By now, virtually everyone knows that Celine Dion recently gave birth to a pair of healthy baby boys. Strangely, it took Celine and hubby Rene almost an entire week to name the newest additions to their family — a fact which prompted Madeline Holler to ask the famous couple a question: What took you so long?
Some extremely sad news which recently surfaced has suddenly left me with a question that I’d like to ask Celine and Rene: Why do you refer to your newborns as twins?
During an interview with Quebec TV’s eTalk, the singer revealed that the couple had actually been expecting triplets. But early in the pregnancy, one of the embryo’s hearts stopped beating. As Dion put it, “he chose to let go to give space to his brothers to grow.”
The news really hit home for me. Though not quite as old as Dion (42), my wife — at 38 — wasn’t exactly a spring chicken when she was carrying our triplets. Given her age and her petite frame (she’s 5’2″ and 110 pounds soaking wet), we didn’t need the doctor to tell us the obvious — Caroline’s pregnancy was going to be difficult, not to mention high-risk. As a result, at all points during that pregnancy, anxiety was the norm.
And for good reason. Caroline was on bed rest for a grand total of 10 weeks — a four-week at-home stint sandwiched in between two separate hospitalized stints. Before her first hospital stay, when she was just 27 weeks along, Caroline was experiencing as many as 20 contractions per hour. Her body wanted to go into labor. And there was a good chance it would do just that. But, statistically speaking, if it had, a happy ending was far from guaranteed — a fact we understood all too well as we grasped tightly onto one another’s hands in her hospital room, breaking only to wipe away our fretful tears. Ultimately, we were lucky. Thanks to a heroic effort, fantastic doctors and a whole lot of luck, my incredible wife carried our little guys just over 36 weeks. And on September 29, 2007, Caroline gave birth to three beautiful, healthy babies — two boys and a girl.
On that proud day, as well as all the anxious ones which preceded it, our triplets had always been just that to us — triplets. No matter what — even if the unthinkable had happened. I say that with utter certainty. And apparently we aren’t the only ones with such a philosophy.
As we waited in the OB/GYN’s lobby before one of Caroline’s appointments, a young lady in her mid-20s sat down directly across from us. She was holding an infant wrapped carefully in a baby-blue receiving blanket.
“How old’s your baby?” my wife asked.
“Six weeks,” she answered with a thick Southern drawl. “He’s a twin,” she continued as she looked adoringly at her newborn.
“Aww,” Caroline said. “Where’s his twin?”
“He didn’t make it,” she answered, slowly nodding her head while squinting her eyes and forcing out a tough-luck smile. “He died three days after they were born.”
Given our experiences, we didn’t have to ask the woman why she referred to her little boy as a twin. He simply was one. So why, I wonder, are Celine Dion and Rene Angelil not referring to their newborns as triplets? It appears to me (as I think it would to most other parents of multiples) that her boys are exactly that.
To be fair, perhaps Dion and Angelil do refer to them as triplets, and I just don’t realize it. Perhaps the media’s widespread use of the term “twins” has only made it appear as if the couple refers to them as such.
Or, maybe they do consider their boys to be twins. And what’s more, maybe if Caroline had lost one of our triplets early during her pregnancy (I have a hard time even typing that), we, too, would have referred to our two babies as twins.
But I doubt it. While I sometimes worry that the “Osborne triplets” (as some have taken to calling them) will have a hard time breaking free of that moniker and establishing their own identities, I ultimately realize that such a challenge is part and parcel of who they are. They’re triplets. And they always will be.
No matter what.
More Strollerderby posts from John Cave Osborne:
Story of Teenage Drug Addiction — Henry’s Story — to Air on TV
Department of Education — Teachers Can Be Held Accountable for Bullying
Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld Calls Work-Life Balance Misnomer
Ad Campaign to Sell Dads on Fatherhood
Six Tips for Making Your Children’s Virtual World a Safer One