I’m sorry did you say twins?

“I’m sorry did you, did you say, errr twins?” Was the bewildered cry from my husband when the nurse announced the two heartbeats belongs to twins.

Five weeks earlier my husband and I had our early reassurance scan which you have when conceiving through IVF and were totally overjoyed to see a teeny heartbeat and a little “blob” that was our baby, the baby we had been trying five years for. Having been diagnosed with endometriosis aged 23 and polycystic ovarian syndrome we were unable to have a baby naturally and needed a little help, we were eligible for IVF. We went through two years of IVF and finally had made it to the egg transfer where only one embryo was placed back in. We had our first scan at seven weeks and came away completely in love with this one little “blob” and our scan picture was proudly shown to anyone that would look! We started to fantasize about our single baby, was it boy or girl, pink or blue? What pram would we buy? Excitedly looking on Pintrest every night, pinning a million nursery inspo ideas.

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single baby

Fast forward five weeks, I’m laying on the couch in the hospital all excited to see how much our little “blob” has grown, husband eagerly sat by my side. The nurse starts scanning and confirms the pregnancy, “everything looks perfect” she says reassuringly “I will start measuring once I have traced the heartbeats”. Sounds normal to me (obviously I have no idea this is our first pregnancy) so the nurse proceeded to trace the heartbeats. “The heartbeats sound perfect, good and strong”

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twin scan

Heartbeats? Heartbeats as in plural, meaning more than one heartbeat? I lay there while the nurse continued to scan for what felt like an eternity, she was chatting away and still to this day I have no idea what she was saying to me. Instead I was lying there having a conversation with myself in my head! “Did she say two heartbeats? Clearly that means my heartbeat and the baby’s heartbeat. There was only one baby five weeks ago so she must mean my heartbeat and the baby’s. No Nicola you’re been totally stupid don’t ask you will look a fool. Well I kinda need to know I should really ask what she means by two heartbeats”. Meanwhile my husband is sat watching the screen having all the same thoughts as me totally confused. So I plucked up the courage and asked “so you know when your say two heartbeats is that my heartbeat and the baby’s heartbeat?” This was met with a laugh, like a laugh of total disbelief that I had even asked that question (my Friends moment for the Friends fans out there) and then the nurse replied “no the twins heartbeats!”

Queue my husband stumbling over his words like a man with a stammer interrogating the nurse “twins sorry did you say twins?” Both of us sat there in complete shock. The nurse replied with a shocked response “what you didn’t know?” NO WE DID NOT KNOW! That’s when the scan descended into a blur; the nurse was completely bamboozled telling us she had never in her career had this happen to her. I started to tell her that there was definitely only one baby, one! At the seven week scan and that there was only one embryo put in so where the hell has this other baby come from? How could this happen? Hubby by this time had gone all hot and flush, had lost the ability to talk and actually needed water off one of the zillion nurses that had been rushed into the room. I on the other hand was in a fit of hysterical nervous laughter, laughing so hard my belly was wobbling and the nurse couldn’t continue scanning.

A consultant was brought in to double-check as the nurse pronounced “right lets all calm down read your notes from the seven week scan and I will get a consultant to scan you to check I’m not seeing things” The consultant scanned and confirmed, yes two heartbeats, yes two babies. Two freaking babies in my belly? Holy smokes. All our notes were checked and the previous scan confirmed only one baby so how had this happened? Well after a two-hour scan it became clear that the single embryo from seven weeks, had decided that it didn’t much like been alone and well kinda decided to split extremely late to form an identical sibling. So our babies were sitting there in my belly, sharing a placenta 100% identical. A rare type of twins called MCDA that would put us all at high risk throughout the pregnancy both the consultant and various nurses had never seen it happen before so we were like a walking freak show.

After hours of being scanned and checked my hubby and I left the scan room completely in shock. It didn’t feel real I honestly felt like Ant and Dec were going to come out and it had all been a hoax but the scan pictures in my hand were proof YES I was having twin babies. I just couldn’t wait to tell family and friends but no one believed us. After telling family we were pregnant and having one baby to now telling them “oh sorry they got it wrong we are now having twins” you can kinda understand why no one believed us. We couldn’t function for a few hours hubby needed a drink and I, well I took the shock out on the biggest bar of chocolate known to man, in absence of not being allowed wine! So all our plans had changed and after a few days of walking around in a bubble it actually hit me and hubby. And the usual twin parent questions hit us. How are we going to be able to afford it? How are we going to cope? The house isn’t big enough, car…we need a bigger car!

