The moment the test came back positive, Jenny counted on her fingers. December 25th. Just her luck, her child will suffer from not having a separate day to celebrate their birthday on. Before she even told Bill, or her parents, she'd declared to herself that this child, yet the size of a pea, would always feel that Christmas was about them, that they had not only their presents beneath the Christmas tree, like every other child, but there'd also be birthday presents, and cake.
When she told Bill, she almost blurted out that he needed to promise to keep the two Christmas and their child's birthday separate, no matter what.
It was during the first ultrasound when her plan became more complicated. Twins. She'd heard horror stories of twin births, and then the relentlessness of raising twins. However, she was most concerned about the practicalities of baking two cakes, as she desperately wanted her twins to feel independently that this was their day.
Feeling like a bloated hippopotamus, it relieved Jenny when Christmas came and went without a murmur from the twins. There were the joyful kicks to her belly, mostly by Alfie. Ella was more sedate, even before taking her first breath. She did not waste all those nights fretting about how to organise Christmas and two birthdays. There'd still be only a matter of a day or two. Although it made it easier. Christmas was to be Christmas, and the twins' birthday just that.
Those days between Christmas that year and New Year's were a blur for Jenny. The heatwave that seemed to bake everything was a world away as she lay in bed, unable to move. The air-conditioner fixed on full the entire time.
As a relief, her waters broke, and she and Bill rushed to the hospital. All afternoon she pushed and breathed, feeling her insides being kneaded by every movement. In the blur of it all, she remembers in the storm's eye, between births, Bill kissing her, wishing her a happy new year.
In the months to come, Jenny realised that Alfie, already the tear away, could go out on New Year's eve and really celebrate his birthday. She imagines Ella, the more introspective one, of taking in the new year as her birthright, a true celebration of rebirth.