Three days ago I was lying on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep as I listened to C talking to some friends on the phone.
He was telling them that I was finally pregnant! With twins! Joyous shrieking emerged from the phone and C and I smiled at each other and tangled our toes together happily. At the end of the call he looked at me and said: I don’t think we should tell anyone else now. Not until after we really are 12 weeks.
It’s ok, I said. That’s only 6 days away.
Then we decided to watch an episode of The Sopranos and I got up to do a quick wee.
You know how this is going to go, don’t you?
For a couple of seconds, as I stared at the blood on the toilet paper, I simply felt confused.
Like Time had suddenly reversed itself and I was right back in that same place, in that same moment every month when I would hope against hope that this time, this month was our time, our month and each time I was disappointed. It was as if I had been tricked. I was wrong. I had never been pregnant at all.
I looked down at the toilet bowl filled with bloody water and I moaned, just slightly, the tiniest of sounds, and C who was in the loungeroom setting up the dvd heard that awful note in my voice and came running.
And when I saw his face my eyes started to scrunch up and I folded into myself and I started to cry.
It was a public holiday and everyone was closed and I had no idea who I could call and what I should do until in the end I rang the House Of Groovy IVF Love. And bless them, the Fertility Sisters were calm and soothing and understanding. They gave me advice and they wished me and C luck and said they were crossing their fingers for us.
C and I got ready to go into Emergency which means I packed a book to read during the inevitable long wait and he ducked down to the shops to buy me some pads.
I was expecting some Super strength, surfboard sized monstrosities but instead C handed over a pack of ultraslim regulars. I started to say that maybe the thicker sort would be better but he stopped me.
No, he said, quietly. I decided not to get those. Because you’re not going to need them. You’re not.
At that point there were more tears at his ever faithful optimism and that’s also how I know that babies have no kneecaps because the sticky strip on the back of the pads is decorated with whacky true facts.
I’m not going to bag on about the dire waiting room at the hospital with its Night Of The Living Dead atmosphere and its non-stop television advertorial for tooth whitening kits (“In just eight days?! I can’t belieeeeeve it!”).
The triage nurse grilled me about blood colour(not bright red) and amount(consistent but not gushing) and pain (no) and clots (no) and finally she suggested that perhaps the blood could be coming from my anus rather than being related to the pregnancy?
No, I said, firmly. It is not. It is related to my pregnancy.
Well, she said, it could be constipation related.
No, I said. I don’t have constipation.
Well, she said, I’m just warning you that the doctor may want to check that so don’t be alarmed.
Really, I wanted to say, I feel more alarmed at your enormously ugly headband, but thanks for the warning.
Two hours, half of The Wierdstone of Brisingamen, and one ultraslim pad later, we were in, sans anal probe, with the doctor who probed at my stomach, indicated that it would be several hours more to wait for an ultrasound (due to the public holiday) and then sent me home.
His diagnosis was that the bleeding could be absolutely fine or it could be the start of a miscarriage and either way there was nothing much that could be done. Did I want a bloodtest? There was still no pain, there were still no clots. I had my first appointment with the Antenatal Clinic the following morning at 8am. I decided to forgo the bloodtest and get some sleep.
Bright and early the next morning, we rocked up to the antenatal clinic, pristine Yellow Card in hand. I was calm and collected. I was also still bleeding. At the desk I managed to give my name in a steady voice. The midwife told me to wait for the clerical nurse.
But here’s the thing I said, and my Steady Voice suddenly went to shit, I’m bleeeeeedddiiing…..
Three minutes later I was across the hall in Ultrasound.
As the wand glided over my lubed up belly, C and I clutched hands and in my mind a little voice suddenly said: Please don’t take them both.
I had already thought about the possibility that we had lost the second twin, the one that was a week behind its sibling at the 7 week scan, but my greater fear was that we had lost them both and that now, my empty abdomen would be revealed in all its pathetic failure. That once again my crappy, infertile body had failed the test, only this time we got a little further in the ride, far enough to start discussing names and thinking about baby rooms.
Far enough for the universe to have a great hearty laugh at our clueless stupidity.
For a moment there was nothing to see but grey fog and amorphous sludge.
Suddenly, suddenly, it was as if the fog cleared and there was a baby there, a real baby, a tiny little person with a head and arms and legs and it was dancing and C was making bubbling, delighted sounds.
Oh, I said.
And then I started to cry, big racking sobs and the technician hastily handed me her tissue box.
I can’t see that second bub, she said carefully. And I nod, I know, its gone.
As my playwrighting pal sbs pointed out in the last load of comments, it has been a year since I started blogging about the Great Big Fertility Ride.
When I started I was angry and hurt and I needed to write down my experiences because I felt my life was sliding out from under me. This way, it might still slide but at least I could map out my journey and maybe some day, one day, I could look back and see there was a pattern and realize that it wasn’t just random buckets of shit hurled upon me from on high.
One of my friends is at the same stage of pregnancy as me and we would chat about diet and delivery options and for awhile I almost felt like a normal pregnant woman. Except, I didn’t buy my pregnancy vitamins in bulk. For a few weeks I was beginning to feel that the ride was over. That I had finally arrived. But I see now that for people like me it never really ends until a healthy baby is delivered into your arms. And even that’s just the beginning of a whole new ride.
And for now, I still can't see the pattern.
And those fucking buckets of shit, they still keep falling.
Back at the antenatal clinic, the technician measures the heartbeat of Twin A and types onto the screen.
It looks so cute, says C, so wriggly, and she smiles. They’re quite active at this stage, she says. This little bub looks very healthy.
I’m still crying and snotting into my tissue but I don’t do it in that way you do when you scrunch up your eyes and fold into yourself, instead, this time, I keep my eyes wide open and I stare and cry and cry and stare because I can’t stand to miss one nanosecond of our beautiful dancing baby.