‘Who’s that?’ I turn the camera to reveal not one, but two babies. ‘We kept it a secret Dad!!’: Mom to 5 surprises dad battling prostate cancer with newborn twins, now family of 9

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“‘Make sure you call me and let me know what it is.’ ‘Yes Nan, I will do.’

Over the past 3 years, myself and my Nana Mabel had become really close. She was a woman of legends, 95 and still going strong; she had been through so much in her long life and I admired her. She still believed she was this young 20-something-year-old heart throb that all the boys fancied and always gave a cheeky wink to a good looking fella.

My Nan and I were similar in many ways. We always looked on the bright side of things. Even in her 90’s, my Nan would be seen pulling a pint and cracking a joke with the locals. That’s where I met Craig, in 2008, when Harry was 3 and Mia 6. It was my first pub I ran independently of the rest of the family. I split up from Mia and Harry’s Dad, moved into the pub, and continued to work. Craig was there to offer a well-needed hand in some of the more ‘manly jobs.’ He had drunk in the pub since he was a boy, so the familiarity was a big help.

I carried on in various pubs for a little while after, but as the pub trades goes, nothing was certain. The pub was sold from underneath me by the brewery, leaving me jobless and homeless just before Christmas. This was a difficult time, the time I needed my friends and family. I had never felt so alone. If it hadn’t been for Craig by my side, I don’t know what I would have done. I moved into our new home and set about my way to building a new life. This time with Craig as a partner. Some time went by and something wasn’t right. Could we be pregnant? Surely not? Craig didn’t want children; he used to put up a wall and say he wasn’t daddy material.

Tattooed couple pose for a photo together in a pub
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

The test was positive! Nine months later, our beautiful Henry was born August 2012 and he could not be more perfect. This hard, cold man turned into putty; the look he had in his eyes when Henry was born will stay with me forever. We carried on with our normal life and then in January 2014 we welcomed another son, Teddy. Again, he was the apple of daddy’s eye and he loved the bones out of him and still does. Teddy is one of the most lovable little boys you will ever meet and the name Teddy is quite fitting as he is a big, soft, cuddly teddy bear.

Young brothers wear matching pajamas that say "Do not disturb"
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

For Henry, things have been a little bit difficult over the years. We started to notice many differences with Henry, and in 2019, he was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. This has become something we as a family live with on a daily basis. Henry is just incredible. How he deals with things, thinking outside the box and not thinking the normal way as everybody else does must be very challenging, but he is ray of sunshine and I am so very proud of him. The years rolled by and I moved houses. My older children became young independent adults; time went by so quickly. I landed a new job at the local school as a cook. I got to see my children and all the other kids’ faces every day, but we were desperate for another child and for some reason I was finding it difficult to fall pregnant again.

Couple hug two of their sons in tropical photoshoot
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

I was referred to a specialist for a checkup just to make sure everything was okay. I walked into the room and sat down with the doctor. I explained the situation and she asked me, ‘Jaimie, when was your last period?’ I gave her the details and she looked at me with a strange look . ‘That makes 6 days late.’ That was nothing to me, 6 days late…things have been a bit stressful, I just didn’t really think about it. She asked me to do a pregnancy test. She came back into the room with a big smile on her face and said, ‘I think you need to go home and tell your partner the good news.’

January 2020, our third beautiful little boy Reggie was born at Colchester hospital. He’s such a cutie! He has the most gorgeous smile and he fit perfectly into our family. I was so glad Nan got to meet Reggie. When I called to tell her, she said, ‘Well, what did you have?’ ‘I had a little boy Nan, Reggie.’ She sat holding Reggie, looking into his eyes and said to me, ‘You’re catching up with me, Jaimie. You’re going to have 7.’ I laughed, ‘Yeah, okay Nan.’ Nan passed away in February 2020 and I miss her every day.

