peas on toast
Every mashionista (fashionista + maternity) inevitably gets one. Or has one, ready for the day they cannot be fucked to wear anything that resembles normal clothing anymore.
When you're so far gone, you just have stopped caring what hangs out anymore.
I'm pretty much there. Because today, I relieved my Tent Dress from it's constrictive hanger. Every morning I wake up and seem to have grown a bit more overnight. I see mother's carrying singletons in my office, who are also about 21 weeks and they don't seem to have any bump at all.
Everyone selse seems small and petite. Not I.
I am looking decidedly well rounded. Hence today, I started wearing my Tent.
Here we all. All three of us in our glory.
I was hoping to only bring the Tent out in 2014, but I guess I'm just going to need... a bigger tent.
My heart is heavy, I feel incredibly homesick, and I have been sporadically bursting into sobs while thinking about his life continuously since the news broke last night.
I am very honoured to have met Madiba (twice!) in my lifetime. The first time, I was 16 and my father was working as a councillor for the Democratic Party in my hometown of Howick.
He was arrested on the outskirts of Howick, and in December 1996 he came back to unveil the first capture monument there. My family met him, and even then as a spotty angst-filled 16 year old, I was blown away by his presence. He had a presence like no other. He even wrote me a little note, which I still have.
In December 1996 Nelson Mandela was awarded "The Freedom of Howick". This followed his arrest some 34 years before, on 5 August 1962, on the main Durban-Johannesburg road, as it was then — more particularly, between Howick and Lidgetton West. A small monument showing the site where he was arrested by the Security Police may be seen on the southern road side of the R102 in a dip in the road. - Wikipedia
It has since been rebuilt as a striking sculpture as most will know.
Very aware of being alive and conscious when the change he bought to South Africa happened. Being 13, I remember clearly the days of the first democratic elections, and how everyone was on tenterhooks about what would happen next. Would there be war? What would happen?
The second time I met him was less of a special 'event,' I was 23 and working as a fledgling reporter at a press conference in Johannesburg.
There is no leader or statesman that I can think of, ever, that has been loved and respected as much as Nelson Mandela. All politicians are loved and hated to some degree, and yet here was a man that managed to rise above a political agenda, creed and hue - who else could say they endeavoured to do that?
Incredibly reflective Friday this will be. Especially in light of the disparity that is the president of the country today. A corrupt, diabolical man, frankly, whose greed and corruption seems to mar the legacy Mandela has left. And could you get any two people sitting on the opposite of a spectrum as Mandel and Julius Malema? One was filled with forgiveness, saw a bigger picture and strove for peace. The other...well, we know about Julius.
That's the most heartbreaking thing here. Not that Mandela is finally left to rest in peace at 95, but because of who leads the country at this moment.
Still, even in death Mandela manages to bring people together across every divide. So many of my friends back home are popping into his house in Houghton to dance, cry and pay their respects.
I wish I was home today.
I'm streaming Highveld. It's just not the same.
Hamba kahle Tata Madiba. May you rest in peace.
Update: Look what I made! Well, it could've been a child, to be fair.
There's a gingerbread decorating gig happening in the corner of the office today, so I made a mini Madiba. Complete with jazzy shirt as a tribute.
I was so excited. This isn't the first scan I've had, but being able to actually see what's going on inside an ever-growing belly is just too brilliant for words.
Last time I saw them, they had kicking legs and started to look more like babies not alien prawns. So I couldn't wait for this one.
While everyone else is getting drunk and eating sushi, I am living for scans. The moments that make pregnancy worthwhile.
The twins are lying yin and yang in my tummy -Twin 1 is literally doing a headstand on my bladder. It hurts and I need to pee every five seconds (I might be with a baggie and catheter near the end...), which explains why I'm super uncomfortable down there.
It's the slightly larger one, and is in the launch position.
Twin 2 is lying diagonally breech, with it's head up near my belly button. This one was pushing on its amniotic sac with its little hand, and crossing its legs. You could see all the little fingers and toes, their hearts beating, their brains and kidneys. It was amazing.
Everyone's babies look the same, especially on an ultrasound, but I wanted to show mine off. This is Twin 2 who seems to have rather long arms and a long leg.
And Twin 1 above who was more difficult to scan, was a little more camera shy.
They're moving and shaking in there quite a bit now, which is great, but seeing them actually move is another thing altogether. Because there's always a piece of me that thinks, Maybe my stomach is swelling for no apparent reason at all. Maybe I'm just a freak of nature.
And then I see them together.
We have decided not to find out the sexes. There's been so much surprise this year, we want to keep something for 2014.
So we looked away when we were told to. But I now know that SOMEONE - this random ultrasound guy - knows if we're having a boy/girl, boy/boy or girl/girl combo. He knows. Fuck we are disciplined - I don't know how we didn't crack and ask.
But I'm pleased. I have no idea what I'm having, and the surprise at the end will be worth it, no? Apparently there's an "instinct" where you just know that's meant to kick in, but I'm not sure if it's that or if I'm just self-prophesising?
Also old wives tales - like if you crave sweet things it's apparently a girl, or if you crave cheese and savoury, it's a boy. Frankly, I'm eating both. And a lot thereof, so does this mean I'm carrying a boy and a girl? That would be ideal, because the Brit and I can't agree on any additional names beyond the one boy name and one girl name we have picked.
Does anyone know of any other ways to try and tell? And, more importantly, should I be starting a betting poll here?
I'm busy as fuck (Aargh! December!) to write a full blog post, but had to share my delight in a recent swing of neighbourly events.
