Sunshine, seagulls. My babies’ first funfair ride, seated beside by their brothers. A summer’s supply of ice cream crammed into a three-day weekend, melting down the cornet and falling in fat blobs on our bare feet. The sea, which is icy, is playful, darting across our toes. The boys are instantly soaked: trousers plastered to their legs, we strip off their t-shirts quickly, lest they find themselves with nothing to wear as the sun sets. The sand is feather soft; it runs between our fingers like liquid. We have brought buckets and spades in gaudy colours, and the children scream with laughter when we bury their feet. The little girls munch it every time we turn our backs, they sport gritty beards that make us laugh. I know that it is unfashionable, but I love caravan holidays.  I love how easy they are; how we can let the children bounce around like kangaroos without worrying that something might get broken.  And I love the independence – fending for ourselves, our Sainsbury’s delivery in the fridge and pasta boiling on the hob.  Caravan holidays remind me of my own childhood; they make me miss my grandparents, and days that always felt warm enough. So we seized the opportunity during that brief April heatwave to escape to the coast. Whitstable is beautiful, though with four nippers to wrangle we didn’t see much of it.  Our caravan park was set in nearby Seasalter (Alberta Caravan Park, if you’re wondering, which we paid for… View Post

On the way to the circus they sleep in the car; two little children, heads lolling onto their shoulders.  They look like the dolls I used to mother; they look like somebody else’s children.  It takes me by surprise sometimes that I have babies of my own, that my babies are such nice people.  They are beautiful, dreaming silently.  Their eyelashes flutter as we bob gently across the speed bumps; it takes my breath away to think that they are mine.  I notice that in the breach between car seats, my sons are holding hands. I don’t know what to expect of the circus.  I don’t know if they are too young to sit through two hours of entertainment; I don’t know if they will understand the humour.  But they are always so willing to come anywhere with me; they call it an ‘adventure’ even though I am the least adventurous person I know.  We have taken my sister for back-up; it feels wonderful to share family life with her again, as though we are little girls again playing at being responsible.  She is so good with my children.  Discovering her as an auntie, watching my babies engage with her, makes me love her in a new and unexpected way. We have popcorn, and candy floss.  I’m never sure how much sugar is too much sugar and ordinarily we wouldn’t have either, but I want to armour myself with distractions in case they are too lively to sit quietly –… View Post

It feels like it’s been a long Winter. Perhaps it is because November and December were so mild. The nights drew in early, enveloping playtime like a blanket, but we treated it as an opportunity for cosy evenings indoors, indulging time on the laptop for the boys. We thought that we were lucky; that it was one of those seasons that seem to slip past unnoticed, a blessed relief. I hoped that it did not foreshadow an unremarkable summer. And then the snow came. We are so excited to see little signs of Spring; to hear birdsong again, to see golden light through the trees and purple crocuses peering their tiny faces up through the grass. It feels so good to venture outside without jackets; to skip along the pavement without worrying that we might skid on the ice. The world is thawing. So are we. At the time of writing this, I am nine weeks pregnant. The baby is the size of an olive, and has lost its tail. I feel nauseated and somnolent; I feel slow, but in a good way. The warmth of the sun on the back of my neck makes me feel giddy; it makes me feel as though time is moving quickly, the seasons changing and bringing with it the growth of our newest little love. The children have changed so much this Winter. Before the snow came, the boys were toddlers and the girls were babies – or at least, that was how… View Post

Six weeks.  I find myself on an unfamiliar table; my legs are shaking in metal stirrups.  I can hear the blood whooshing in my head; it reminds me of seaside holidays when I was small, of licking rum and raisin cones whilst the waves crashed over my feet.  My adult life often feels so much simpler than my childhood but today I would give anything to be back at Brighton beach with my grandparents again.  I would give anything to be anywhere but here. The sonographer is a trainee; she looks at me as though she wants to immortalise my face, as though my story matters.  She asks me if I mind if she consults with her colleague during my scan, and laughs nervously when I tell her that I don’t mind at all, that I look forward to eavesdropping.  My voice sounds like somebody else’s; I am having trouble keeping myself grounded in this room, keeping my mind on the table.  My heart is pounding like I am being chased.  I thought that I had already reconciled myself to the loss of you. The ultrasound machine is turned away from me.  I’m afraid to watch her face, but when I close my eyes I feel trapped within the darkness of myself, so I stare at the fluorescent lighting overhead until my vision blurs.  I feel as though I’m melting; the blood is collecting underneath me, puddling on the paper sheet.  I feel as though I am trapped in a horrible… View Post

5+6. It is snowing again. I leave the office well after dark, treading carefully on the ice lest I slip, and hurt the baby. The world is so beautiful, frosted over like a cake; it seems full of magic and wonder. It is so cold that it almost hurts to breathe, and I find myself marvelling yet again at my life, at my tremendous fortune, to find myself working here, which I love, and going home to them, whom I love. My heart feels swollen and I am giddy with the joy of it all, with the snowflakes dancing a blizzard about me and landing in my hair. I don’t begin to register the dampness until I’m on the Underground. By the time that we pull in to Waterloo, it is starkly apparent that I am bleeding. And I am thinking to myself, as I walk toward the escalator, that this is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. I have never lost a pregnancy before. My legs are shaking. And because I am remembering the image of our blastocyst in its Petri dish, how it looked like the moon, I don’t think to stop. I am rushing to get home, to take the progesterone that might, if I grasp at straws, put an end to this catastrophe. So I take the escalator steps two at a time and settle myself onto the train, which is gravid with commuters seeking refuge from the snow. And… View Post