Well, here we are. After 13 million chai lattes, 450,000 pieces of stollen, 35 dozen hot cross buns and months of waking up every single morning between 2 and 4am, we are here. 37 weeks pregnant. I have a belly that is a whopping 1.2m, yes METRES in circumference, have put on a total of 12 kg and am extremely reluctant to climb the stairs, let alone leave the house. I have also discovered the Carpal Tunnel, which does not allow you to drive from England to France but is the area of the wrist which, when it has fluid, causes your hands to swell up and look like my dad’s (and may I just say, my dad has the biggest hands I have ever seen) and get pins and needles. A delight. Because you NEED that to happen along with everything else when you feel like a moose about to explode. Jesus.
And what a journey it has been. The strangest appointment I had was with Mr Consultant around the 32 week mark when they decided they needed to schedule me in for the infamous c-section.
Mr Consultant: “OK, let’s look at dates. How about this date?”
Me: “Whoa. Are we talking about THE date? The date of the c-section? The date of my children’s birthday? The date that they will be celebrating every year of their lives? The date that I will rush around for like a manic woman trying to find the right doll / teddy bear / toy car / pair of trainers / whatever? The date that I will use as an excuse to get everyone over and drink copious amounts of wine with? The date they will write on immigration forms, marriage certificates, drivers licence applications, tax letters? THIS NEEDS ATTENTION, Mr Consultant. I feel my hands getting clammy. Where is my husband when I need him? Picking someone’s birthday is big. It is not picking a dental appointment, Mr Consultant. Um, no, not that date. I don’t like the number 5. No, can’t be that date, cause that’s my brother’s ex-girlfriend from 9 years ago’s birthdate. I pick the date and hope to God it’s not the same as Stalin’s or Kim Jong-un’s. Maybe I should quickly check that on my phone? What is the name of that annoying chick on the telly – I can’t have my beautiful twins share a birthday with her, surely? OK I need to get a grip. I pick the date. There is an end in sight and it feels WEIRD.
And now back to the past week where we have had milestone after milestone. We had our last scan where we saw these delightful little critters who decided playing football was a good idea as I was lying on my back – may I say that lying on your back 37 weeks pregnant with twins is perhaps THE most uncomfortable thing in the world – it feels like a tap dancing elephant on your lungs. Foal B has finally turned around after spending most of the pregnancy breech which would be welcome news if I was attempting a natural birth. What it means for me now is I have 4 legs and 4 little feet all in the one area kicking me in the guts normally straight after dinner, causing me to down a litre of Gaviscon just to feel like I am not a fire-eater at a circus.
Next milestone was the last appointment with Mr Consultant. I walk, sorry, waddle, into the room and am greeted by yet another different midwife, a medical student and Mr Consultant. “Well, both babies are around 5lb 12 oz, a good weight, blood pressure is fine, urine sample fine, oh and Twin B has turned around so is head down.” I know what is coming.
“Are you sure you want a c-section?” OH MY GOD. ARE YOU SERIOUS? After all the discussions. The stares that made me feel like I had accidentally turned up at the hospital wearing a Big Bird suit. The counselling session with The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe who was more interested in my childhood than whether I understood the risks of a caesarean.
“Yes, Mr Consultant. I am sure. I AM SO SURE YOU PERSISTENT F*CKER! I feel like shouting. Instead, I say, 10 out of 10 for persistence, smiling politely. He laughs. “So, we’re all set. Do you have any questions about the caesarean?” he asks. “Well, as a matter of fact, I do”.
And this is where my Project Manager head is switched on. I have a number of questions (um, about 15) on my phone of which I start firing away to these three people. Whoever answers first wins a prize! I exclaim, to lighten the mood. They look at me, puzzled and then chuckle. Yes, it’s a joke, people, you can laugh… oh how my line of work is different.
Next appointment is with the anaesthetist. This is where things really start hitting home for us. I think the fact we are waiting in a section of the hospital entitled DELIVERY SUITE does it. “Oh look, there’s a paddling pool!” says my husband as he passes one of the delivery rooms. A flash of pina coladas and palm trees flicker my mind and then I realise where I am.
Sarah the Anaesthetist is lovely. She asks whether I have had any dental work. Um hello? DENTAL WORK? I start to wonder if we are in the right appointment. You like my teeth? You don’t like my teeth? Are they a bit yellow? Not straight enough? TEETH? I am having a caesarean, dear, why the hell are you asking about my TEETH? Oh sorry, I should have explained. Yes you should have, lovely Sarah, as I do not want a jaw realignment.
“We need to make sure you don’t have any loose crowns or anything in the unlikely event we have to stick a tube down your throat”. God, they think of everything don’t they?
We finally leave the hospital. Next time we come here will be for THE BIG DAY. We can’t quite believe it. It has been such a LONG journey. When I think back to the summer floating around in the pool in Kos, 11 weeks pregnant, nibbling on ginger biscuits trying not to be sick and not knowing it was twins, to getting stuck straddling the console of my car at Christmas panting like a fat dog, to having the baby shower on 16 Feb where I was absolutely spoilt by such fabulous friends, to now, it feels like a two year elephant pregnancy. Both physically and mentally.
That Neil Diamond song ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ comes on the radio. If there is one singer that instantly reminds me of my late mother, it’s Neil Diamond. I burst into tears. I think of what she would be like if she was here. Probably laughing her head off – after all, she did always say I would marry an Englishman and have twin girls. We’ll just have to see if she’s right on all three.