Woman poses with her grandmother and her newborn baby boy
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris
Mom of five takes photo of all her babies, ages varying widely
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

Reggie continued to thrive; I was feeding him myself when he was eight months old. But soon, I started to worry there was something wrong with me. I was increasingly putting on weight and feeling extremely tired, so both Craig and I looked at each other and thought, ‘No, possibly not, we can’t be?’ We bought a test…oh my God, it was positive! ‘Can you believe it?’ I contacted the hospital and I was given a date for my first scan.

August 2020, I turn up to Colchester hospital full of anxiety wondering, ‘Am I making this up, is everything okay?’ How far along am I? What date did I fall pregnant? I was called into the room; the lights were dimmed and I was asked to confirm my name and date of birth. When I’m nervous I tend to talk a lot, so I was chatting away to the sonographer, explaining to her that I only had Reggie in January and all of my children had been Caesarean section so I was worried this time about the risks and scar adhesions. She put the cold jelly on my tummy and started to scan…there was something wrong! She looked at her colleague and her colleague looked at me. Then, she put the probe down and looked at me. ‘I’m not sure how to tell you this, Jaimie, but there’s two in there!’

‘Oh my God!’ I screamed, I cried, I screamed, I cried. I said, ‘No, it can’t be.’ I said, ‘No really, are you sure?’ I just didn’t know what to say; I sat in that room for 10 minutes in tears not knowing if they were tears of joy or tears of fear. I wasn’t sure what to do, I just went totally blank. They continued to scan and everything was okay and then she explained to me it looked like my due date was going to be the beginning of February 2021. Again, another shock. I didn’t have long to prepare how was I going to compose myself to make the phone call to Craig to tell him it was twins.

My phone dings; it’s a message from Craig. ‘Everything okay? Do I not get a picture?’ I reply, ‘No pictures due to Covid, they are emailing scan pictures. Leaving now, see you soon.’ I walked through the back door and into the living room where Craig was sitting. He could tell something wasn’t right because he was looking at me up and down. ‘Well, is everything okay?’ I reached into my maternity folder and took out the scan pictures and handed them to him.

He looked at them curiously; he held them upside down, back to front, to the right and to the left, looked at me, looked at the scan picture, then he freaked out. His face was that of pure shock. ‘How the hell did that happen?’ At that point, I laughed. We both couldn’t believe it, we both sat there laughing and crying and laughing and crying, not sure what to make of it all.

Couple take selfie outside, husband wearing a popart Darth Vader "I am your father" shirt
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

The next few months were crazy. I had to attend all of my appointments on my own due to Covid. Craig was unable to experience any of the twin clinics with me, which was a real shame. But all the staff at Colchester was just fantastic. The time came to tell close family and friends that we were pregnant. Unfortunately, my dad Michael had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment. He found this extremely stressful and it was painful to watch him going through such a difficult time. I was scared about telling him about the pregnancy, especially so close to having Reggie. We told him we were pregnant and the baby was due in January. He couldn’t believe it. He thought we were nuts and all he said was, ‘Let’s hope it’s a girl this time.’

As time went on, I started to show. I wasn’t massive but it was obvious I was pregnant. I’m a fairly big girl anyway, but seem to carry quite well. They decided to bring me into the hospital for a planned Caesarean section at 36 weeks due to having previous sections, the most recent being less than a year ago. They were concerned my scar could open up. The day I arrived I was so nervous. I was so worried, but I didn’t need to be. The staff were absolutely brilliant. Craig dropped me off at the door to the maternity ward at the hospital, went back to his car to sit and wait for the call. I remember my midwife being called Denise and she was great.

I was then called down to the theatre to be prepped and Craig was called. He came to the waiting area and sat while I had my spinal. I lay down on the table and waited; Craig came in and sat next to me and held my hand. ‘Everything will be okay, it’s all fine.’ In a crowded operating theatre, we were all laughing and joking as to what the gender would be…at 11:24 a.m. on the 11th of January 2021, Betty Vera entered the world screaming and yelling. I was so overjoyed, finally a girl! I was so happy and that look in Craig’s eye that he’d finally got his baby girl was just amazing. At 11:26 a.m., little Bertie entered the world. He was a little smaller than Betty, but still had a good set of lungs on him. The were both just perfect. I was then taken through to recovery.