1) 1 x email from Shitty Neighbour noting that three roof tiles have fallen off the house, and as we are all freeholders, the roof maintenance needs to be "urgently" attended to by all of us together, and can we please all come up with a solution to repair said rooftiles?
2) we are having our basement dug out - we've decided to try and do as much as we can with the inside space we have. This means there will be a skip the size of Norway positioned outside our building. Filled with an ever-growing pile of rubble.
Both of these things fill me with immense pleasure. Suddenly, they need us. How the tables have turned.
For 1), we needn't cooperate with rooftile notice. And have henceforth decided not to reply at all to their "email notices" - they made us sit for 3 weeks until veto'ing our plans, so we will sit on their request for money for rooftiles.
Please dear God may the roof not blow off in the interim.
Then the skip fills me with endless joy and delight, for its obvious purpose of serving as a rubble vestibule. In clear view of her lounge window.
One last thing until I head back to my desk, and exploding inbox and HAG chair: I was involved in a very glam, lovely photo shoot and interview today. For a women's glossy magazine, here in London. The premise of the story is about my career, blog and being a female.
I do feel like a woman right now, just by size of my bumps, curves and hormone levels. So it is indeed apt.
But it also feels really good to be randomly recognised in a vast city, and even more so in the foreign country in which I live. The last time I did glam shoots like this was when I was doing publicity for my book - years ago. And in South Africa, where people know me and know my vibe.
Here, it's a whole new thing.
Anyway, that was nice. And I got a lovely manicure to boot. Not to mention hair done, face, wearing a Balenciaga dress, and having a giant fan directed towards my face to make me look like I was on a galloping horse, hair-wise.
Fuck my back hurts.
Looks like I could launch a rocket in this thing, not so?
It also looks well worn. That's because it is. It is the maternity chair of our office, so has had a few pregnant asses sit akimbo on it. It's done the rounds.
It does force you to sit with your legs astride which is helluva flattering, while allowing you to lean back. Essentially, looks like I'm about to give birth in it.
But probably most importantly, it's actually called the HAG chair.
Someone up in the marketing department of this company who thought calling a maternity chair a HAG, was obviously the world's biggest piss taker, and mentioned it as a joke and next thing, a line of Hags were being manufactured ad infinitum. Or, he hates gestating women and thought Hag was just the name to describe one.
It's like making an illegitimate child sit in a high seat called a Bastard. (Isn't it?)
Frankly, it;s fucking hilarious.
Literally using a Hag chair.
I won an auction on eBay! Have you ever won an auction on eBay? Have you? Do you know what it's like? It's flipping marvellous, that's what!
When you're dueling until the final second, with another bidder, feverishly clicking the "increase maximum bid' button, feeling the same rush of emotions that I felt that one time in a casino on my gap yah, when I got addicted to a slots machine, and you're sweating and it's all going cray.
And then, then I actually bloody won.
I was bidding for a cot. Not a car or anything flash, but the cot usually retails for £115 at John Lewis, and I got it for £30, which I am immensely proud of.
I know I need to find another one, but baby steps. Literally.
The problem here is this first spot of luck has immediately made me addictive and glued to eBay. And now I'm bidding for all sorts of things.
Well, a changing table to be fair. Which is in Luton. (Fucking miles away, but don't mind picking it up if I get it for a pound.)
God. I have turned into my mother. I knew this would happen. I am my mother now.
Have also unwittingly upped my hot chocolate consumption considerably. When I say 'upped' I really mean 'intravenously pump hot chocolate around my body not Rhesus D negative blood.'
I mean, everyone loves a steaming cuppa hot choccy, especially when it's crispy cold outside and the frothy loveliness of a good mug of liquid ecstasy gets your loins stirring.
But you probably indulge in a mug here or there right, it's kind of one of those 'occasion' things, like New York cheesecake or bunting.
I am clocking a couple of cups a day.
I insist I can still go to a pub and have a lovely time with friends, just so long as the pub serves hot chocolate and I definitely get a seat.
Most pubs don't offer either of those during peak boozing times, so really not seeing much of the inside of a pub at all lately. Which suits me just fine.
The other day I was to meet a friend at a more-than-posh place in Mayfair after work; the kind of place that serves cocktails in long vase-like glasses, and where everyone wears black and the walls are Sanderson crushed velvet and there's a doorman.
Usually I kind of like these types of places, because there are no geezers draped over the bar being loud and bolshy. However, I arrived slightly earlier than my friend and ended up, after 12 minutes and 6 seconds of waiting (not that I was counting), high-footing it out of there so quickly, due to unforeseen panic attack bought on by bump paranoia.
Bump Paranoia is what happens when you have a large belly. Where you walk into a pub, and immediately think people are staring at your bump. This then manifests into you thinking that people are judging you for your bump. Or more accurately, judging you for being in a pub, with a bump.
Whether it's true or not, I felt like a duck out of water. I couldn't order a cocktail, and it definitely definitely wasn't the kind of place that served hot chocolate - Ohmygod could you imagine even asking - so I freaked out and got the first bus out of Knightbridge.
Anyway. Where was I. Ah. eBay and hot chocolate.
The other thing I'm trying to avoid, and have been told to avoid, is bad advice. One can't always dodge this, but when it comes to having a baby(s), people like to dish it out, whether they've been there or not.
The one's I have realised fast to avoid are stories about "a friend of a friend who died on the birthing table," or "Make sure you eat bananas, otherwise your nipples wall fall off, like my sister's did."
