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