Today I am thirty-eight weeks pregnant. I feel as though I’ve hit a downward slope on this long, long drive; it’s all going a bit too fast and whilst I’m desperately keen to meet these tiny girls, I’m not sure that I’m ready and I can’t quite find the brakes. I’m watching the view as we hurtle past and it doesn’t seem mundane any more, it’s beautiful. I’m definitely not ready to call this my last pregnancy but it’s my last for a while. And it’s the only time that I will ever carry these little girls.
I’ve never identified with measuring pregnancy out in trimesters – it just doesn’t divide into three like that for me. There are so many more milestones: first heartbeat, nuchal ultrasound, first movements, anomaly ultrasound, first time Kirsty feels them move – you get the idea. But this, thirty eight weeks, this is the beginning of any-time-now. Of course we hope that they will stay in for a few weeks longer but the reality is that they may not. We have passed the average gestational age at birth for twins and even the point at which the NHS would happily induce them has sailed by.
I am excited. I am nervous. I feel as though I want to hold very tightly to my family as we are right now, to savour every last moment. I have been reminding myself at times to slow down, to look around, to listen. To sit in the sun and watch my toddlers play. To put down the laptop and hear, really hear, Kirsty singing to the boys upstairs. To hold them, or if I can’t hold them to sit down and lure them to me. To make them laugh. To remember how small they are, right now, when they are going to soon seem so big in comparison to their sisters.
To capture it, in my head if not in photos and film. To breathe it all in.
I am planning to work until the new twins are born. Our weekends are becoming increasingly precious between my need to absorb us as we are now and my need to recline for hours in the bath, to sleep in until nine-thirty or to stare, gormlessly, into space. I don’t know where the time goes. I blink and I’m back in bed, and another day has passed.
I want to make the most of them.
I want to retreat.
I’m not good at people; I find them stressful, I feel a lot of pressure to be engaging and funny, to control a social situation by making them laugh. When I’m away from my immediate family I stop being me, I lose myself. And I need me right now. I need to be quiet and contemplative and peaceful. I need to prepare for childbirth and motherhood again without being influenced by other people’s excitement and anxiety.
And I remember how this felt last time. How pressured I felt. How hard those last few weeks were, feeling constantly watched. You know me, I’m happy to spill my every thought on the internet, but in ‘real life’ I don’t like being watched.
I don’t want to tell anyone when I go into labour. I don’t want anyone to guess. I hate the idea of my mother spilling the news to family and random strangers in the supermarket or pacing around, wondering how I’m getting on. And that’s my mum. The next few weeks feel intensely private.
I’m not going to become a hermit. I still plan to spend five days out of each week in the office. But I’m not making other plans, particularly in advance. Nothing that might have to be cancelled. I’m not good at making time to focus on me, to live in my own head. But I need to be there right now. I need to forget that outside of this house, there is a world that wants to peer in through my windows.
Of course, I’ll still be spilling my heart on the internet. But I’m pulling the curtains. I’m going to make the most of home for a bit, of solitude. I’m going to work on those final few projects on the house that need to be completed before the girls arrive, on making space in my head for everything that’s coming, on feeling ready.
Frugi sent me this beautiful dress and I’ve had so many compliments on it, particularly at the office and Britmums Live earlier this month. It’s just smart enough to get away with in a business environment without looking out of place at a lunch or a party. I’m told that it’s breastfeeding-friendly as well, which I’m looking forward to trying out in a few weeks!