I have had a bit of this - from cousins, friends and others. And it freaks me out. So am trying to avoid at all costs. Even if I live in ignorant bliss about my nipples, being disemboweled during birth and other freaky phenomena, like piles.
Possibly the worst titbit of news I've heard re. childbirth is the following, "Oh my God, you do know you shit yourself right?"
And that's why I'm opting to have a c-section.
There is a Cold War brewing in our building, and it's likely to end in nuclear explosion.
If you are interested/care about anything to do with home renovations and/or construction, then do read on. If your neighbour is a cunt an annoying little cul-hole, then you might find this interesting too.
If you find French people to adhere particularly well to their stereotype of rigid difficultibility, then again, the topic is also covered herein.
As you might already be aware - I have banged on about it for a while - but right up until Saturday morning, we were working towards getting an extension built onto our house.
Being endowed with twins and realising our flat is suddenly dauntingly small, we launched into the process that comes with wanting to extend a property.
We had about two weeks left until the council finally gave it the thumbs up, and in the meantime, my dutiful husband has been briefing neighbours, putting together party wall agreement documents, generally guiding everyone, very diplomatically, towards the fact that there would be building works happening in our house.
This is a legal requirement, so we've been jumping through all the necessary hoops.
Everyone - save one couple - has been great about it, realising we are about to size the fuck up, family-wise.
They have all had long conversations with the Brit about their concerns, and everyone has come to agreement that it should be done; one couple even saying it would be completely unreasonable not to let us do this.
Neighbours have to agree - and sign - an agreement for this work to commence. We don't have a lot of time here (Crisis, I'm halfway through my pregnancy), so we've been working on this day and night.
However, in most ointments, there is a fly.
And this one comes in the package of a Parisian woman. The stereotype dictates that French women from Paris are the most petulant and difficult in the world. Funny, I literally have no idea why anyone would generalise that way about them at all.
She and her husband have been 'special' since day one.
For one, he says he does anything, without argument, that his wife wants him to do. He wants "an easy life" and this is the way he achieves it, even mentioning that the French are indeed, "extremely difficult." She doesn't want the noise, because she works from home and has a "VERY" stressful job.
"Oh, what does she do?" I ask, thinking maybe she's a paramedic, or an air traffic controller, or is the actual prime minister.
"She's in PR."
Oh. My world! I can relate here, and of course PR can be stressful if you're on call and dealing with a major crisis/issue and journalists are calling you at midnight for statements. I know this world well.
Turns out, she PRs for an accessories company. Bracelets and necklaces must be seriously controversial and insane, then. Think of all the global issues that come with the costume jewellery domain.
Anyway, we move on. And as we try and offer solutions for her, she just digs her heels in deeper and finds an excuse for every suggestion we try. We offer gant charts, so that the builders will put down their tools on certain days so she can work in silence.
Oh, wait. Maybe she needs to get something out of this too.
So we get her in touch with our architect, so that she can perhaps piggy back on our plans to create a balcony of their own on the back of our new structure. (She can't, but that's the council's decision, not ours.)
We are just short of pleading, while she goes on about noise and "needing her home to be just so."
Of course, we can do whatever indoor renovations we want without her consent, anyway (like a bathroom). And there will be noise anyway. The difference here is that some of the building work will be outside.
Either way, she refused to bend, and to make matters worse, kept playing the victim card - that this was "ruining her calm."
So the Brit comes up with an idea. "We'll rent her an office! A nice one! It'll be a nice gesture!"
He does all his research and finds a few a skip, hop and jump from our building, so she can do her work in peace. That's apparently her largest gripe, so we will make sure she's comfortable and has an alternative. Surely, that will be a good solution here?
Bah non. That was met with a sneer and a "She doesn't like being told what to do."
She also seems to think that we haven't been holding her hand and including her during the whole process. Accusing us of not telling her of our plans. Which is total bullshit - all we have DONE here is keep her abreast of what we want to do and how and why we are doing things, step by step.
So she has got her way, simply by not signing the agreement. She is the very reason we can't proceed.
Make no mistake, I can see the bigger picture here. It IS a blessing in disguise. We don't have the money. We'd need to find the rest of it. And that could be in vested shares, if we are lucky, or a lottery ticket. We also don't have the luxury of time to go into a full legal dispute, pushing plans and timings back even further.
But the fact that she is the reason this isn't happening; it's her lousy attitude, that's what really got under under my skin.
Her husband came downstairs to deliver the news in a sheepish veil of, "She doesn't like coming home. This has been so stressful for her. The work would mess with her "sanctuary of tranquility." (Are. You. Joking?)
At least I know I won't give birth in a building site, so I am trying to remain positive here. But our place could've been so much better, it had so much potential, we could've lived there longer.
So we will have to make do with a small house. The poor Brit was so depressed, my heart broke for him. He's been working on this day and night. We have also spent about £4 000 already on things like solicitors, architects, council and legal fees.
It was a bitter pill to swallow, administered by a shitty neighbour whose view of herself exceeds any level of self-importance I have seen in a human in a while.
So, we are now looking at what we can do inside that:
1) makes a fuckload of noise - and doesn't need her approval like hosting a rave;
2) involves about 12 angle grinders and jackhammers;
3) can somehow make our space larger and twin friendly.
We might be able to do our basement. Basements are $$$ - you need things like lightwells/fire escapes and digging is involved.
But we are looking at it, as it can be an additional room.
We are going to get new cupboards put in for storage, and redo the kitchen which is currently small and looks like it escaped a 70s time machine.
