They share the same birthdate; born just a few minutes apart. They first saw the world, at home, in my Dad and Mom’s bed. I was almost seven years old when my twin siblings were born. They are fraternal twins.
At that time, home delivery was the common practice in our province. The then called Public Health Nurse’s expertise was to deliver babies, any time of the day, any day of the week. No incubators, no epidural block anesthesia, no postpartum pain reliever (maybe there was, I was just not aware of it). The only pain reliever I knew then, was Medicol and Cortal, for toothache or headache.
During the time when my mother was pregnant with me, or my brother, or the rest of my siblings, Ultrasound or MRI were not part of the medical lingo. In the town where I came from, pre-natal check-up was only done by a visiting midwife, or in the community Health Center, which unfortunately, did not have state of the art machines and gadgets like what is being used today, that even if the baby is just a pea-sized blip, it’s viability can already be visualized and interpreted. Perhaps, it was only through the expert and capable hands that can palpate, and ears with the aid of a stethoscope, that a nurse can determine a pregnant woman carries a single baby, or a twin. The question is: What about if it’s a triplet, or whatever “plet”? My! that would be a challenge, difficult to know.
As far as I can remember, on the day (November 3) that they were born, I did not have the slightest clue that our family will welcome two new babies. When I was finally allowed to enter my parent’s bedroom, I was pinned down (remember the cartoon TV show where the Road Runner suddenly stops? Tha’s what I did), halfway between the door and the bed, when I saw two babies, swaddled in white blanket, one on each side of my mother. “There’s two of them!” I exclaimed in awe. My young brain was still confused and could not understand how did it happen. But, there they were: Sylvia, born first and weighed 8 pounds, then Hubert, born later about 3 (or maybe 5?) minutes apart, and weighed 6 pounds. As per my father’s account, both babies were breech (feet first, instead of the normal presentation: head first). As it was a strike of good luck or perhaps by divine intervention, both of them were wrapped inside an amniotic sac.
Perhaps it was a blessing that the delivery process did not have to be complicated; because without the sac, Cesarian Section will be the next best option and my mother’s and the babies lives would be in extreme danger, considering such factors like: my mother was in active labor; the time constraint when my mother will be transported via a private car (no ambulance service) from our town, 8 kilometers away, to the provincial hospital; the unavailability of communication system (no telephone) to alert the hospital; and the unpaved/rough road to travel to. But, lo and behold! the twins came as naturally as ever possible.
Yes. They were conceived from the same embryo, was nurtured and thrived inside the same womb, shared the same blood supply, and born from the same parents. But, being fraternal twins, they obviously can be distinguished one from the other, as to their height: Sylvia is taller than Hubert; Sylvia got her physical features from my father’s side while Hubert got his from my mother’s side. They grew up possessing a personality that is distinctly their own: Sylvia is Sylvia, and Hubert is Hubert. Let’s leave it at that. They are two of a kind…but different.