Even though we hadn’t planned to have another child so soon, Lotus and I were excited. Even during the hardest times, life with Hibiscus was wonderful and we both knew we would find the same kind of joy with our next child.
Sure, being pregnant with an active toddler wasn’t always easy but, all in all, I felt I managed pretty well. Lotus and I set about preparing for our new baby with enthusiasm.
So it was a bit of a shock when, in my fifth month of pregnancy, our doctor threw us a curveball. We were expecting twins. It took us both a day or so to get over the shock but once it began to wear off, we began to be tentatively excited again. After all, we both wanted a big family and even though it would be tough, we were lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive friends and family.
Since we’d moved, Penny and Cal had moved to the neighborhood and were expecting their first baby any day now. Both Nectarine and Blue had married, started families and moved closer to us as well. We’d become friends with a couple of our neighbor families-the Deppity’s and the Frosts. Even Riptide had finally met and married a wonderful girl and they, too, were now expecting. With so many friends around us, we were sure we’d be okay.
By the time I went into labor, we were feeling confident that we could do this and anxious to meet our new children.
That night we welcomed our second son, Orchid and our first daughter, Fleur Blush, who was named after My Mother and Lotus’ Mother.
Much like his Daddy, Orchid was very social and outgoing. From a very early age he was smiling, babbling and just basically doing anything he could to interact with anyone who was around him. Orchid loved being outdoors, especially going for rides in the stroller.
Fleur was our shy little bug. She was happiest in our arms and by the time she was a few months old, had developed intense stranger anxiety, preferring only Lotus or myself.
For the first couple of months, we were exhausted and fell into bed at night, snoring before our heads hit the pillow. We were always so busy, I worried about poor little Hibiscus but he seemed to be handling things well. He’d developed an attachment to a little doll we’d gotten him when we moved to the house and he now spent hours singing and playing with the toy. He took it everywhere he went.
He only verbally expressed concern once, after hearing Lotus tell Fleur that he loved her.
Hibiscus toddled up to Lotus and raised his arms.
Lotus obligingly picked him up for some cuddling. “How’s my little guy?”
Hibiscus gave Lotus a serious look. “Dada wuf Flurry?”
“Yes, Dada loves Fleur.”
“Dada wuf Okid?”
“Yes. Dada loves Orchid.”
Hib wrinkled his brow, then, looking concerned. “Dada wuf Hibi?”
“Oh! Yes, Hibi. Daddy loves you. Mommy does too. We will always love you.”
After that, we made an extra effort to spend a little more one on one time with Hibiscus and that seemed to get him through whatever he’d been feeling.
Just like with Hibiscus, as the babies got older and slept a little better, things began getting a little easier. By the time they were six months old, it felt like they’d always been a part of our family.
Lotus and I absolutely loved having three children, despite the challenges. One night when the twins were about five months old and things had been going particularly well, I jokingly suggested that we could add another to the bunch and not notice a difference. Instead of laughing or scoffing, Lotus’ eyes lit up and he gave me a hopeful look. That look made me begin to seriously consider what I’d said. I’d only been joking but the more we talked about it, the more it made sense. Sure, life would be even more hectic for awhile but we knew it would likely take us a few months to conceive and the idea of adding one more bundle of joy to the mix won out.
The first kink in the plan happened when I got pregnant in less than two months. The twins were only seven months old when I found out. We were a little unnerved at first but we reminded ourselves we had a tremendous support network and knew we could handle this.
Then I began feeling sicker than I’d ever felt with Hibiscus or the twins. Suddenly, we found ourselves relying on the help of our friends and family nearly every day while I spent hours in bed and Lotus struggled to keep up with the kids and work. I was infinitely thankful when, as I passed into the second trimester, my nausea began to wane. I chalked the whole thing up to every pregnancy being different and got on with life.
In my fifth month, we got alarming news again. A second set of twins. When we heard those words, all Lotus and I could do was look at each other and laugh. If you don’t laugh, you cry, right? Besides, it’s not like there was any going back so we tried to be positive and looked forward to meeting two more of our children. Besides, we had other things to focus on for now.
Our babies were turning one.
I hadn’t been feeling well enough to organize something huge but we did have a few friends over. One by one, I brought them to blow out their candles.
True to form, Orchid was as smiley as a toddler as he had been as a baby. He got all of Lotus’ coloring-skin, hair and eyes but you could see me in some of his facial features.
Fleur got my skin and hair coloring but Lotus‘ eye color. She was as timid as ever and immediately looked around for Lotus or I and we quickly rushed to pick her up knowing she’d burst into tears if anyone else tried to hold her.
After their birthday, life was a flurry of teaching the twins to walk and talk and finishing up potty training Hibiscus.
As busy as it was, Lotus and I still didn’t worry much, though I was a little relieved when Fleur and Hibiscus were finally both walking and talking and Hibiscus was potty trained by my eighth month of pregnancy. I thought this would mean a little more relaxing for the next month…but I was wrong.
I was over visiting Riptide and Shari, who was due any day now, when it happened. I’d joked with her that she might go into labor while I was there. Neither of us expected that I’d go into labor instead.
This time, my confidence failed me and I panicked. It was too early and I was terrified. Things were chaotic for a few moments until I saw Riptide swing into motion. He gently helped me to his car and phoned Lotus while racing me to the hospital. He even held my hand the entire way there despite the fact that my grip had him wincing the whole time.
As it turned out, that wasn’t the last surprise this pregnancy would throw me.
There was no stopping my labor, as I had progressed rapidly and shortly after arriving at the hospital, I gave birth to Cally Lily, Lehua Blossom and Sophornitella.
That’s right, not two but three perfect, tiny baby girls.