We'll do things like sand the floors and double glaze the windows.
Then as a final touch, I will Farrow & Ball everything in a flamboyant flourish.
PS: Oh, before I forget. When I do see this woman and/or her husband, what is the BEST thing I could do? I am open to any suggestions that come my way. Do I blank her? Do I tell her what I think of her and her ask her to pay our £4 000 bill?
Someone suggested telling her we had decided to rent our property out. To students. That are a heavy metal band. Called 'Satan's Crotch.' Or to an escort agency.
PPS: Unrelated funny story: Tweedy drove to the supermarket on Friday night in her onesie. She broke down in the tesco parking lot.Of course she did. Had to call the AA to collect her.
Things got all Breaking Bad and she gave her car one last try, and with luck, it started, so she managed to get the car back to her own driveway. But that's why one should never wear a onesie outside the house, in case you have thought about doing it. Which I have. Several times. A day.
Is this normal for this stage in the race?
I'm just about halfway through my pregnancy. If they are prem, then I am more than halfway.
They are starting to sit or poke things like my [sensitive] colon, while indigestion and heartburn plague me after every meal.
I feel sort of like the 8:00am Clapham Common tube. Stuffed to the point of bursting, but just when I think there couldn't possibly be any more room for another person to wedge themselves on board, teetering between being flattened by a door or falling into the Gap, they manage to get on.
I am currently a full tube carriage. Knowing that at least another 10 people will need to be crammed on between here and Edgware.
And this is before I have eaten a meal. After eating a meal I just want to go and have a lie down. So that my sides don't burst open.
Frankly, where will these babies find the space? Something is going to have to give - or burst - surely - I'm certain it will.
Anyway, I bought myself some marginally decent maternity clothes. Maternity clothes are a sorry state of affairs (why, as a pregnant woman, would I suddenly want to wear brown and lilac? Why are so many clothes festooned in these ungodly colours?) - anyway, I found that Asos does an almost normal-looking maternity skinny jean.
And look, in a variety of Farrow & Ball hues. hip colours. Don't you love this strapping pair? I liked that they were aubergine. ("Pelt" in F&B language.) They also didn't cost the Earth. These bad boys are going to be worn long after I give birth, let it be known.
We went on a South African taster evening the other night with some Saffa friends. Everyone else did the wine pairing, while I just stuffed my face with mini boboties, ostrich steak and other ridiculously delicious home bites.
After 9 courses, none of us could physically move. We were so stuffed, we could hardly manage to leave the restaurant. I was so uncomfortable, I feared I'd give birth right on the pavement outside.
I am nesting. This can be the only explanation. I had a splendid time polishing our fragrance bottles in the bathroom last week. I literally had the best time ever. Polishing them and making them all shiny.
Until we know about these renovations, I can't do anything housy-housy in most of our rooms. The bathroom is one place I can go and make everything just right. The other rooms are waiting to be half bashed down.
I am OCD about my house and the space that I inhabit. I just need my surroundings to be beautiful and most importantly, ORDERLY. My house is not my castle, it's my fucking universe. And if it doesn't look pretty, I just feel completely out of sorts.
It's worse than ever right now.
Bottles last weekend; this week I might soap down the attic hatch in the ceiling. Seriously. It looks a bit fingerprint-fiddled.
Lastly, like every year, the papers are threatening that Britain is going to experience the "worst winter in 60 years," with one report sayign we could have "100 straight days of snow."
They really go over the top and get their knickers in a knot around here about the weather.
They say something like this every year, and yes, while winter is seven shades of shit in it's bleakest moments here, it is always like that. So why should I believe that this year is gong to be any worse, or different?
The wind is icy and it's all wet outside, but there is something to be said for strolling through the common on a crisp autumn morning on the way to work.
An adjudicator reads out the places listed in the weather section of the Daily Telegraph, and opponents need to guess the maximum temperature for that day.
Adjudicator: "Perpignan, showers."
Peas: Let's see....showers....24 degrees.
Welsh man: Naw, are you Men-Tal. It's Win-Ter. Def-In-Itely Low-Er.
Ajudicator: 25. Point to Peas.
And there are leagues, and we have a table and thus far, I am the current champion. I have smidgeon of meteorological roots in my genetic makeup. There's a background in condensation in there somewhere, so my guestimates tend to be startlingly accurate.
Anyway. We've moved on.
We got wind of someone painting their living room - or more accurately - "their corral" in Farrow & Ball.
Us Dulux users in the room (having just painted ours Polished Pebble a few weekends ago), were both thrown into a fit of jealousy and curiosity.
The silky aristocratic finish of a Farrow & Ball is undeniable. It costs about £30 a pot of paint (about double the Dulux variety) and manor houses across Surrey are adorned with the stuff.
This lovely little blog post pretty much sums up Farrow & Ball users.
Anyway, we decided to veer off piste and push the Weather Game aside and instead introduce amongst ourselves The Farrow & Ball Challenge: Guess The Hue. Judged by the colleague who painted his living room "corral" in "Stiffkey Blue."
I'm Stiffkey Blue with envy. Middle class paints are the world in which I was meant to be born. Besides, we live in South West London! This is meant to be our schtick, because all our neighbours are doing it! Even if we pretend we Farrow & Ball, they'll know immediately that we don't.
The difference between "Mole's Breath" and our paltry "Polished Pebble" might not look like much when you're comparing swatches, but woe begone us when they see the paint on the actual walls.
Christ, we won't be able to invite anyone over at this point.
