I never realised the extent to which I am a control freak until the day the Hubs and I went for my routine 12-week scan. I had the next 20 years mapped out: us raising our child to adulthood in our little two-bedroom house, all cosy and simple. And then the sonographer said, “Remember how when you came in, I told you that one of the reasons we perform a scan is to check there’s only one baby in there? Well there are two.”
CLUNK. That’s my jaw hitting the floor.
Everything I’d imagined was ripped away in an instant. You know that water birth you wanted? Pah! Try being strapped to the hospital bed like a crazy person (actually quite fitting, considering how much I completely lost my mind during labour). Remember the budget you attempted to create? The one you scrutinised for MONTHS before finally coming to the conclusion that you could just about afford to have a child? Yeah, throw that piece of fiction away! Yummy mummy trips with the babe in a buggy? Good luck finding a nice little cafe, boutique clothes shop or basically anywhere that can fit a double buggy! Worried about childcare costs? Why not double the worry! Think the night feeds will be tough? Do it with two! Fantasise about taking your child to the park on your own? Good luck running in two different directions at the same time!
Everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – changed in an instant. I’m very happy for IVF couples; it’s an amazing feat of medicine and technology. I imagine it’s a shock to have IVF and find that you’re expecting twins; after all, there was a time when you thought you’d never be able to have children, and that must have been devastating. But the one advantage those couples have is that they are able to make a conscious choice: yes, we will increase our chances by having two fertilised eggs re-planted, and therefore we are consciously aware of the increased likelihood of having twins. I guess you could argue that older moms make a similar – if possibly less conscious – choice, as more mature mothers are also more likely to conceive twins.
But I was 29 when I conceived (hardly old) and my twins were not a result of medical intervention. They are instead the result of my freakish ovaries deciding to release two eggs at the same time. Go figure.
I love my twins. My twins are my reason for existing as far as I’m concerned and I feel utterly blessed to have them.
But that moment. That scan. I have tried multiple times to express how I felt but language fails me. Words such as: shock, joy, nausea, devastation, confusion, denial, excitement, worry, fear, anxiety, happiness, love and hate all feature there somehow but none of them are quite right. Here was something totally life-changing, over which I had no control. I was expecting twins, and that was that.
The pregnancy, labour and life since have been very different to how I imagined. Credit where credit’s due; I’m sure that’s the case for most – if not all – moms. But for a control freak like me, accepting the changes has been a constant challenge, and say what you like but having twins can sometimes mean more challenges than having one child. I am in complete awe of people who have triplets, quads or more!!
Being a twin mama has taught me a level of patience I never knew I had in me. It has also taught me to know when it’s time to relinquish control. Every new stage has challenged my preconceptions but it has also brought the most amazing memories for me to cherish. I am sure that in the months and years to come, these two crazy gals will continue to throw curve balls at me; sometimes I’ll catch them, sometimes I’ll dodge them, and sometimes they’ll smack me in the face. But I guess that’s all part of letting go.