But amidst all the panic I was sitting on cloud nine, I had gone from a failed IVF cycle and thinking I would never have children to been totally blessed to have two little miracles growing inside me. And instantly I loved those two tiny little humans more than I ever knew possible and nothing much else mattered. I was having twins, double trouble, twice the fun and I was ready to take on this role of “twin mumma” with all my energy.

“Single parents alone together”

“Single parents alone together all for one and one for all!” For those of you that have watched About A Boy you will understand the scene I’m setting, for those of you that haven’t you really should its bloody hilarious! This is what I had pictured in my head for my first experience at “Mum group” a bunch of multi-coloured felt wearing, breastfeeding, eco nappy promoting Mum’s.

It’s a weird thing you become a Mum and suddenly are expected to go to these groups with other Mums to talk about babies and breast feeding. So I went nervously on my way to my first Mum class, quaintly named “Mum’s village club” I didn’t know anyone I just saw the poster on the board of our local village hall and like most new Mum’s felt obliged to go. I walked in pram in hand constantly singing in my head “single parents alone together” and was greeted by a sea of Cath Kidston wearing late thirty early forty-year olds. I expected them to be friendly but only one lady came over to introduce herself, so I stuck to her like a clampit.

There was tea on the side and a plate of biscuits and all the Mum’s seemed to be just standing in their own little groups chatting to each other. A few Mum’s started talking to me, well I say talking I mean interrogating me. I looked young, was I a single parent? Well no, I think the wedding ring on my left hand says otherwise however the fact my husband was away in the army was a subject of huge debate for them. I carried on chatting and trying to fit into their conversations realising I had totally nothing in common with these ladies. I looked around and realised I also wasn’t suitably dressed for the occasion wearing a summer dress and converse, tattoos and nose ring to boot! Each one of these Mums was wearing exactly the same bloody thing a uniform of Joules striped top, a floral scarf topped off with the compulsory Cath Kidston Satchel. I didn’t realise when you became a Mum there was a suitable dress code, I seemed to miss that memo I also didn’t age twenty years and forget all my fashion sense, but now I’m just ranting.

It was like some weird army and I was trying to pass the initiation test, to get into the inner circle. I was asked what job I did, how old I was, did I own my own home really intimate questions, but all asked in a creepily friendly way that made you openly answer these questions like I was on “An audience with”

The Mum’s talked about breastfeeding for what felt like an eternity seriously how much can you talk about mastitis? They discussed eco nappys, nearly all of them were vegan, clearly me sitting eating my way through a plate of chocolate hobnobs while bottle feeding my twins didn’t go down too well. When talking about their babies routines I was met with grasped horror like some canned audience on an episode of Friends when I revealed my twin girls are sleeping in their own bedroom in separate cots at the age of thirteen weeks. I sat totally bamboozled wondering how I was going to make my escape and get back into the real world.

Finally the “Mums” club started to come to an end by now I had learnt what attachment parenting is, why its important to breastfeed, what supplements I should be taking to produce more breast milk and had been handed the recipe for a vegan cheesecake. I made a hasty retreat back home sat down in my rented home and had a non vegan cup of tea.

But it made me think the way society sees Mum’s as if we should all fit in this perfect little Stepford wives box, we should all dress the same and have the same values just because your now responsible for a tiny human. Well I for one am not that stereotypical Mum, yes I have tattoos, no I can’t stand Cath Kidston (no offence Cath your just not my type) and my entire wardrobe isn’t based around Joules. Yes I don’t own my own home, I don’t have a dresser full of Emma Bridgewater, I don’t have the latest “Yummy Mummy” cupcake nappy bag and I don’t have a Ford Cmax parked on the drive but that doesnt make me any less of a Mum, It dosnt mean my girls are being dragged up. It makes me a real Mum, a Mum that is true to who she is, who dosnt follow convention and is happily not a bloody vegan!

