Side by side

Natalie Paul­son, 22, from Leicester, did ev­ery­thing with her twin sis­ter… in­clud­ing hav­ing a baby!

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Tuck­ing into my sand­wich, I set­tled down for lunch with my twin sis­ter Leanne.

Al­ways close, we were lucky to have both bagged jobs as car­ers at a nurs­ing home.

Even bet­ter, we were able to sched­ule our shifts at the same time, so we could spend our lunch hours to­gether ev­ery day. But this day was dif­fer­ent. ‘I have some­thing to tell you,’ I said to Leanne, smil­ing. ‘Go on then,’ she said. ‘I’m preg­nant!’ I an­nounced. ‘I can’t be­lieve it!’ she gasped. ‘But you’ll never guess what…’ ‘What?’ I asked, cu­ri­ous. ‘I’m preg­nant, too!’ she cried. We both jumped up with ex­cite­ment, scream­ing and hug­ging each other.

Leanne and I had al­ways been so close.

When we were eight-years-old, we used to push our dolls along in their toy prams.

‘One day we’ll push our real ba­bies along to­gether,’ she’d said.

And now our child­hood dream was com­ing true!

As kids, we shared a bed­room and were al­ways swap­ping clothes. When we were 13, Leanne started see­ing Robert, a boy in our class.

Robert soon learnt that if he wanted to go out with Leanne, I would be com­ing along, too. I was part of the pack­age. We ended up go­ing to col­lege to­gether near our home in Leicester.

Leanne stud­ied beauty ther­apy while I did hair­dress­ing.

When we fin­ished our cour­ses in 2012, nei­ther of us were sure of what we wanted to do, so we both ended up work­ing at the care home.

In 2014, Leanne and Robert moved in to­gether.

And even though she was just down the road, I missed her ter­ri­bly.

But, a few months later, I moved out to live with my part­ner Daniel.

Leanne and I would still see each other ev­ery day at work, and made time for each other af­ter­wards, too, with din­ner dates and shop­ping trips.

A few years later, Leanne told me she and Robert were try­ing for a baby.

‘I can’t

wait to be an aunt!’ I’d said.

Call it a twin thing, but Leanne try­ing for a baby made me want to try for one, too.

And now, here we were, both cel­e­brat­ing our preg­nan­cies.

Just to be sure, af­ter our shift ended, Leanne and I went out and bought two preg­nancy tests.

Back at my house, we both went into the bath­room… Then, at the same time, we both squealed with de­light.

Both tests were pos­i­tive! My test said I was one to two weeks gone, while Leanne’s said she was two to three weeks gone. Daniel and Robert couldn’t be­lieve it when we told them. ‘Do you two do ev­ery­thing to­gether?’ Daniel laughed. Our par­ents, Denise and Kelvin, were so happy for us. ‘Trust you two,’ Mum said, hug­ging us both. Leanne’s due date was 20 July, while mine was 28 July. And, at our 20-week scans, we found out the sexes of our ba­bies. ‘I’m hav­ing a boy!’ Leanne cried down the phone. ‘That’s per­fect!’ I said. ‘I’m hav­ing a girl!’ ‘One of each,’ Mum said with tears in her eyes when we told her. Over the next few months, Leanne and I went out shop­ping for blue and pink baby clothes and com­pared our grow­ing tum­mies.

We went on ma­ter­nity leave at the same time, and a few days later, we held a joint baby shower.

Be­fore we knew it, Leanne’s due date had come and gone.

‘I hope he hur­ries up,’ she moaned, start­ing to feel quite big and un­com­fort­able.

But her boy just re­fused to budge. And, a week later, it was 28 July – my due date. In the early hours, Mum rang me. ‘Leanne’s in labour,’ she said. Rush­ing over to her house, Leanne was on the sofa, breath­ing heav­ily. ‘You’re do­ing bril­liantly,’ I told her. Soon, Robert bun­dled her into the car and took her to hospi­tal. I’d read that first ba­bies could of­ten be over­due, so I wasn’t ex­pect­ing my lit­tle girl to ar­rive any time soon.

But at around 11pm that night, I woke up with a start.

‘Daniel!’ I cried, nudg­ing him awake. ‘My con­trac­tions have started!’

We raced to the hospi­tal as fast as we could, and by pure chance, I ended up be­ing placed in the room right next to Leanne’s.

‘How’s my sis­ter do­ing?’ I asked the mid­wife.

‘She’s do­ing just fine, don’t worry,’ she smiled.

Once I was checked in, I wad­dled over to Leanne’s room. ‘Tak­ing your time then?’ I teased. ‘He’s be­ing very stub­born,’ she grum­bled. Just then, I had an­other con­trac­tion, forc­ing me to head back to my own bed just next door.

Poor Mum was so ex­hausted, con­stantly run­ning be­tween the two of us in a panic!

She was with me when my mid­wife came in.

‘I think it’s time,’ she said.

‘Give her my love!’ I shouted to Mum, as she rushed off to be with Leanne.

Not long af­ter, Mum was back, car­ry­ing my nephew in her arms. ‘Meet Carter,’ she beamed. ‘He weighed 8lb 8oz and was born at 6.17pm.’

‘He’s beau­ti­ful!’ I cried, burst­ing into tears.

By this time, my con­trac­tions were get­ting stronger and stronger, and I knew it wouldn’t be long un­til I was hold­ing my own baby.

Fi­nally, six hours af­ter Carter was born, I gave birth to a beau­ti­ful baby girl, Mila-rose.

As she was born two min­utes af­ter mid­night, it meant she didn’t share a birth­day with her cousin.

Leanne and I later agreed that that was prob­a­bly for the best – it meant that they’d each have their own spe­cial day.

Leanne and I were placed on the same ward, and it felt sur­real watch­ing her hold my baby while I held hers. ‘They’re per­fect,’ she smiled. Over the next few months, it was nice to have some­one to talk to dur­ing the sleep­less nights. Leanne and I saw each other ev­ery day and both knew what the other was go­ing through.

Now, our ba­bies are a year old. Carter loves Paw

Pa­trol and Mila-rose loves Peppa Pig.

They sit hap­pily watch­ing TV to­gether and some­times even hold hands. I know that they’ll be just as close as Leanne and I are.

Peo­ple still can’t be­lieve it when we tell them how we went through labour to­gether.

But Leanne and I have al­ways done ev­ery­thing at the same time, so it’s no sur­prise that we gave birth to our ba­bies within just a few hours of each other!

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