Here are the swatches. Match the name to the hue.
Elephant's Breath Clunch Charlotte's Locks Middleton Pink Smoked Trout Terre d'Egypte Manor House Gray
Let's just say "Elephant's Breath is the future."
UPDATE: Clearly Dulux isn't going to cut it around here anymore. My pal in Manchester just got in touch to say she painted her entire living room in Elephant's Breath.
Am about to lose my shit and go out and buy 10 pots of Cooked Green Apple, as a gesture of my growing jealousy. I WANT TO BE PART OF THE FARROW CLUB. I WANT TO FARROW EVERYTHING.
And this is why. Right here.
I think - or at least am mostly certain - I felt the babies move this weekend. It wasn't a movement as much as it was flickerings. Soft nudges.
To be fair, I thought it might've been my digestive juices working overtime, after demolishing a gourmet burger at a pop up foodie market in Brockley.
As in, I thought it might've been gas.
But the movement itself has been consistent with the timings (I am just over 18 weeks) and it's whenver I am lying still they seem to awaken and start to flutter about ever so slightly. It's an amazing feeling. (Well, no, it literally feels like butterflies and/or gas), but to know they're moving around is kind of cool.
The Brit desperately slapped his hand over my bump, copping a feel and wanting in on the action. The flickers are so slight, it's very hard for him to distinguish them, but he looked up with big hopeful eyes saying , "Why can't I feel them? You get to feel all this action, I feel left out!"
Yes, well, I wonder if you'll be saying this when the action turns to piles and jabs in the ribs, darling.
Peas: I can try and poke them, maybe they'll move if we jiggle my tummy a bit.
Brit: No, we can't antagonize them surely.
Peas: Well I don't know, it's more like just moving them.
Peas: Wait, wait, there, THERE! Quickly, pass me your hand. Did you feel that?
Peas: Fuck. OK .....and now?
Brit: YES OH MY GOD YES! I.....think?
So thus we spent last night with our hands placed across various areas of my stomach.
- - -
Also! The Dove got engaged this weekend! BREAKING NEWS. One of my best buddies is going to get hitched, and bless her soul, has asked me to be her bridesmaid.
God knows what state my ass, stomach, boobs - general body vibe - will be in at that stage - but even if I have to wear a specially sewn post-natal satin sack, I'll be there. I am thrilled for her.
This is tough. It's too soon, so I'll try to keep it brief.
Given our hands are going to be full with our instantaneous family, and that we aren't going to know if it's night or day around here when the twins arrive, we are trying to simplify our lives.
That means creating more space, and getting rid of things that we won't have much time for anymore.
So, from beloved old furniture like my Louis chairs to...my guinea pigs.
They were rehomed yesterday. My beautiful, sweet little Wayne and Dwayne. My other twins. We won't have the space, or the time to be even slightly good parents. Hell, who would clean the cage?
I put them on a guinea pig adoption website (there is such a thing here) a few weeks ago, and hadn't heard anything back. We had tried all our friends and family, but none of them were keen.
Anyway, someone came forward last week. She is a student, living with two others in Bethnal Green and seemed lovely. She had owned guinea pigs before and mentioned she was from a farm in Devon. (We love the farmy types. What we want are farmy types for adoptive parents.)
They have a garden with springy, green grass and they all seemed lovely. Wayne & Dwayne would have a better life - they'd get way more outside time with these girls.
It was the right thing to do by them, to be brutally honest.
But that still didn't mean I didn't wail the whole way home and need to devour a massive macaroni cheese for supper (guilt, trauma-riddled eating). Am feeling completely deflated.
It was sad to say goodbye to my pets. The house is very quiet.
I can't bear to look at their little faces, but for the purposes of closure - here are the boys.
Devastating. They will have a better life, they will have a better a life, they will have a better life.
Not sure how this hasn't come up once in my 33 years of being alive, but it turns out that I have some fucked up rare blood type.
Most people know their blood types right? If you don't, like me, you kind of truck on through life assuming you're an O (44% of the UK is an O).
Or maybe you really really like needles and you're one of those amazing blood donor type people. I've always dreaded the thought of giving blood, the thought makes me pukey and I'm not even in the chair.
But I've had blood tests for things before and somehow assumed that my blood type must've been on record anyway.
I assumed wrong.
With pregnancy you get about 8000 blood tests. - for Down's syndrome, for Hepatitis, HIV, the whole thing.
And this time, a little brown envelope was delivered through the slit in the door by Postman Pat.
It said that I am Rhesus D Negative, which is less than 7% of the global population. It's a rare and precious blood type which can cause me massive complications when pregnant.
But of course - having twins isn't complicated enough.
It's also a blood that can be given to almost anybody. So it's highly transferable for anyone in an accident or needs a transfusion due to its 'antigens' or unique proteins. That bit is fine. Giving me blood is complicated; I need the same type. My blood also cannot come into any contact with my babies' blood.
Fuck. So all this time.
Lesson here of course is that once I have had my children, I will start donating blood. I'm donating my organs to science when I die, and now armed with this new knowledge of my blood type, I simple cannot not give blood.
The complications in pregnancy are that because it's such a rare type, the chances of one or even both of my babies having my blood type are like 1 in 8000. And if our blood mixes on delivery or even just through their placentas - from what I can tell through all the medical mumbo jumbo - I can basically cannablise my children.
They won't be born with the right antibodies and could die. I could die. We could all die.
