose to have a baby, how did that go for you?
I had recently lost my father so we kind of chose to celebrate life again by having a baby and starting a family. We tried for a year without any pregnancy and the second year we went to a famous doctor here in Milan that wanted to operate on me to see what the problem was. I was 28 at the time and having surgery was just crazy to me, so I said no. Then after some researching of good doctors we finally found one that we just had a great connection with and started the classical process of IVF. After 5 years of this I was completely destroyed, full of hormones and I hardly recognized myself and was fearful about my own health. I had kind of given up and settled my mind that I would be a great aunt and second mom to my friends’ children.
My husband and my doctor then asked me if I was willing to try one more time and I agreed.
Well on November 7, 2013 we discovered we were expecting twins!
Wow, how did you take the news?
First we cried and laughed back and fourth for awhile staring at the paper. Although, I have to admit we were also a bit scared because you never know how the first few months will be. We felt extremely LUCKY and blessed – we were having two babies! Believe me I just cried tears of happiness for a few days.
So between you guys how was it after all this effort and stress?
He is just the love of my life. I would marry him over and over again.
How was the pregnancy? How was it carrying twins?
The first three months was hard because I had to take hormones to maintain the pregnancy because if it they aren’t produced naturally it might be hard to maintain the pregnancy. So I was really, really tired and then I had a check-up with my doctor every 10 days. After that I had very good pregnancy but towards the very end I had high blood pressure.
Were you ever scared of the delivery?
No (she says firmly), I always knew inside of me that I would and could be able to give birth naturally. But my doctor told me no, too much pressure and he wanted to be there when I delivered. He said it was too risky and that we had to schedule a
c-section. No matter what he said, I just somehow knew I was going to be able to do it myself so I asked if I could at least give it a try. I mean I would be at the hospital and if it didn’t work I could just deliver my babies via c-section. So we made a compromise that I would have a c-section scheduled in case anything happened but at least I’d first give it a try on my own.
Then one day I was sitting here on my couch and boom my water broke, like a whole river! But I was completely calm and happy and ready to make my body work it’s magic. I called my doctor and he told me to take my time, have a shower and come on over when ready. When I arrived at the hospital, the surgery room was ready for me but I refused because I really wanted to at least try, so I kept on insisting. Obviously, if me or my babies were in danger they could then perform a c- section; I am not crazy!
Delivery of twins is usually a bit faster because there is more pressure because they are in two. Then they told me Mathilde was not in the correct position and was stuck to one side. An obstetrician arrived and was supposed to massage my belly to try and move her a bit, but she dug her elbow so strong that she ended up breaking two of my ribs. Therefore, I was in labor with two broken ribs and had a bit of a hard time taking deep breaths. At that point, they told me I had to have a c-section but my feeling at the time and to this day is that I would have been able to do this on my own a 100%. If I had the right person who could have helped me with love and true care, I do strongly believe I would have done so. I mean I waited 6 year for this and that was the best part but it’s okay, they are here now and I am eternally grateful.
So what happened next? Did Enrico stay with you in the c-section?
He walked me over to the room but the problem here in Italy is that husbands are not allowed to stay with their partners during c-sections as they can in the rest of Europe or America. This made us really sad. He had to stay on the other side of a window, so truthfully we were not able to support each other. Then after the c-section, I saw each of my babies for a quick second and then they took them in another room and sewed me back together. No one in the room asked me how I was or how my babies were doing – nothing, I was all alone. My dream was to stay a bit with my husband and two babies together to understand that in this important moment we had just become parents.
Did you want to breastfeed them?
Oh yes, absolutely. Finally a wonderful woman came in to my room and asked me if I wanted to breastfeed and she stayed with me for the next couple of days to help me get going with the feeding. I stayed in the electric machine for some hours and the milk just came and I was ready to feed the whole floor. I was so happy that at least I was able to do that. For awhile I just followed my babies needs, I was basically topless for three months always breast-feeding. If there is a will there’s a way, even if they come in two. This was really a wonderful moment to be able to breast-feed. Sometimes they would both drink at the same time 🙂
Did you have any extra help?
Yes, my grandmother and their great-grandmother came here and stayed with us and helped me and she is 80 years old. Amazing! She was just incredible, she helped me a lot. Took the babies out for a walk in the morning so I could rest and take a shower.
You are a working mother now, how long did you stay home with the babies?
I stayed home with them the first 6 months and then my first year of work I just worked mornings from 9-13. It was so hard to leave them, I cried every time.
Where do you work?
I work for Jimmy Choo – in the fashion industry, and have been doing that for a long time, before this I was working for Valentino. I love it but now that I’m a mother my dreams are changing a little bit. Maybe later on in life, I would love to be an event planner. I love organizing parties and seeing everyone together and happy. This way I can own my time and stay more with the twins.
For how long did you breast-feed?
For 8 months, Gregorio kind of lost interest about that time but Mathilde would have wanted to breast-feed for longer. And I had so much breast milk in the freezer so she was able to drink it from her bottle for a long time.
How did it go when you gave them food?
To be honest, not well and in that moment I felt like a failure. Their doctor told me that at 6 months I had to start feeding them solids but they didn’t want it. No matter what I made, they spit it out and the food was more on the walls then in their stomachs. I guess they were just not ready. I really tried everything from fresh food to jar food. The doctor even suggested meat and fish in powder form to put in their food! Sounds gross, right?
In this period I cried so much I was under so much pressure from the doctor but my babies just did not want food. I suppose they just wanted to breast-feed for a bit longer. Then I took a little break and tried again later and that worked much better. Of course doctors’ instructions are important but as you say in your blog, I guess every mother has to listen to her own child and her own instincts. We all might have different needs.
How about you guys, do you try and stay healthy food wise?
Yes, we definitely do especially since we have become parents. I feel a responsibility towards taking good care of my own health since I became a mother. I need to be up to each task for the children and need to live a long and healthy life with them. We like to try new things, right now we are drinking hot water with lemon each morning and eating more fruit.
How is your marriage going now after you had kids?
Well I focus on picking and choosing my battles in a relationship. I try to avoid fights over toothpaste and silly things like that. Or when I ask him to pass me something from the kitchen and he asks me where it is I respond with, ” the same spot it has been for the past 10 years”! I rethink and realize it is not worth fighting over. I think about all we have been through in these past 11 years together and I realize he is just the love of my life. I would marry him over and over again.
Do you do something special to maintain the chemistry?
Once a month we go out for dinner, cinema or something. Just a moment for us, where we are not allowed to talk about the kids. A moment dedicated to just us and the relationship.
Do you every lose your patience with the kids?
No, not really. I really work a lot so during the time I get to spend with the kids I really want it to be quality time. I do think maybe I yell more at Enrico instead 🙂 Especially in the morning when we are all getting ready to go out for the day. Usually at around 10:30ish I will call him to apologize for my yelling 🙂
I would like to thank Francesca for sharing her motherhood story with us. It was really a pleasure to meet her and her beautiful family. I love how every story at some point gives me so many goosebumps and even tears in my eyes.
I appreciate her honesty and hope this will be of comfort or encouragement to a mother out there. I wish you all the best of luck 🙂
– Love JM