It was three years ago today we found out that I was pregnant with twins. Yes, on April Fool's Day. Bleeding early in the pregnancy - just eight weeks along - and I was referred up to the hospital, a bit nervous, a bit alarmed. The doctor didn't help with his frown of concentration, when he peformed a vaginal ultrasound after the usual one. I was starting to get properly worried when he told us that we were having twins.
I wasn't happy. Paul wasn't happy. In fact, we both cried in the stairwell, overcome by the news. I felt very sorry for myself, for us. How were we going to do this? I wanted to stay at home as long as we could afford me to - how could I handle two babies at once on my own? The sentimental walks I'd been imagining with me and my little baby swaddled to my chest - wasn't going to happen with two, was it? Ditto the breastfeeding, so I felt. Why could nothing ever be simple for us? Why did it always have to be so hard?
I cried a lot over the next few days, sad and helpless in not wanting twins. I'd been so happy in that first month of knowing I was pregnant, and now this.
But then, not long after and quite suddenly, having twins seemed absolutely perfect. We had talked about having two children - we weren't getting any younger and hey presto! here were two at once. I'd been worried that the whole experience would be been-there-done-that for Paul, who already had three children, and here you go, twins. A new one on him too. It felt unique, special, to have twins. We were delighted and we joked about telling him & her/him & him/her & her that we cried when we found out about them. Ha ha ha.
I loved being pregnant. My constant bloody worrying and whirring in my head just went. I felt calmer, happier, all zen-ish and stuff. I loved the idea of twins, though it still scared me witless sometimes. No sickness, no real swelling or discomfort, positive scan after positive scan. I delighted in people's surprise when I said I was having twins. Ha ha ha.
And then it all went wrong - what was meant to be the happiest day of my life was the absolute worst. Two little, early girls and one so desperately hurt that we might only have one left. My twins that stopped being the twins they were meant to be the day they were born. My girls who will never really be twins now, whose lives will be as different from one another's as it's probably possible to be.
Except that you should see the way that Maggie looks at Alice, how she watches her in awe constantly. How her little face lights up when Alice pays her the slightest bit of attention, puts a hat on her head, holds her hand for a minute. Maggie wouldn't be doing as well as she is if she didn't have her Alice to watch and see how it should all be done. And Alice wouldn't be the lovely, sweet, happy, self-sufficient little wonder that she is without her Maggie.