So today marks the one year anniversary of when we 'went public' with our twin pregnancy. I had been suffering with pretty awful nausea and sickness from 1st March and being not too long after our wedding, following weeks of cancelling/rearranging social events on account of being sick (yeh, so I could've made up something other than sickness, but I prefer to be honest as much as possible.... just economical with the truth sits better with me!)a few of my friends had more than a bit of a hunch that I might be expecting. I think because I knew the reactions I'd get to me being pregnant would be either feigning surprise, or just saying "yeh, I figured", it made me relish the extra surprise of expecting two that bit more.
I had spent so long planning and preparing our pregnancy announcement picture I told fewer people by phone than I might have otherwise, partly because I wanted to test people a bit to see if they'd spot that there were two 'Baby Clark's in my picture. But the reactions of friends and family to the news that we were expecting two babies were fabulous! Some swearing, lots of surprise, and huge amounts of enthusiasm (at least that's what I remember now!). It mirrored our own feelings really!
Both of us had, strangely, always felt like we might have twins, so it didn't come as the ludicrous surprise it might have when we found out there were two heartbeats at 8 weeks (although the dad-to-be did say "Holy shit!" during the ultrasound). When we conceived we also ticked a lot of the boxes for 'might it be twins': we'd recently miscarried, we both had twins in the family, were over 35, and the sickness and exhaustion was more intense than with my previous pregnancy. Having been through the loss previously I think I felt all the more acutely how easy it was for things to go wrong, and identical twins have so many more associated risks and complications than most pregnancies. It felt like a long way to get all the way to October!
I think largely because of the extreme nausea and sickness, I suffered with pre-natal depression through the earlier stages of my pregnancy. I found it really hard to find much joy in life and it really became about survival, taking one day at a time and trying not to be too much of physical and emotional burden on my husband, who had to do all of the food preparation and clearing up in our house for the duration of my pregnancy. Not only that, but he often would go to great efforts to prepare something bland enough that I might be able to eat it, only for me to look at it and ask him to take it away again.
My diet consisted largely of crunchy nut cornflakes, occasionally toast and honey, or pasta with grated apple and cheese (a childhood favourite that I found I could stomach) or plain almonds or satsumas. It was a far cry from the raw green juices I'd promised myself I'd be eating to nourish my babies, but it was just about all that I could keep down.
When I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at around 20 weeks in, I could have cried! The only foods I had been able to comfortably face before had been sugary ones, so adopting a diabetic diet was very difficult, and very disappointingly, diet alone was not enough to fix it. I was given medication to lower my blood sugars, which, surprise surprise, made me even more sick. It was miserable. And I hated taking drugs whilst pregnant. So I googled ways to manage it better with diet and exercise and stopped taking the medication. Happily, taking a short walk after meals, supplementing my diet with spices like cinnamon, daily doses of apple cider vinegar and cutting down a little on the carbs that I'd been initially advised to eat, did the trick and I was able to manage it.
At 12 weeks I was hoping the nausea would ease off by 14 weeks. 14 weeks became 16, and 16 became 18, and then 20, and then 22, and then I just tried not to think about the weeks to come. "It's the hope that kills you" became a catch phrase that I've used since the boys have arrived as well! But I managed. One day at a time. Keeping out of the scorching hot sunshine (of COURSE it was the hottest summer in my entire lifetime when I was bloated and uncomfortable and pregnant with twins!). Trying to avoid food and food smells. Not letting my hubster light a BBQ. All. Summer. What a bitch!
If I'd known at the start what was to come over the coming weeks and months, I'm not sure I could have coped! BUT, *spoiler alert*, we made it through almost 5 more months from this point last year, and our babies were born healthy (if small and premature) and today, a year later, I'm happily able to enjoy food, and sunshine and it feels like another lifetime ago when there weren't two little wrigglers filling our days (and nights!).
So I guess this is for anyone out there absolutely hating being pregnant. Having a rotten time of it. Absolutely not blooming or glowing. Hang on in there! People tell you "it's worth it", and you'll think "yeh, as if!", but it really is!