Sickness

Sickness has been one of the defining features of this pregnancy so far. Not that there’s anything particularly twin-focused or relevant to the whole having four children thing about morning sickness. It’s just that it’s been quite so all encompassing this time round.

Ursula suffered pretty mild morning sickness in both her previous pregnancies. She’d get bouts of nausea during the first trimester, the symptoms of which were usually dealt with by eating something, but I don’t think she ever actually threw up (with one exception, of which more later).

But this time round, the feelings of sickness, and also fatigue, have been much more pronounced from quite an early stage. On numerous occasions in the weeks leading up to us finding out about the twins, she commented about how she didn’t remember it being this bad last time. I guess we should have spotted the signs, because apparently it’s quite common for both sickness and tiredness to be much more pronounced when you’re pregnant with twins. And if she’s sick and tired now, just wait until the babies are keeping us up all night.

The symptoms started getting much worse in the days after the scan. Cynics among you might suggest this was psychosomatic, but I think it’s actually just a matter of timing – had we not had the scan last week, we would have started getting very suspicious about what was going on during the course of this week. I’ll spare you the details, but Ursula’s been pretty ill, to the point where I’ve pretty much had to manage without her in dressing and breakfasting the kids this week.

Things reached a head on Friday, when she couldn’t even keep down a glass of water. There was no grandparental help available, and the poor thing was totally incapable of standing upright, let alone looking after two small children for a day, so I was left with no choice but to take them to work with me. What fun! They were actually relatively well behaved – watching DVDs and playing computer games – and it gave me an excuse to go to McDonald’s for lunch.

Poor Ursula was feeling so ill that she started thinking it must be some sort of bug or food poisoning or something, because it carried on pretty much all day. But then she remembered a bizarre parallel to a very similar incident at almost exactly the same stage of her pregnancy with Max. At the time we put it down to a slightly beyond its sell-by date Waitrose ready meal, and Ursula’s never entirely trusted microwave curries since. But this was too similar to be purely coincidental, and sure enough, after 24 hours she was feeling much better. If there are any doctors reading this who can explain how such a thing could happen at around 12 and a half weeks pregnant, your comments would be welcome.

Most importantly, she’s been feeling a lot less sick since yesterday morning, and fingers crossed she’s past the worst of it and can start actually benefitting from the standard second trimester condition of (albeit briefly) feeling vaguely human again. It would be nice if she would feel better, and not only because I’m useless at picking out clothes for the boys and it would be nice if someone else could do their breakfast while I empty the dishwasher.

Speaking of dishwashers, the damn thing packed up the other day. I went to switch it on just before going up to bed, as I do every night, and nothing happened. If finding out that you’re soon to be the father of four children is scary, the concept of having to do all the washing up by hand was flat-out terrifying, especially with Ursula out of commission on the helping out in the kitchen front. So there I was on my hands and knees crawling around under the kitchen cupboards at shortly after midnight, but it was too dark and I was too tired to figure out what was going on. As soon as I awoke the following morning the feeling of dread once again coursed through my veins. It was like a horror movie. So once again I started crawling around trying to figure out the cause of the problem. It was then that I made a reassuring yet totally idiotic discovery. The dishwasher wasn’t working because the plug had worked itself loose from the power socket. But the morons who built the kitchen in this house had positioned the plug behind the cupboard under the sink, with absolutely no means of accessing it. We had to get our friendly Polish builder round – my tool cupboard is a little sparse when it comes to things with which to saw holes in the back of a cupboard while avoiding the electric wires just behind it – just to push the plug back into the socket. 

So with all kitchen appliances functioning, and wife functioning better than she was, it’s been a weekend of relative calm. My sister-in-law called from Russia this afternoon, where she’s been visiting family since before we found out about the twins, so it was the first time I’ve spoken to her PB (post bombshell). She asked if I’d come to terms with it yet. I’ve been asked that question a lot in the last week and a half, and for the first time today, I actually said “I think so.”

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