I met Costas at a party, so randomly, it was meant to be. It felt magical from the very beginning. We were together for four years when we decided to get married and another four and a half years later, I gave birth to our twins. Costas and I have traveled the world together and we always knew we would continue doing so with our boys so we immediately looked forward to those memories we would have together!
When I first became pregnant, I worried because there was some spotting. I meditated a lot to relax. The first ultra sound was the ultimate relaxation though: seeing two babies in my womb, hearing two strong beating hearts... it brought tears of joy to our eyes! It is indeed a miracle.
I knew I would give birth early, as I had small complications early on. So I prepared myself for time in the NICU, talking with other NICU Moms, reading stories, seeing pictures of preemies. I also prepared myself for breastfeeding preemies. I gave birth via C-section at 33 weeks because my Orpheas was running out of amniotic fluid. He peed on the doctors and screamed so hard the moment he was born that we instantly knew he was healthy. He was born 1580 grams and George was 1950 grams. Neither of them needed any oxygen and there were no further complications, thank goodness. They drank my milk (from syringes) like champions and were gaining weight, but they were tiny. The NICU policy did not allow them to be released before they reached 2300 grams, so they stayed in for longer than I could bear. I pumped every 3 hours night and day and visited them to touch them. When they were moved out of incubators to beds, I was also allowed to hold them and later nurse them. It still feels terrible, knowing that MY kids were separated from me and from each other the moment they were born. It all felt very unfair. I was, however, very lucky to be able to breastfeed them exclusively despite being preemies, which was a great win for me!
The first two years were a big adjustment for us with two young kids at once. I work as a freelance linguist/ Greek language specialist and also as a travel blogger, which has offered us many amazing opportunities to explore our home country of Greece and many places abroad. Eventually we found a very good routine and when the twins were in daycare. I divided my time between working, cooking, working out, doing chores around the house and running errands. My husband worked long hours (pre-COVID), so I took care of everything. He was in charge of dinner and putting the kids to bed every night, so I was happy with that set up! Also, I had a cleaning lady once a week and the sitter twice a week for some Mom alone time outside the apartment, things were finally smoothing out and life became a bit 'normal again'.
That is until the corona crisis quickly changed our daily life in Athens, Greece on the 13th of March. The daycare closed, our help at home (babysitter and cleaner) were no longer allowed to come to our home and most of my work disappeared as the brands I work with paused their promotions and the travel industry came to a screeching halt. My husband worked from home full-time from the 16th of March until end of April, so we divided chores, errands and child care 50-50 to try to still keep a good balance despite the big changes which happened to our usual routine.
Early May, Greece started opening up. Costas went back to work and I started working on my blog again. But I also stay home with the twins, as schools in Greece are still closed, so everything changed again. I work out early in the morning (or sleep late) while my husband makes breakfast for the twins. Then hubby goes to work and I stay with the twins. I take them out for a walk when lunch preparations don’t take much time, or I cook while they entertain themselves. We have lunch at 13:30. Then, I do some chores, and I work while the kids watch TV. When Costas gets back from work, he takes the kids out to the nearby farm or to our garden, they ride their scooters or bicycles and run around a bit. Then we make dinner and Costas puts the kids to bed while I work on the blog or run errands. At least, the cleaner is back now to help which I'm very happy about!
The hardest part of the COVID crisis has been not having any time for myself around the house anymore and having to adapt to living just like I lived when the twins were between newborns to two years olds, only they are not. They don’t nap anymore, they don’t like everything I cook these days and taking them out for a walk is not easy anymore. Entertaining them in a city apartment for the past months has been a challenge! Also, cooking every day is something that I’ve never done before. After lockdown, things are even more difficult, as my husband is no longer around and I have to work, while taking care of the house, the cooking and the kids.
As parents and partners, we both have had our ups and downs the past months. The downs arose mostly because we both run our own businesses, meaning that we didn’t have a guaranteed salary to count on while on lockdown. Overall though, this time has impacted our relationship for the better. We really enjoy each other’s company and it seems we are actually used to entertaining ourselves at home, since I spent my pregnancy mostly inside. The best thing I picked up during this time was starting to run outdoors again (which was allowed in our area) and I even ended up training for the next 10K!
You can follow Anna on Instagram @dreamista.twins.and.travels
Read about her many travels on her blog: https://dreamista.gr/en/