Dad holds newborn twins while mom lays on the operating table after her C-section
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

Craig was able to stay with me for about 40 minutes while all my observations were done. At that point, I got taken to the ward and Craig had to leave the hospital and go home. It was heartbreaking; I wanted him to spend time with us on our own at the hospital, time we would never get back. Unfortunately, Covid restrictions did not allow us to. Instead, we kept in contact all the time for FaceTime calls. Friends and family asked for pictures, they wanted to know all the details. We sent them pictures of Bertie, yet again another boy. They were all so happy for us that everything went okay, but we still had the secret that we had to reveal to everybody.

Newborn twins sleep while wrapped up in blankets at the hospital
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

Two nights in the hospital and the babies were doing brilliant. I was able to go home; I was so pleased to get out of there and spend some time all together. Our first reveal was to our children. While Henry and Teddy were at school, we positioned Mia And Harry and handed them Bertie. Both were overjoyed at the arrival of their baby brother. Craig appeared around the door and placed Betty in the other arm of Mia…’What? Are you joking me??? You had twins???’ They were both gobsmacked. Henry and Teddy returned from school, same set up both having cuddles with Bertie…’What’s going on here, then?’ Henry had a few ‘choice words,’ but they too were again overjoyed. It was time to plan the reveal to my dad.

Mom of seven snaps a photo of all her children sitting together on the couch, including her newborn twins
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

My dad had called regularly just to make sure everything was okay. He was busy back at work after ending his treatment. His wife was working in a home where they had an outbreak of Covid, so they were absolutely gutted they weren’t able to meet us or able to see the babies. I told dad I would give him a Facetime call on Friday, as both him and his wife were at home, so he could see Bertie. We tried to set the scene. I called my dad and he answered. I see his happy face and I told him Bertie was doing really well and turned the camera round to show him Bertie. The whole time, Craig is out of the room with Betty. I then turn the camera round again and continue to talk, Craig slips Betty on the pillow next to her baby brother. I turn the camera again, revealing two babies. ‘Who’s that?’ dad asks. ‘Well dad, we tried to keep it a secret, but this is your granddaughter, Betty. We had twins!!’

Grandfather proudly holds his newborn grandbabies, surprised by twins
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

My dad breaks down in tears, happy tears, he was so thrilled and over the moon. Finally, we’ve got a little girl. Also, there was two! He was so, so happy. I managed to capture this beautiful moment on screen recording and have posted it on the Colchester maternity page. The comments were just amazing. It then hit YouTube. Henry said, ‘Mom, put it on Tik Tok, see if you get a virus.’ Meaning see if it goes viral. And it did, it exploded!!! It’s currently at 1.8 million views and the response has been incredible.

Newborn twins give the camera toothless smiles with their blankets tied together like a knot, representing their bond
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

We feel so privileged to have such a beautiful, healthy family. It’s hectic, as you can imagine (and we need shares in a nappy company), but I truly believe my sole purpose in life was to be a mom. I may not be the best – some friends call me Supermom – but I love it and wouldn’t change it for all the tea in China. My greatest motto which I use regularly is, ‘In life, there is never a problem, it’s just a challenge.’ My bedroom wall reads, ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm, it’s learning how to dance in the rain.’ That sums me up. So Nan, I know you’re up there laughing! Yes, you were right – we are two peas in a pod and yes, I have 7 children…and finally a little girl, too!”

Mom snaps a close-up photo of her baby twins while they lay on the carpeted floor
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris
Mom poses for a photo with her seven children, with her two oldest standing on either side of her and each holding her newborn twins
Courtesy of Jaimie Harris

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jaimie Harris of Sudbury, Suffolk. You can follow their journey on Facebook, Tik Tok, and YouTube. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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