And then there were four.....
Some of you more eagle eyed die-hard Skinny Jeans and Coffee Blog fans may remember a post I did back in September last year dedicated to my beautiful cousin who was going through the indescribably insane process of IVF. The post title, "Buckle up, you’re in for a bumpy ride….." was chosen largely because I'd been there myself and knew without any doubt whatsoever that whatever was to happen over the next few weeks, months and foreseeable future was going to be, as they say in reality TV "an absolute rollercoaster Simon." Then she braced herself for the dreaded two week wait, or the "2ww" as those going through IVF and joining fertility online forums will know. Having been there and done that seven years previously, I was absolutely terrified for her. We would chat and discuss what would happen if the coin flipped and life changed forever - on either side of the scale. Knowing that those tiny embryos inside you at that very moment have a chance either way of making it but you still have to continue with everyday life is something no one really warns you about. Society seems to dictate that you only tell people of a pregnancy at the twelve week "safe" stage but when you are neither pregnant or non pregnant and just waiting impatiently to take that test, you feel helpless, sick with worry, shaky and putting every last symptom down to "could this be it?"
A day before my birthday, in October last year, I received a WhatsApp message from her.
"I've got a faint line on the pregnancy test"
She's a couple of days early testing so I tell her off -
"Stop testing! But show me a pic....."
"And there's a priest walking past my car carrying a box of Milk Tray"
Spluttering my coffee, I am about to reply and my phone pings with a picture. Excited to see what the test pic shows and hoping beyond hope I see two lines, I open the app to find....
Practically choking on my coffee, I reply -
"Wanted a pic of the test but y'know......"
A few minutes later, I am reliably informed that my beautiful cousin is pregnant. Two strong lines, a few days, another few tests at the fertility clinic and.....
The WhatsApp messages between us increase. My cousin is not the type to send one message, she sends twenty and types messages the way she speaks. Fast, spilling thoughts at a rate of knots and often not even necessarily connected with what you started talking about in the first place. (You're reading about someone who once sent me a picture of a piece of Naan bread that looks like them. I'll spare you the pic...)
The following month, an unexpected one pops into my inbox.
"I've just seen two heartbeats"
"They're doing perfectly"
Twins. Not one, but two little miracles. Twins!! Yep, two! "Double trouble!" "Ooh, you'll have your hands full" and "Was it buy one get one free?" which, given the cost of IVF is possibly the more literal out of the cliches that she'll be getting over the next goodness knows how long.
The next few months pass with excitement, tears, worry, crazy purchases from me (I'm sorry, but there just isn't anything cuter than matching baby elf outfits) and numerous "what the hell is this, is this normal?!" conversations.
Fast forward to now. On May 1st, a few weeks early but keen to make their long anticipated arrival into the world, her babies arrived. A boy, weighing 4lb 13oz and a girl, a teeny 2lbs 13oz. Both perfect and, at the time of writing this, are still being monitored in the special care baby unit but are breathing independently, progressing amazingly and taking giant steps every single day. They are already showing to be feisty little things, the little girl, as tiny as she is is fast taking after the women in the family and showing to be a determined little madam, whilst the boy is looking to be quite the relaxed little guy and very protective over his sister.
From the darkest of times over the last few years of wanting this all so desperately, to finally being able to say she is at last a Mummy, this story, I think proves that there is hope.
And my gift to her when I visited last week? A box of Milk Tray as a nod to the best and weirdest pregnancy announcement ever.