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Baby Shower StorkThird Baby Shower
and Having Twins

By A. Fitzgerald

It was my third pregnancy, and I was expecting twins.  My younger sister, who also had twins, wanted to throw a baby shower for me.  I was touched by her offer, but I wondered if it was really appropriate to have a baby shower the third time around.  I still needed baby items, like another high chair and diaper genie, just as I did with my first baby.  More importantly, though, I longed for a somewhat more public celebration of my pregnancy and the impending birth of two new souls. 

After talking through the idea with my husband, we decided to have an informal, co-ed baby shower, inviting all of our friends and family to our house for a cookout.  My sister mailed out invitations that she designed herself.  In the invitations, she indicated that we were happy to have our guests give gifts from the heart, rather than the pocketbook.  Registry information was listed, as well, for those who felt more comfortable with traditional gifts.

As decoration for the shower, my sister created streamers of hand-folded origami cranes in rainbow-hued paper.  Each crane had a small bell hanging below it, and the cranes stretched out on fishing line all around the outdoor patio where everyone gathered for the cookout.  Other than table cloths, potted flowers, and a few candles, the crane streamers were the only decoration.  It was beautiful in its simplicity and symbolism. 

Friends socialized in small groups, eating hors d’oeuvres and drinking punch and beer.  Kids played tag, running in and out and around the 100-year-old boxwoods surrounding our farm house.  Dogs lay underfoot, snoozing in the late afternoon sun or pushing their noses under hands to solicit a pat.  My husband manned the grill, cooking chicken, shrimp and vegetable shish kebobs.  Folk music played through the outdoor speakers.  I found a comfortable chair and planted my enormously pregnant self in the midst of all the activity, drinking in the true family atmosphere of our shower.

After everyone had eaten their fill, and as the sun began to set, we sat in mismatched chairs in a zigzagging circle.  Guests presented their gifts to me and my husband, rather than having us grab them from an anonymous stack of boxes.  A musician friend wrote a beautiful song which he sang for us with guitar accompaniment.  A writer friend read a poem she had composed in honor of our burgeoning family.  Another friend, an artist, wanted to try her hand at sewing, and she crafted two incredible bath robes in lime green and violet terrycloth. 

My uncle carved and shaped silky wooden rattles, using walnut from trees cut on our property.  Some of my husband’s close friends gifted us with “guy gifts” like Dallas Cowboys baby jerseys and baby cowboy booties.  My grandmother, in her 90s, made the two last quilts of her lifetime, yellow, pink and violet squares with a benevolent, smiling sun in the corner.  Our older children drew pictures and made sweet cards for us, depicting our new family of six.

Some friends and family offered the gift of their services.  My brother-in-law offered to mow our lawn for two months.  Another friend gave us the gift of her professional massage services.  My mother said she would provide dinner for us for an entire month.  My husband’s boss even gave him an extra week of family leave time, with full pay.

And, yes, we got that diaper genie and extra high chair we needed, too.  But that day, for us, was so much more about family and friends, spending time celebrating together before our days were consumed with diapers and feedings and sleepless nights.  And, in so many ways, the day of our baby shower, one of warmth and celebration, helped us to make it through those difficult early days and nights with newborn twins.  We knew others (like my sister and her husband) had gone before us and survived, and we knew that we had a secure network of friends and family, allies, when we needed a helping hand.

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