Hello, Shock, I remember you. It’s been a while, but I knew you would never forget about me. On your last visit, I lost a loved one unexpectedly. The time before that you arrived just after I smashed up my car. And now, here you are, back for another visit. How lovely!
Despite my stunned trance, you are easier to recognise this time. The hot, shaky body and the disorganised thoughts are all too familiar. My mind is racing; my heart pounding as if it is trying to escape my body. I have instantly become physic. I can see the future so clearly now. My perfectly laid-out ten-year plan has just been thrown into turmoil.
I can now imagine ten months ahead, ten years and then twenty. My head is spinning. My body temperature is rising. The heat begins in my toes and slowly, but deliberately, creeps up my body until it engulfs me. I feel too weak to stand and my knees are shaking. How can I concentrate on normal, everyday tasks, like eating and walking, when that word keeps repeating itself over and over in my head? In mere seconds, my life has changed completely and the more I hear that word, the more it becomes real to me. Just one life-changing word. How can one word be so powerful and life-changing? How can one word evoke so much emotion?
The doctor looks at me, turns a light shade of red and puts her clammy hand on my arm as the word passes across her glossy lips. Upon hearing the news, my husband and I burst out laughing. Clearly, not because we think the doctor is hilarious, but thanks to our friend, Shock! Suddenly my initial reaction is replaced with panic, worry and stress all at the same time. My heart has dropped into my stomach and I unknowingly start tearing the skin around the cuticles of my fingers until they bleed. I don’t feel a thing.
It was meant to be a routine, first check-up to meet my new doctor. There was confusion with the due date and even though it was a week and a half early, she suggested we check on the day. When the doctor placed the ultrasound paddle on my uterus, we were all smiling at the barely distinguishable, pulsing, bean shape on the monitor. My husband and I knew what to expect, but it was still an amazing experience each time.
I get dressed and sit at the doctor’s desk. She explains the details of what to expect in the next 7 months. The risks, the new due date and what support systems are in place for parents like us. She could be talking directly into her stethoscope for all the good it is achieving. So, whilst she continues to chat away, I am busy working through the costs of flights to Canada for a family of six! Then there is the expense of doctor’s bills, nappies and the price of a new car that needs to fit four car seats. Great, I’m now going to get that minivan I’ve always never wanted! It is around this point I start feeling dizzy and anxious. I just want to leave the office. My husband has taken off his suit jacket and starts rolling up his sleeves as his temperature is also rising.
Still, I am relieved that the babies look perfectly normal and healthy. What doesn’t help is my husband joking at the prospect of possibly having four teenage girls living under one roof in the future, and a wife going through menopause at the same time! Or the fact I am going to put on 100lbs, with the inevitable stretch marks as a bonus. Suddenly, I find myself biting my nails. I never bite my nails. I am developing new habits in my 30’s, how fantastic!
I make a new plan within minutes because, in my mind, I have very few options. I now realise I am never going to leave the house. I won’t be sleeping or enjoying any privacy for at least the next 5 years and, of course, the family will now live off peanut butter sandwiches and homemade cookies. I also think I better learn to sew if I am going to start using old curtains to make the kids matching outfits, like the Von Trapp family from the 'Sound of Music'.
I keep trying to see the positive side of the situation, like how wonderful it will be for the children to grow up together. Then I become distracted again by the stress related to money and the lack of family support in Sydney. A bout of homesickness washes over me, making me feel the same way I did with my morning sickness.
Simon and I stumble out of the doctor’s office as if we are two drunken, lost souls. We somehow manage to get home and put the girls to bed and then we just sit there on the couch staring out the window with no words to say. An eerie light pours through the window. I get up and pull the blinds back to see a full moon in the night air. Since hearing the news, I feel like I am in complete darkness with everything closing in around me. The light from the moon somehow gives me a glimmer of hope. We had planned on only having three, but I guess the universe had other plans for us. However, the universe isn’t quite through with us yet.
After a couple of weeks of getting used to the idea of having twins, I have another scan. Suddenly Shock says hello again after I find out that I’m only having one baby after all.