The first trimester of this pregnancy has been unexpectedly rough.
There was the all day nausea, which seemed to peak in the evenings, making a nonsense of the phrase ‘morning sickness’. Then there were the migraine-lite headaches that shadowed me from morning until night and the extreme fatigue, which meant that in the weeks immediately following our honeymoon I could barely manage to stay awake for five hours in a row. And then, last but not least, there was the big bleak cloud of despondency which settled above my head and refused to budge.
It was difficult, under the circumstances, to feel thrilled about being pregnant, however much I’d looked forward to it, in theory. Cue the guilt about not feeling more pleased. After all, The Boy is a first time future dad, and I was anxious not to sully what should be a magical time.
When I remarked to friends upon how much more difficult this pregnancy seemed compared to my last, six and a half years ago, their response was often framed as a question. ‘Cath, are you sure you aren’t having twins?’
The thought had crossed my mind. Indeed, my gmail status, at one point, read: ‘starting to worry I might be expecting a whole litter…’
Twins run in my biological family, you see. Non identical twins. The sort that can be hereditary because the females of the family are genetically predisposed to ‘over-egg the omelette’ every month. This is probably why it took me only a couple of weeks to get pregnant, both with Tadpole and with baby n° 2, which is obviously a blessing. But after spending a few hours reading up on the subject on the internet, I was bemused to see that one source gave the odds on me having a multiple birth as 1 in 16. My mother, after having me, went on to have non identical twin boys.
Now, of course I’m well aware that there are many couples out there that would love to have twins, or who already have twins, and who think that I’m a selfish human being for preferring my babies to come one at a time, in an orderly, spaced-out fashion. I also know that we could, if necessary, find space in Tadpole’s bedroom for two extra cots, and on the day of the birth I’d no doubt be thrilled to have two bundles of joy for the price of one. And why even have two breasts – sexual fantasies about multiple partners aside – if they can’t be suckled by two babies simultaneously?
But when I found myself in the darkened room, stripped naked from the waist down, my stomach covered in a thick layer of lube, the first words I uttered to the nice lady doctor operating the ultrasound when the picture of the contents of my womb came into focus were:
‘Phew! So there’s only the one in there, then?’