"ARE you serious? It can't be true."
Dee Why couple Pamela Gelo, 32 and Daniele Forestiero, 31, vividly remember the moment that they found out they were having twins. They'd talked about kids and were going to start trying in 2021, but were surprised to find they had fallen pregnant, and with twins!
"I was six weeks pregnant when I had the scan and I went into the room by myself because of COVID. I said 'don't tell me I'm having twins' because I could see two little eggs. I just wanted to make sure about what I'd seen," Pamela said.
With confirmation she was indeed expecting twins, Daniele was brought into the room and told the news. "When I found out I couldn't speak for a week," he said. "I was like 'Are you serious? It can't be true'. We had to rearrange everything."
As Mother's Day approaches this Sunday, the couple will be celebrating the special day for the first time with twins Noah and Shanti, who were born on April 6, nine months after a romantic holiday in Byron Bay.
The Italian-born couple from Rome first arrived in Australia in 2014 as backpackers on a working holiday and fell in love with Australia. With friends already in the northern beaches, they settled here and have called Dee Why home for the past 2.5 years.
After a problem-free pregnancy, Pamela had a planned caesarean section and Noah was born first at 2.096 kilograms and 43 centimetres. Five minutes later, Shanti arrived weighing 2.580kg and measuring 47cm. Shanti means peace and calm.
"It was weird at the beginning, all of a sudden you find two babies on you. When you have twins on your chest it's just an amazing feeling," she said. "We were this young couple living here on the northern beaches and now we've got a full family."
For Daniele, the birth was very moving: "I cut the umbilical cord, it was very emotional, it was beautiful."
Life has changed in every way in the month since Noah and Shanti were born. "We did panic a little bit at first," Pamela said. "I didn't really eat that first day [at home] because I was so worried."
Daniele admits that routine and planning are absolutely vital now, "that's the difference between having one and two babies, it's really all team work".
When you have twins on your chest it's just an amazing feeling.Pamela Gelo
These days, Pamela said it takes double the time to do things, her hands are always full, there's barely enough time to eat and she worries about not being able to give each child enough individual attention, but she wouldn't change a thing.
"All the little challenges are paid off by the love that you get," she said.
Like their namesakes, the twins are peaceful and calm. They love to eat, sleep and cuddle, especially with their Dad.
With one boy and one girl, Pamela said she's "done" and isn't planning to add to her brood in the future.
"At least I'm only having one lot of everything - the sleep deprivation, the swollen legs, morning sickness," she said.
Pamela and Daniele say the Dee Why community has given them a lot of support. "It's a great community and people are willing to help. We're very lucky to be here at the moment," Pamela said.
Joining the club
Pamela and Daniele are among more than 170 members of the Northern Beaches Multiple Birth Club and they often seek support from fellow parents.
The club has been supporting multiple mums, dads and expectant parents since 1977 and president Bronwyn Bruzzano said there's understanding there that parents of a single child don't always get.
"I have eight-year-old triplets, identical boys and a girl," she said. "The whole reason we exist is to help people who feel isolated and who don't think they can leave home because you've got two newborns. It's about rocking up with screaming newborns, looking like you've just got out of bed and knowing that you'll be supported.
"My advice is to listen to people's advice, but find your own rhythm because not everything works for everyone."
Multiple births in Australia
- 1.5 per cent (or 4501) of pregnancies resulted in a multiple birth, remaining relatively consistent over the past decade.
- 55 of these pregnancies were triplets or higher order.
Data for 2019 from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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