To combat this risk, they will start injecting me with something called 'Anti D' in two months from now and up until after I give birth. It's basically a mini blood transfusion with blood from Canada ("the best, most pure, low risk-for-disease blood." Filled with maple syrup, no doubt?) so that I have the right antibodies in my blood and none of these attack my babies.
Apparently this is also for my second pregnancy (Good one! If all goes right this one, there will be no second pregnancy, ever!), so that my [next] baby has some kind of immunity when born.
I mean WTF.
So yeah. Beam me up with a strapping Canadian's blood. I'm not scared.
In case you have this weird affliction and want to know more - here is a point by point scenario on being Rhesus D negative and the risks to your baby(s).
This is a conversation I had with the Dove this morning after posting a picture of the Brit's and mine evening last night:
The Dove: MBF?
Peas: It's one of our new support groups.
The Dove: I'm sorry, but that's hilarious.
Dove: Reminds me of Fight Club. 'The first rule of MBF is..."
Peas: Did I tell you that we've started going to church?
Dove: What. The Fuck.
Dove: You're joking right.
Peas: Nope. The Catholic one down the road.
Peas: It's a long story.
Dove: So hang on. Let me get this straight. You're now a Catholic who participates in multiple birthing support groups.
Peas: That pretty much sums it up.
Dove: This is fun.
Peas: I'm also going to be fucking massive. I'll need someone to winch me into the office come February.
Peas: So I'll be a fat, Catholic, multiple birthing aficionado.
Peas: You're starting to wonder whether we can still be friends aren't you.
Progress is being made. I accepted a seat! (Offered by, once again, a woman. Chivalry is well and truly dead, and it's completely disheartening.)
One thing that's been stressing me out more than the concept of childbirth - I mean, I am shitting terrified of childbirth - is what needs to happen before I turn into a walking dairy farm.
Our house extension and renovations. Endless worries.
When we bought our house, we had no idea we would be having twins. We were planning to do renovations anyway, but it didn't seem as urgent as it seems now.
We realised fast that we are going to need a lot more space. And because there's so much red tape to get through to even have these bloody building works approved, we haven't started yet.
All I care about is that they are done by March, which could be when my babies decide to make an early appearance.
We could've done with not using this money towards rebuilding our house, basically, but it's an invstment that will pay back in the end - space-wise and property value-wise.
However, the neighbours have to agree that we do this, and one in particular is worried about the noise and dust, and the council still need to approve our plans. Which means who knows when they'll start. And who knows if they even will in the end, given the end of the year is fast approaching.
There's a mental and torturous tug o' war happening inside my cranium, knowing we won't have a chance to do this after they are born, and life will be much more comfortable with a bigger space - so best I just grit my teeth and get on with it.
We'll have an additional bedroom for starters; the existing spare bedroom is very small, which is barely enough room to serve as a double nursery.
But if this does proceed, I will probably go batshit crazy while this all happens, and builders don't finish on time EVER and I end up giving birth on a building site.
Then there's the worry that we have enough money to do this. We should be just about fine, so long as the costs are fixed.
I'm also scaling down on what we currently have in our house. My tastes have changed as it is (hormones probably, or maybe just old age), and I am determined to declutter everything and make our home as simple as I possibly can. Knick knacks, millions of scatter cushions, trinkets, furniture we don't use, but rather stare at - I'm selling them all.
My priorities have changed. I don't want to make even more work for myself, I just want free-flowing spaces. Which will be no doubt be fast filled with their baby stuff.
The eBay app is best friend right now. I've sold my beloved Louis chairs (I look at them as a previous chapter), and am having a brutal clearout every weekend of clothes and things we just don't need.
Our stuff is still boxed up, and I plan to go through each and every item we own.
Having "stuff" just makes me feel claustrophobic right now. How life has changed. I used to collect so much stuff, so many things, and now I just want a very basic, minimalist, but classic, house.
Maybe I'm nesting. They say this is what happens when you're going to sprog, perhaps your mind just knows you won't have time to do things like paint the skirting boards for a long time. (I did this last weekend.)
I just hope whatever happens with the building works - if it happens or not - everything just works out as it should be for when they arrive.
And I just tell myself that everything is going to be just fine. And try and believe it.
Then explain why it's the most awkward accessory in Britain ever. And why.
Ah look. She's wearing a badge. What does it say?
Oh there's a baby on board. Like one of those vile car thingies people hang in their rear windscreens.
The problem with this badge is fewfold.
The most obvious problem is that it's intended to start a conversation.
For those of you have ever taken a London tube, you'll understand that having a conversation - let alone being the person who actually starts one - is a very serious offence indeed.
I don't want to talk in tubes either. I like that no one makes eye contact, nevermind engages in idle chitchat. Getting the badge was a decision I made because I thought I'd very much like the exuse to take a seat as I get larger and more immobile.
The problem is that sometimes, when people look up from their papers, 1 in 10 do actually remember their manners (I have to say, most have been females, not men) and politely ask me if I'd like their seat.
I thought until I start looking like a pregnant bovine, I will decline offerings of seats unless I'm really tired and I haven't grabbed one to start with.
But there's always a nervous shuffle, followed by a hasty croak as I say, "Thanks so much, it's OK, I'm getting off in...12 stops, it's fine."
I have become too British for the badge. What I need to do is take this up a notch and actually take a fucking seat when it's offered to me.
Really, I should jump at the offer. It would mean less awkward, polite niceties in the bloody tube: a space that makes any conversation really awkward and weird.
The other problem with the badge is psychological. People look at my badge, then immediately their eyes revert to my stomach. I then wonder if they can actually see my burgeoning bump. What if they can't, will they think I'm a fraud?