 

What Future

Walking into the girls room this morning, I’m greeted by cheesy grins off both babies peeking over their cots. They have no idea of the horror that has unfolded in Manchester last night, no idea of how much this affects their future, no idea of how scared I am as their Mother for what their future holds. Choosing to become a Mother I pledged to provide, guide and fiercely protect my children with all my being, but how can you protect without stopping their freedom. The protective Mother part of me wishes I could wrap my babies in cotton wool and never let them out of my sight, but then what life are they going to lead? I want my girls to have the freedom I enjoyed as a child to play outside until it’s dark, to walk to the park without an adult, but sadly this is not going to be a reality for my girls it has been taken away from them. We now live in an angry world, a world where people carry out atrocities in the name of religion trying to spread fear so we follow their beliefs. It’s scary I genuinely wonder what future my girls have, what world they will be growing up in. And then I feel huge guilt for brining them into this world not knowing what their future will be and how secure their freedom will be. I feel helpless that I can’t change the world to protect them, that I can’t change the world to be a kinder more understanding place. Then I realised that yes I can’t change the world around them, sadly there is evil and evil people but I can change how I raise them. I can change how I teach them and nurture them. I wont allow my daughters to feel fear, to be wary of people because of their religion or how they dress. I will teach them to choose love, choose kindness, chose friendliness and compassion. If I can’t change the world my daughters have come into then I can teach them to see the good in people. The only way we can defeat this evil is to ensure the next generation are kinder, that their evil acts have not tainted our children, that our children have not grown up in fear and have had the strength, power and freedom to live normal happy lives. These evil people want hatred, fear and anger they want to restrict our freedom. Well for my daughters I choose love, hope, freedom and joy. They will never win.

Hi, I’m new here

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So yeah I’m new to blogging, this is in fact my first blog and to be totally honest the first piece of writing apart from boring work emails I have written since school, so bear with me if my grammar is wrong (thank god for spell check). Who the hell am I? I’m Nicola 29 (not sure how that happened I still feel 18) and I am married to Simon literally the best husband ever (sorry ladies he is taken) we have two perfect little miracle babies, identical daughters Alissi and Ilaria and our big lovable fur baby Oscar. By day I’m a charity shop manager although I am currently loving life on maternity leave, dread the day I have to go back, been a lady of leisure quite suits me!

I have started this blog because of the huge response from my followers on Instagram who are wanting support, hope and advice regarding IVF, Endometriosis and Polycystic ovarian syndrome and also to keep up to date with my life and journey. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis aged 23 after surgery, it only took me since puberty for someone to listen and believe that something more was wrong than bad menstrual pains! I was told by my surgeon that if me and my hubby wanted children we would need to act fast for the best chances. Queue hubby and I starting on a five-year journey to become parents. Our journey led us down the crazy, stressful and totally emotion destroying path of IVF. During our first batch of tests where hubby has to ahem, do it in a pot and I was scanned from every angle it became clear that I also have polycystic ovarian syndrome, double whammy endo and PCOS! We started IVF and I was totally certain it was going to work even though all my family especially my hubby was telling me to take it a step at a time. But no, jeeze who are you kidding this is me Nicola I’m a Taurus im stubborn and the biggest dreamer ever! I had picked the pram I wanted the most gorgeous single pram, I had the nursery designed the works. It didn’t work for us first time and that’s when I found comfort in other people’s struggles and journeys on Instagram. Lucky for us our second cycle of IVF worked, and worked in style! Amazing us with identical twins which we are so thankful to have in our lives. And well been a twin Mumma is a whole new ball game and I am only now twelve weeks in finding my feet (and actually been able to wash my hair).

Hence this blog, it’s a place for people going through IVF wanting support, ladies with endo and PCOS who want to share experiences and gain advice and its also for the parents of twins who like me are totally outnumbered by babies and need a few laughs at my new Mum mistakes (trust me there will be a few). I don’t know all the answers and don’t claim to but I found comfort in other people’s stories and I hope at least one person will find hope and comfort in mine.

So please feel free to share, comment discuss and get involved.

Much love

Nicola x