By Vanessa Williams
Now that you’re older, wiser and more experienced, it is natural to start thinking about taking your relationship to the next level. You have to be absolutely sure about your decision and be ready to accept mood swings, getting up in the middle of the night, changes in your body (that are not always attractive, my dear), alcohol reduction, food cravings and absolutely no smoking.
On first receiving the happy news it is normal to experience feelings of excitement and apprehension. ‘Am I really cut out for this?’ ‘Is this really happening?’ ’Am I ready?’ Don’t worry, you will have many months to adjust to the changes and be ready for the big day.
Initially the changes will be subtle but after about the first six months it will start to show. Let your friends and close family know of your condition as soon as possible so that they can understand your changes and support you. If your friends are good ones, they will not mock you when leave the party after two drinks and head home at 8.30 and your partner will pamper and not be repulsed by bleeding nipples, chafed armpits, missing toenails and feet that have generally metamorphosed into trotters.
Choose your physician wisely because, as the months of preparation progress, you will be spending more time with her. Yoga, stretching and massage sessions can be beneficial, especially as you near the happy day.
Joining a group of like-minded people can make the experience less daunting, especially if they have already had their first or are highly experienced with multiples. A word of caution here: you will receive as many pieces of advice as there are slippery empty sachets at a waterpoint. Some will advocate that you do it all naturally, some will swear by technological or chemical assistance. It is your body, it is up to you. It is also natural to fret about your approach: if you are a disciplined person, you may worry about being too strict or if you are casual you may have niggles about not having strong enough boundaries. And yes, niggles, niggles – there will be plenty of them as you progress closer to the happy event.
As your body changes so will your mind. Expect tired legs, sore feet and the need to buy specialised bras and compression suits. You will change from the fashionista you once were and will frequent the dingy recesses of shops with geeky men and machines that will analyse your gait and a purchase will be made based on your pronation and not how sexy your calves will look. It’s time for flat shoes and comfort.
Some weeks before C day, you will find yourself clueless in the baby aisle of Clicks with a pot of bum cream in your left hand and Vaseline in your right. Your cravings will increase and it is not unusual to be standing eating beetroot straight out of the jar with your left hand while stirring half a brick of butter into your bullet-proof coffee with your right. At 4am.
A week before the event it is necessary to pack your overnight bag. Put in the bum cream AND the Vaseline to cover all areas (literally and figuratively). Don’t forget the wetwipes and the puréed fruit in sachets. It will be a messy process: do not fear bodily fluids.
At this stage people will start to take more of an interest and will ask questions like ‘Are you hoping for a Vic Clapham or a Bronze?’ and you will smile politely and say ‘I don’t really mind, as long as I finish’. Inside you may have other ideas.
On the day it can be a comfort to have your partner by your side to hold your hand as you puff, pant and endure the agony. Partners are also useful to swear at and blame. Most women will go through the procedure without any assistance, but it is reassuring to know that there are medical personnel on hand at all times should any complications develop. A little nausea and lightheadedness are normal. You must remember not to stop pushing and REMEMBER TO BREATHE. It is hard work and there will be tears. Suck it up, Princess!
After the hard work is over, be aware that photos will be taken of you looking elated and proud yet red in the face, sans make up, drenched in sweat, with your hair stuck to your head and wearing no knickers. You will then spend the rest of the day (and the day after) walking like a crab or a cowboy who hasn’t realised that his horse is no longer beneath him.
BUT: Once you actually get to hold the little tiny thing, you will never want to let it go. Resist the temptation to sleep with it as there have been tragic cases of accidental nocturnal strangulation. You may think it’s the best little thing to have ever rested on your breasts but others will not necessarily agree. NEVER EVER EVER be discouraged by visitors who congratulate you (especially old, squinting aunties) and yet you can SEE that they are not at all impressed with the reward.
Once the soreness has dissipated you will forget the pain and only remember the sheer elation and start to plan the next one…