Should I give a shit?
As a result, I now stand with my hips and stomach out, much like the guy at the corner pub after he's downed 18 lagers and looks as though he's about to give birth to a massive beer baby and/or a Neanderthal. And still deny the seat.
It totally doesn't make sense, I need help.
Thirdly, I'm going to be larger than most pregnant women pretty soon. Already, the Australian in our office, whose wife is as far gone as I am, said, "Oy mate, you are so beeg, moi woife isn't HUHFFE the soize of you mate."
Great. And my ass seems to be growing at the same rate my stomach is.
I also seem to be growing outwards as well as sideways. Those skinny little yummy mummies with neat, pointed little pot bellies that you can't see from behind? I don't think that's going to be my vibe at all.
I should therefore make my fellow passengers telepathically aware that I am carrying two babies, not one, so everyone passively aggressively understands why I am so large.
I am going to need a crane to get out of bed in the morning; and I suspect I won't need the badge to remind anyone to offer me their seat on the tube for too much longer.
Anyway, thought I'd show you my "flair."
It's quite disconcerting being pregnant.
Actually, if I'm completely honest, it's a bit shit. I feel guilty for saying that, as I should probably feel grateful for it, but a whole bunch of things start happening to your body, and to be frank, most of them are an inconvenience.
For all the pregnant women who say, "Oh my God, I just love being pregnant" I think you're lying. Maybe you're in the second trimester and your bump is looking good, and you feel amazing - awesome. I still think you're lying.
I didn't have a totally terrible first three months, but I have to say this:
1) Being pregnant is extremely boring. You can't drink, you can't eat stuff you blatantly enjoy (sushi) and you're too tired to stay up beyond 10pm.
2) You feel sick and tired for three months. A little like what I imagine a cancer patient to feel like.
I was extremely lucky, to be fair. I've had mates (Kate Middleton being of my close pals, too, obvs), who have yacked their brains out so much within the first three months that they had to be hospitalised and have drips attached to them.
I didn't puke very much, which was nice. I constantly felt like I could, though.
I'd wake up in the middle of the night feeling really ill, during lunch time I would feel sick, on the tube ride to work I feared I would projectile vomit over a group of stoic strangers. Pretty much most of the day, I was at that tipping point where if someone asked me to puke on demand, I just about could.
Would've been a fantastic party trick. If I could stay awake to actually go to one in the first place.
It was the tiredness that was the killer though. Around 1pm in the afternoons, after I'd eaten lunch consisting of something blander than a pair of taupe stockings, usually mashed potato and a wedge of hard cheese, I would suddenly feel as though I'd been raving all night long.
The tiredness would slap me in the face, and encase my head in cotton wool, envelope my body in a smothering blanket. Where, if I didn't stand up and force myself to walk around the office, I would certainly pass out cold on my desk.
It's a strange kind of exhaustion that literally just takes over your body. I managed to keep up some sort of gym programme during this time, mainly because I knew that running on a treadmill over lunch would keep me physically upright/awake.
Then once home, I'd be asleep by 8:30pm. It's as if the little parasites I was growing inside me had attached a direct pipeline from my mouth to their stomachs, sourcing any bit of energy they could. And I suppose they were, so that they could grow all their organs.
The problem too is that I wanted to keep this a secret for as long as I could; most women do I think, at least until the 12 week mark and the scan confirms that everything is fine and the chances of miscarriage decrease.
So while you're green at the gills, I would hold onto a wine glass at drinks do's so that no one would suspect anything.
How I managed to keep this under wraps until 15 weeks is beyond me, it feels like everything is changing and weird and that you're the only one in the world this is happening to. Especially with twins.
I immediately went off a bunch of foods. And it's still an issue, I can't eat or smell certain foods without feeling ill.
I literally went off things that were actually healthy and good for me. Vegetables? Oh my gad, get those away from me, especially if they were raw. I used to pile my plate with baby spinach, tomatoes, kale - now? I can't even look at these things.
Fish? Good Lord, NO. I used to love eating grilled salmon. Favourite food basically. Now? Urrgh.
I'm back on the dairy in a massive way, because it's one of the only food groups I don't mind eating - stuffing my face with yoghurt and hard cheese.
The other stuff I crave is bland food. Potatoes, bread, pasta, anything that's basically a carb. Meat generally not, unless it's a sausage or something.
The weird part is I crave sushi, but I'm not allowed to eat it. I also would love a bit of parma ham, or "deli meats" as they say, but not really allowed these either.
I haven't had a coffee in four months - or a drink for that matter - and I'm being particular fanatical about this (as much as I would LOVE a coffee). I'm being fanatical, because my babies are probably going to be premature as it is.
But that said, despite feeling and getting fat (let's not lie - I will be the size of a rhino soon), a bit overwhelmed, I'm glad to see the back of the first trimester.
I also need to go and buy myself some massive pants this weekend. The sexy ones with the massive band that holds everything in.
It's been hard to hide that for four months.
To say that there has been a seismic shift in everything that I've ever known to be real, true and planned, well, that's a slight fucking under-exaggeration.
It was middish August, height of summer, was swashbuckling my way around the pub on a lovely Friday afternoon, enjoying the crispiness of my cider(s).
It occurred to me - in the pub - God knows why I had this thought inside a pub - that I should probably take a pregnancy test. I was late. Given I had been travelling - Malta, Borneo, etc, I didn't think there was anything really to worry about, so I bought one of those cheap guys from SuperDrug.
