On our very first New Year’s Eve together, 11 years ago, C and I stayed at a house near the ocean.
It was a little cottage that belonged to the hippie sister of a friend of mine and we house sat for a week while she chanted in an ashram somewhere and strained her own tofu.
The cottage was very sweet and rustic and full of home made crafts and home woven rugs. The kitchen was full of recycled glass jars crammed with home preserved vegetables and dried fruits. It reminded me of Little House In The Big Woods, with all its stored foodstuffs and preserves and Ma diligently making cheese out of the head of a pig and boiling maple syrup into sugar while Laura played with her cornhusk doll and plotted ways to kill or maim her perfect sister Mary.
That New Year’s Eve was meant to be quiet and intimate with just C and I and some nice wine and candlelight and half a tab of acid each. This was a new experience for me and naturally it ended in disaster. Instead of walking hand in hand through the moonlight and gazing in chemically induced wonder at the beauty of Nature, I tipped a candle over one of the chunky home woven rugs and spent the next eight hours obsessively picking wax out of every individual cotton fibre.
We spent this New Year’s Eve alone together too.
Just me. And C. And the twins.
On December 30th, the 7 week scan showed 2 sacs and 2 heartbeats.
I wish I could say I saw them twinkle like shining little stars in the ever expanding universe of my uterus but frankly we’re an older couple and the screen was so far away from the bed it was all C and I could do to squint at the shadowy peanut shapes inside the black blobs.
Even so, I felt my eyes become suspiciously moist.
The technician was excited. Look, she cried, as she twirled the dildocam like she was whipping mayonnaise. There’s bub!
All eye-moisture instantly evaporated. For some reason the word ‘bub’ coupled with her cheery upbeat tone and expectation that Everything Will Be Wonderful set my teeth on edge.
She twirled a little more. And here’s…other bub.
‘Other bub’ was said minus the exclamation mark. Even with our geriatric eyesight C and I couldn’t fail to note the discrepancy in size. Twin B was a week behind in development from Twin A.
I don’t have a copy of the scan but think King Kong and Naomi Watts and you get the idea.
As the technician measured the heartbeats (169 and 90-something) C, the eternal optimist, said: I’m cheering for the underdog!
The technician chuckled approvingly.
Mmmm, I said. And can you tell me, if Twin B fails, will I have a period?
The chuckling stopped.
Well, she said. You may get some spotting. Or it may simply be reabsorbed into the body. But…look, there’s a sac and a heartbeat. Sometimes the smaller one overtakes the other at around 20 weeks. I think we can give bub the benefit of the doubt! Let’s go with dad’s attitude!
So that’s what we’re doing. We’re going with C on this one. Go the underdog. And in the meantime I’ve started eating for a family of six. It is unpleasant to feel constantly hungry. It is even more unpleasant to feel you would like to rip the head off your husband and devour it because he took you to a function where there was NO FOOD and you didn’t eat for four hours. That only happened twice. I never leave the flat now without a handbag packed full of nuts and crackers.
I’m eight weeks pregnant now which is amazing and incredible and gobsmackingly weird. My body is changing before my eyes, (hey! I got cleavage!) I fall asleep at the drop of a hat and I eat and eat and eat. In the meantime we are working on a new show for January which is huge and monstrous and takes up a lot of my brainspace (the part that isn’t checking out my own cleavage).
I’m terrified and I’m elated and I’m cynical and trusting all at once.
I started reading baby books but after seeing the Narnia film I suddenly felt it was far more important to read all the books in the series again. I collect names of good doctors from my previously up the duff friends but I keep putting off booking my obstetrician and hospital. Apparently my subconscious thinks I can deliver on my own couch with my husband to bite the cord(s). There are times when everything seems too much and other times when I feel as if I’ve won the jackpot and this unsettled state is simply confusion because I’m finally getting what I want.
And meanwhile, the clock is ticking. I can pfaff about and read Voyage Of The Dawntreader and google potential doctors and freak out about scripts and shows but inside me, Stuff is Happening and will keep happening week by week.
Something about that makes me happy.
I apologise for the delay in starting up again but half of it was holiday and some of it was wondering how an infertile writes about being pregnant and then hitting the work again and there was tragedy too amongst the joy. I am going to try and write about this process as honestly and fearlessly as I can. And that’s the best I can do.
Apart from making headcheese perhaps.
On that first chemical New Year’s Eve, all I could do was concentrate on picking the wax out, thread by thread, knowing vaguely that one day, one week, one year, Nicole’s rug would finally be free of evil candle residue.
I remember stopping for breath, lifting my head for a moment to stretch my neck and seeing the Milky Way through the loungeroom window. The drugs were still coursing through my system and as I stared I saw that the stars had become huge and pulsating. They were like enormous shining crystals. I could faintly hear their tinkling and I wondered for a moment if I was seeing my mother amongst the angels, hovering in the night, fuzzed over with their own brilliance.
In those days there were no peanut shaped stars, no shining Kong and Naomi constellation.
The faint sounds you can hear come from this new galaxy which has only recently opened within me. A galaxy with two stars, tinkling, one a week behind the other.
That and the cheering of course.