They may be twins, but they won’t be sharing a birthday.When Lily Tait popped into the world just after 11pm at Borders General Hospital little brother – as he will now be known – Charlie wasn’t quite ready. So when he decided to arrive fashionably late, it meant the siblings were actually born on different days.
First-time parents Carly McLeod and David Tait from Prior Park in Berwick were overjoyed when they discovered last year that they were expecting twins, even more so when they found out they would be getting one of each. “I really, really wanted a boy and a girl,” explained David, an identical twin himself.
“It’s what I wanted too,” Carly added. “And to be honest I kind of knew I’d end up having twins, particularly with David being one. But for some reason I was convinced I’d have two boys. I’ve ended up with what we were hoping for so we’re both very happy.
“I was quite out of it while I was in labour, but I do remember looking at the clock after Lily had come out and I thought to myself this is going to be hard.”
Although it is not unusual for twins to be born a small time apart from each other, when Charlie made his mum and dad wait for an extra hour, taking Carly’s labour into the next day, it was a rather special occasion for the staff at BGH in Melrose who helped deliver the twins.
Carly is quite pleased that her baby son made a late appearance, however, because it means both children can have their own time in the spotlight when it comes to birthdays.
“It makes them a bit more individual,” she says. “For their first few birthdays we’ll probably just celebrate them as one, but I can’t imagine they will want to share their 18th and 21sts. Thankfully we’ve got a good few years to think about those!
“I joked all the way through my pregnancy that I’d end up having them on two separate days, and for the sake of Charlie waiting an extra five minutes I did!
“People have been asking us if they’re still classed as twins with them being born over an hour apart and on different days and they most definitely are.
“Someone at the hospital said that they’d heard of a woman giving birth to twins 61 days apart, so if they can still be classed as twins after 61 days difference then Charlie and Lily definitely can after an hour. That poor woman, though. I don’t think I could have gone through that!”
As well as being born on two separate days, the apples of Carly and David’s eyes were three weeks premature when they arrived on April 19 and 20, but six weeks on the proud parents are happy to report that both twins are doing really well.
David said: “They’ve been no bother so far. They only really wake up when they want feeding. Apart from that they’ve not been screaming the house down or anything!”
Carly joked: “They’re not as hard work as I thought they would be. I think if we already had another child it might have been tough, but because they’re our first and we know no different it’s been fine.” Carly, who works at Tete a Tete hairdressers in Tweedmouth, said her pregnancy was easier than expected and said there were no indication that one baby would be stubborn and hang around a bit longer before making their grand entrance.
“It was quite a good pregnancy really, I can’t complain too much,” she said. “I managed to work quite far into it and I didn’t have any problems apart from the usual.”
Dr Brian Magowan, consultant obstetrician at the BGH who looks after twins antenatally, explained why it is hard to predict just how long twins will take to enter the world. While appearing an hour apart from each other isn’t common for twins, he said it isn’t completely unheard of.”
“There is very little research to guide us as to the correct interval between twins, so in general we try and allow the baby to come naturally providing all is well with the heartbeat monitoring,” said Dr Magowan. “An hour is rather above the average, I would guess, but not particularly unusual. I have seen twins born more than four weeks apart, but that’s very exceptional indeed.”
Fiona McDonald, the midwife who was looking the twins’ mother, and Dr Ida Ismail-Pratt who delivered the twins, remember them well. “They were a lovely couple,” said Fiona, “and it was very exciting when we realised that they were going to have different birthdays.”