Yeah. There were two blue lines.
The Brit and I decided not to panic, because there was no way (right? right?) I could possibly be pregnant.
We bought another one. Same two blue lines. Still decided to not blow this completely out of proportion - "we just can't possibly be pregnant, surely?" Decided to wait a week and buy the expensive one. The ClearBlue test. The one that tells you how far along and was apparently "99.99999% accurate."
It told me I was 5 weeks pregnant. Mild panic and hot flushes. "But how? No, but how? No, but this wasn't meant to happen straightaway? I have endometriosis, so but how? It's too soon, but how?"
We had just bought a house. One that we had to rebuild in some areas. The timing wasn't ideal.
Had to attend the Brit's brother's wedding, which was slightly stressful as 1) I had to pretend I was drinking, 2) felt sick and extremely tired and 3) overly hormonal and scared.
I was about 7 weeks in at this point, when I started bleeding.
As much as I wasn't prepared to be pregnant, I did think I was having a miscarriage, which was a bit horrifying in itself.
It's when I realised that actually I'd be really gutted if I was going to miscarry. I got told to head to A&E at the hospital, Brit at my side, feeling anxious and not quite knowing how this would all end up.
And this is when it got suddenly very very intense.
The hospital booked me in for a scan, so they could see if I was in fact, miscarrying. I told the Brit he didn't need to be there, there was nothing much we could do now anyway, no point two of us being disrupted from work, it would just be a quick thing to determine what was going down.
Midwife: "Mrs On Toast?"
Peas: [Squeaking] That's me.
Midwife: As you're only 7 weeks along, we won't be able to see much, but if your baby is fine we can pick up a heartbeat with a scan.
Midwife: I am going to have to ask you to spread your legs.
Peas: Oh God. OK.
She presented the vaginal scanner. A little scary, and does pretty much what the name suggests.
Midwife: Right let's see....I can see there's been a slight tear in your uterus, and there's a small haemorrhage.
Peas: Right, but is the baby OK?
[She's frowning now, while she navigates the scanner]
Peas: er...what's going on?
Midwife: No all is fine. There's just a lot of movement happening in your uterus and I am finding out why.
Peas: OK, but the baby is OK.
Midwife:...so...... do you like surprises?
Now isn't that a question. I like surprises when it's my birthday. I don't like surprises when - and I'm going to be candid here - have a scanner thrust up my vagina.
Even so, nothing crossed my mind except for "Oh, maybe it's hanging upside down" (?) or "Maybe it's doing something funny like a cartwheel" (??)
Midwife: OK. There are two in here.
Peas: I'm sorry, I beg pardon?
Midwife: [Smiling and avoiding eye contact] You are pregnant with twins.
Peas: [Bursting into tears] Show me that screen, NOW!
At that sudden moment, I felt my life literally change forever. It sounds dramatic, but at that very moment, the universe changed for me. I cried for three reasons.
1) Relief that my baby was OK. I knew then that although this was unplanned, I still wanted this baby.
2) I am crazy hormonal. Right now I can cry at the drop of a hat.
3) Sheer, crazy head-blugeoning shock.
Twins? TWINS? What. The. Actual. Fuck.
How on EARTH, did this happen?
Not once, in all my days, years of being alive, did even the possibility of having twins ever cross my mind.
Midwife:...so..this is a normal reaction by the way.
Peas: [Bawling] What on Earth am I going to tell my poor husband? How are we going to cope? What the hell, how has this happened?
Midwife: Just breath.e OK. Breathe. Take your time. Here is a picture of your scan.
My twins at 7 weeks old. Those two blobs inside the big black blobs? Those are babies.
For the next hour, I walked around in circles in the hospital. In a shocked daze.
I phoned the Brit.
"How was the scan, are we still pregnant?"
"Are you sitting down."
Repeat the above conversation, except take away the midwife, the vaginal scanner. The Brit didn't cry, but he did sound like he was going to have a heart attack at one point, and jumped into a cab to meet me at the hospital.
Where we both proceeded to walk around and around in circles trying to work out what the fuck had just happened.
I then had to head back to work and go to a meeting. And pretend that nothing had just happened.
Both are an unplanned surprise.
Day in, day out, since Saturday, my husband and I have done nothing else but go to work and paint our living room (will be bedroom eventually, if all goes to plan.)
Monday night. Tuesday night. Wednesday night. Thursday nigh. And tonight - we will have friends over for dinner a takeaway and not paint.
This has been the general transformation. And fuck, if it hasn't sucked.
Lady who dwelled before liked an all red boudoir. This would've been just up my street, like, 3 years ago. Then my tastes suddenly and rapidly did a 360.
Husband painting the tall spots.
Two coats white first to blot out the brazen hue.
God. Only halfway.
If, like me, you forget how shit painting a room is, remember this. It's not therapeutic. Your arms sting. The fumes hone, and someone always has to finish the corners.
And in England, you need to consider things like the radiator.
And we're done.
We've been painting and catching up on the admin of our lives.
I am also harbouring a secret.
It's going to change the world (or actually, it might, you never know). Either way, it's a big secret. I will reveal all once I have all the full facts in place.
PS: It's occurred to me - hours later - that you, the Internet, might not even be interested in my secret. But again, that is the beauty of the wonderful, mostly faceless Internet.
We've been painting and catching up on the admin of our lives.
I am also harbouring a secret.
It's going to change the world (or actually, it might, you never know). Either way, it's a big secret. I will reveal all once I have all the full facts in place.