Written and Illustrated by Emma
Breath caught in my throat.
Heart pounding and blood rushing in my ears.
Eyes searching, darting back and forth.
Palms sweaty, mouth dry.
Did I miss something? The dream was so vivid, I was certain. ‘Should I ask?’ – I think for a millisecond and before I know it, the words have tumbled out of my mouth with a nervous laugh “Are you sure there is only one? I…..I had a dream it was twins.”
The sonographer scans across “Oh, yes, there’s the other one!”
I am sure he’s having me on. Toying with me. And I am in shock. I am in tears with my hands over my face.
I can’t believe it, I was right.
I am allowed a couple of minutes to pull myself together, to laugh a little hysterically with my husband (because we truly have no idea what this means as first time parents) before I am ushered upstairs for further monitoring where I discover the second shock: I am carrying high risk babies.
The battle had started years earlier. If I am honest, it started in 1998 when I can vividly remember the most excruciating monthly periods rendering me completely bedridden. This was normal. All the women in my family suffered this way. So it was an ordinary, accepted, very difficult to explain interruption to life, but never understood, and certainly not recommended for medical intervention.
Not until we decided it was time to have a family.
My story could have been far worse. The stress and anxiety could have been prolonged were it not for the intervention of modern medicine. We were incredibly fortunate that I entered my child-rearing years when a knowledge of endometriosis and surgical solutions were available, and that we met the right doctor to diagnose my condition with only nine months of ‘trying’ under our belt.
I was angry. Absolutely furious that my body had let me down. That my only option was to cut it out – that it would not be a cure, nor would it guarantee me children. I was nervous, hopeful and frustrated that of all the hard work and achievement – of all the control I had over other areas of my life – I had none over this one.
The battle was physical and mental. Taking all of the ‘what ifs’ and negative storylines and stopping them in their tracks, not allowing them into the gates; thwarting their mission to capture the castle.
I proactively wrote down affirmations to replace them; to repeat and forge new pathways, create fresh synapses and hold the fort while the battle raged.
Ours is a miracle.
Falling pregnant immediately post-surgery and naturally with identical twins. The pregnancy was extraordinarily tough, but my anxiety was countered with compulsory fortnightly screenings due to a high risk of twin to twin transfusion (where babies sharing a placenta can unequally receive blood flow leaving significant issues for both babies.)
The tale is a long one, immersed in the intricacies of individual anxiety and the complexities of childhood trauma – but delivers two beautiful, healthy blossoms in conclusion of chapter one – with a lifetime of pages to follow.