Our way of life can’t be called ordinary. We’re travellers. We explore new cities, staying one month in each one. Another month – another city. And that’s the way we’ve been living for many years.
At the beginning of our life together, when there were just two of us, we realized that travelling is our vocation. Within several years, we managed to travel around the whole of Europe and considerable part of Asia. Having gained enough experience in travel organization, we decided we were ready to have a baby. We didn’t intend to change our usual nomadic life. We could easily imagine travelling with a newborn baby. Having mulled over everything, we decided that at first, we wouldn’t travel very far, and as our kid would be growing, we would be able to travel farther.
We discovered the joyful news about Helen’s pregnancy while we were staying in Paris. Although she started to feel a bit worse due to early toxicosis, we kept on exploring the city and living on the move. Our next stop was Barcelona, where toxicosis got so severe that Helen often had to walk around the city only through Michael’s photos and stories, so Michael was exploring the city alone for both of them…
Helen had her first ultrasound in Saint Petersburg. That’s when we found out that she was expecting twins! We were happy but also startled, as we understood that all our plans were to crumble, and we would have to change our habitual way of life.
Helen’s pregnancy wasn’t easy, and the unstable weather in Saint Petersburg made Helen feel even worse causing migraine attacks. We needed to go somewhere with a sea, the sun, and mild warm climate. We chose Sicily. Within a day, Helen began to feel better and her migraine attacks were gone. What’s more, Helen was able to swim in the sea every day, which helped her ease her backache a bit. However, six weeks later it was getting colder and we had to consider another move.
Our babies were due in winter, so we needed a country with warm climate and, of course, first-class health services. We settled on Cyprus and moved there straight away. We rented a flat in Limassol, near the sea. It was important, because swimming was the only exercise Helen could do, as her baby bump was so huge by that time that she – being petite – could barely walk.
We signed a maternity care contract with a hospital in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. It’s situated very close to Limassol – it’s about an hour’s drive.
The Birth of Twins
Helen had regular ultrasound, and one of them uncovered pregnancy complications, life-threatening to our babies. An immediate C-section was necessary for saving them, which was two months before their due date… We had to move to Nicosia instantly and rent a flat closer to the hospital.
When our boys were born, they were tiny and seemed almost transparent. Michael Jr’s weight was 1.8 kg (3.9 lb), and Robert’s weight was 1.1 kg (2.4 lb). They both were immediately put into humidicribs and taken to the neonatal intensive care unit of the state children’s hospital. Michael Sr rushed to them while Helen had to remain in hospital to recover.
The first week after our kids’ birth was very hard both for them and for us. We realized that instead of the mother’s love they had to face the unknown and frightening surroundings. Nurses, doctors, noise, other kids’ cries, adults’ conversations around… Our boys were in closed humidicribs, numerous body sensors were connected to them, they were getting frequent blood tests. The doctors didn’t forecast anything, so there were uncertainty and anxiety in the air. We had no idea how everything would end, so we were ready almost for everything, even for the worst…
When the first week was over, the condition of the children remained stable. We were allowed to visit them twice a day – one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. We couldn’t either take them into our arms or hug them – they were lying in closed humidicribs. The only thing we could do was to lay a hand on their head and stand like this for a long-long time without moving… That was our first contact with our sons.
Thanks to the intensive care and the doctors’ competence, the boys were recovering quickly and gaining weight. Michael Jr was growing faster while Robert was growing a bit slower. Michael Jr stayed in the closed humidicrib for two weeks and then in the open-care crib for one week.
In the very beginning, Robert looked quite unusually and was more like an alien with a big head, tiny arms and legs. Only four months later, he started to look like a normal human baby.
When Michael Jr gained enough weight, he was moved from the humidicrib to the open-care crib. We enjoyed the opportunity to cuddle him and couldn’t wait to hug little Robert as well.
Our beginning. Part 2 – how we moved to a new house