My Twilight Summer

I think I will remember this summer as permanent twilight. It’s over 30 degrees outside but the Special Care Baby Unit is cool from the air conditioning, the babies protected against the light by cornflower blue blinds. It’s calm and quiet here and quite soothing. I’ve got into ebooks for my iPad to pass the time. Just as well as it would be almost too dark to read a real book in here.

Beatrix is lying across my chest covered in a bright pink blanket. I feel terribly proud of her as she just made her first attempt at breast feeding. Even though my nipple is bigger than half her head she had a good go at getting it in her mouth and swallowing a few drops I expressed in. She is strong this girl. Her grip, her jaws, her gaze, her cry when she really wants to protest at something, are all surprisingly fierce for one so small.

Alexander seems much more meek but perhaps he is just conserving his energy for important things like breathing. He is back on a bit of oxygen 4 hours a day as his saturation levels were dropping but he seems really comfortable and is as heavy and eating as much as his sister. I still feel like I spend more time holding and talking to Beatrix and I feel guilty. I hold him every day for an hour but perhaps I am just nervous as he seems more fragile.

Having more than one child under any circumstances must, I suppose, involve guilt on some level. As I left Lucas at the childminder’s today he cried bitterly and looked at me with such sad tear filled eyes as I went to leave. I know that what he’d like better than anything is a day at home with my undivided attention. When I drop him off a little later I think he feels cheated having thought he was spending the day with me. It’s hard but I have to comfort myself that we have managed to keep things pretty normal for him through the past few months of turmoil for us. And I know this is nothing compared to the shock he will get when these so far slightly hypothetical babies come home and really have my attention.

My mum and dad are coming up soon. Just for an hour. That’s parental devotion given it takes and hour to an hour and a half to get here and worse back in the traffic. I wish they could stay longer to see Lucas as he keeps asking to see them. I miss being able to pop down to the countryside and the cleaner air and the green fields. I couldn’t go since my waters broke in case I went into labour and I guess I can’t go until these get out of special care unless I want to abandon them for a day. Still, life will return to relative normality soon.

I am cutting myself some slack. Yesterday I got a cleaner for the first time in my life. She asked me where the furniture polish was and I looked blank. I repeated the word like it was new to me and said ‘Ah yes, I saw that once’. She cleaned my bathroom door. I don’t think I’ve ever considered cleaning my doors. Why haven’t I done this sooner? She was also a midwife in the Ukraine so will help with babies a bit when they come out.

I allowed myself two hours off today to go to the dental hygienist in the morning (woo hoo I know how to relax and kick back don’t I?) Now I am no dental wuss and I just survived a twin caesarean but IT HURT. These people are sadists. Next time I will just have a massage. Went on to the high street to join Brentford’s finest as the Olympic Torch went by. It was strangely moving to see so many people out on a sunny day coming together for something like this. There was a real party atmosphere. A lot of tattoos and burnt toddlers’ skin gleaming in the sun. Nice.

I wished I’d brought Lucas but he would have been hard to wrangle in a crowd. I am still quite unsure of myself out and about having spent 7 weeks on bed/sofa rest. I really haven’t walked more than the length of my street since my waters broke ten weeks ago and my stamina and physical confidence is not what it was. I am dying to start running again. My personal trainer (ho ho I know, get me – how unlikely) had got me boxing and doing interval training and running 70 minutes straight before I got pregnant. Every time I drive past my running route I can’t believe I could go that far. I think I have about 8-10lbs to lose to get back to my pre-baby weight and about 16 to get back to fighting fit. Oh well might as well make the most of the oh I’ve just had twins and I’m breastfeeding excuse and keep troughing it.

The milk supply had got up to about 2 litres a day until I started getting a bit lazy and distracted and seems to be heading back down so I have the alarm set for 3am pump and need to get more disciplined if I want to feed them when they come home. The senior nurse predicted we’d be out in four weeks today which sort of cheered me. My ambitious heart said ‘3’ silently but it’s probably not realistic. I am treating it like I treat a rough patch at work. Just keep turning up every day and going through the motions. Something will change and progress.. At least there is always something to look forward to.

Tonight we went to a country pub five minutes from us in Osterley with a big pub garden and BBQ. So nice to just be out as a family for the evening. Freedom will return. It will.

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