My babies,

I thought I was prepared for motherhood. I had plenty of practice with your 14 big cousins, after all. I've watched your aunts and uncles, my siblings, parent their kids for years before you two arrived and so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. (Or at least had a pretty solid idea of it.) However, you, my babies, made sure to teach me all about the surprises of motherhood from the very beginning.

At our first ultrasound together, I was shocked to learn you weren't one, but two babies! In that moment—April Fools' Day of all days!— everything I had anticipated about motherhood and our journey together changed.

Our adventure from then to today, our first Mother's Day together, has been the most wonderful rollercoaster full of surprises.

Pregnancy surprised me.

Together, we endured months of morning (more like all day) sickness. The two of you stretched my body until I thought it couldn't possibly stretch any more, only to learn that, yes, it could. You made my body a home, growing and thriving within me, for a whole 38-weeks and five days. I felt you push each other, roll around, hiccup and stretch. It all still blows my mind.

I heard your hearts beat alongside my own, and I dreamed of what life would be like with you on the outside.

Your birth surprised me, and was not necessarily what I had anticipated.

I labored at home for a good portion of the day and was shocked to find out I was already 6cm dilated when I got to the hospital. While in labor, I learned that when I trusted my body it was able to do amazing things. I didn't expect everything to go so smoothly, delivering both of you vaginally and unmedicated. And I also didn't expect to lose two liters of blood in the process, which led immediately to two transfusions and my first experience with total hit-by-a-truck exhaustion.

But our love—the pure, crying-just-because, want-to-eat-your-face, never-felt-this-way-before—love that overloaded my system and coursed through my veins was what surprised me the most that day we first met.

Crying over poop surprised me.

Yes, happy tears over your poop, if you can believe it! Because on your seventh day of life, you finally pooped at home and I felt such relief staring at your diaper, tears streaming down my face. (I didn't know how emotional bowel movements could be.)

Attempts to breastfeed two of you, and everything that went along with it, surprised me.

Juggling triple feeds took some getting used to—nurse, pump, feed by tube, rest for 20 minutes, repeat. Watching your dad thread a nasogastric (NG) tube over his finger and into your tiny mouths so you could eat (but also still attempt a latch) filled me with both love and frustration, sometimes at the same time. Making the decision to switch to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding was more emotional than I would have ever thought.

But the increased love and support your dad showed to me during that time was a beautiful silver-lining to the challenges of our new parent learning curve. I've always thought your dad and I were a great team, but the intensity of dedication and level of teamwork between us since your arrival has been so pleasantly surprising. We're closer than we've ever been and I think it's because you two are teaching us so much.

Once I switched to pumping full-time, that surprised me in and of itself.

It's hard to put into words the satisfaction I felt when I filled up two 9oz bottles for the first time. I feel so much pride each time I add a bag of milk into our deep freezer after I pump. I never thought I could feel so proud of any type of milk! It still surprises me every day, that we have come this far—six months and counting.

Your personalities have surprised me.

My once calm and relaxed "Baby A," you are now spunky, wiry, giggly and constantly on the move. And my once rambunctious "Baby B," you are calm, cool, snuggly and are always on the lookout for your next bottle. I can't wait to watch you learn and grow into the beautiful people you're destined to be—and I have a feeling you'll both continue to surprise us every single day for the rest of our lives.

Getting through the tough days continuously surprises me.

I often don't think I can do it, but every time, I do. We do. Because we're a team.

I knew I was going to be surprised by motherhood, of course, but I didn't know just *how* surprised. Thank you, my babies, for giving me the greatest adventure of my life.

I love you forever,