Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Oh Doctor, Come Back, There's Another One... It's Twins!

My adorable baby twin sisters, Farah and Faiza.

In August 1967, my mum went to Arusha from Dar-es-Salaam for her brother's wedding.  My dad picked her up and they went on Safari to a place called Momella. Soon after that, she found out she was pregnant!
August 1967.
My parents and I with my dad's oldest brother in a safari suit on the right, Uncle Mohamed (Asani)
Between having a one and a half year old and spending busy days on the beach, my mum had a fairly easy pregnancy. Nowhere along the way did she have any inkling that she was having twins. She had to go into town for her doctor's appointments with Dr. Khalid Khan. We didn't have a car, so she'd get a ride with Misha, my dad's boss who went into town every morning. It was a 20 minute ride, part of which was unpaved. The doctor didn't recommend any vitamins, none at all, all he said was she didn't need Vitamin D because they had lots of sun! Her cravings were oranges, tangerines and runner beans!

I had my second birthday on April 9, 1968 in a pretty little yellow dress specially ordered from my mum's cousin, Nargis in England. A day later, my mum had back pains and a friend, Bhaturio picked her up to drive her into town to the doctor. It wasn't time yet though and the doctor asked her to stay in the City. So a 7 1/2 month pregnant woman and her 2 year old toddler knocked on my Aunt Mali's, (my mum's sister), Uncle Sadru's and my 2 year old cousin, Kimi's door without any notice and bunked in with them till it was time. That would be 19 days!

My 2nd Birthday in my flouncy yellow 'imported' dress with my cousin, Kimi (who's a month older than me), my Aunt Mali and my mum

On April 29th, after a lunch of Kadhi and Khichri (however I translate it, it will be butchered, so let's just say Indian soup and mung beans & rice!), my mum's contractions began! The trusty Bhaturio was beckoned once more to take my mum to Dr. Khan's baby hospital - baby hospital downstairs and the doctor's home upstairs. This time my mum was ready!  They had no ultrasounds in 1968. There was no way to know the baby's gender and the doctor checked the baby's heartbeats with a bell-like object that they held to the mother's tummy!

Dr. Khan and two lovely nurse helpers helped my mum deliver. The doctor still had no idea that there were two babies. Just a note that on that particular evening, the doctor's family was having a party in their home upstairs. My first baby twin sister came at 10 pm. The doctor was in a hurry to get back to the party so gave my mum some sort of injection "for the uterus to change position" is what my mum said it was for! (Any doctors reading this want to interpret this? Is this a practice from the 60s?!!!). He washed his hands and was on his way.  My mum heard the two lovely nurses speaking under their breaths in Swahili "Ni mpacha!" "It's twins!" and the other one said "Don't frighten her!"  Too late for that! The doctor was dragged back from his party and delivered my other twin sister at 10:20 pm. My sisters Habiba and Baby (oh boy they're going to kill me!) were born a month premature 20 minutes apart on April 29, 1968.

Just born!
Farah on the left and Faiza on the right.
There just happened to be a photographer at the party upstairs for this Kodak moment with
a random nurse who did not deliver my sisters!
During the entire delivery, my dad and Bhaturio had been smoking, pacing up and down in the waiting room!  My dad probably had a couple more cigarettes when he found out they had just had twins!
With Mum on the beach at Silversands
With Dad on the beach at Silversands

5 day olds. A sister who just couldn't wait to start pinching these munchkins!

As this was a complete surprise and because they couldn't leave hospital without names, my dad picked two names on a whim, Habiba and Baby. They were my dad's sisters names, my lovely aunts, Habiba and Zuleikha/Julie/Baby). They changed the names shortly afterwards to Faiza and Farah (but officially changed in 1977, the year Elvis died!).

Thank you for sharing Day 4 of 50 with us!


  1. Love the pic of you sitting above Faiza and Farah. Reading your birth story and Habiba and Baby's story reminds me how simple and beautiful childbirth is meant to be. No Google to help you!

  2. Thanks Faiza! It's been lovely sitting down with my mum to find out about the little details I never knew about. You're right about childbirth being simple and beautiful; that's how it's alway been and how it will always be no matter how we much we change as a society!

  3. Such cute pics....Minaz I'm loving each one

    1. Thanks Mussarat! It's nice that my parents took all those pictures. They've been sitting in albums for all these years, so it's kind of nice giving them a new life in 2016!

  4. Sweet! Thats what your name means but i may be wrong! Love the pics and blog... cant wait for tomorrows installment xx

  5. Minaz I just loved reading this & look at all those beautiful pictures.Can 't wait for Kahzmir to read your blog & comment. Keep on writing! Love you!

    1. Thank goodness my mum took all those pictures. She's like you because you also have documented your kids' lives through photos! Kahzmir is lucky, he has lots of pictures to look back on for his parents. He is enjoying reading the blogs with me!

  6. Honestly, I had no idea you have twin sisters!!! I feel like I'm just meeting you and getting to know you! love it!

    1. Really? There was time we were inseparable and people thought we were triplets!