It’s been a long pregnancy.
Endless, but yet somehow always on the verge of ending too quickly, and the double worry in that has definitely taken its toll on Emily. She’s had countless of scares by now and even if the doctors assure her that the twins will no longer be in any danger if they decide to pop out, Emily can’t shake the feeling that it’s better for them all the longer she manages to stay pregnant. Keep her kids safe for a little while yet.
Some days she barely gets out of bed at this point, just stays there, trying to catch up on sleep and forget to be panicking about every symptom in her body for a little bit.
Because of her miscarriage and the pre-term contractions and billions of ultrasounds and blood tests she’s done for this twin pregnancy, she hasn’t yet been able to decorate a nursery for the babies. They have plenty of space upstairs but Emily can’t bring herself to go to a shop and buy things for children she still can’t feel sure she’ll ever get to meet. She’s too old and too neurotic for that. She’s waited too long. Part of her will always wait.
In all the books she reads about pregnancy it seems this is a part of life she ought to enjoy and memorize but Emily fears that in a few years all that she will ever remember is fretting and sleeping.
Sleeping and waking up all the damn time to pee, of course. That won’t make it to any inspirational books, she’s pretty sure of that.
But Kent is taking excellent care of her whenever she is awake and has the energy to hang out with him. When she doesn’t, he just lets her rest and pops in and out of the bedroom with tea and sandwiches. He’s done it before. Twin pregnancy, too, which is both a relief and a bit of a sore spot in Emily – nothing she can give him is new. He’s been there, done that and she feels at a disadvantage.
He keeps telling her everything is new because he’s doing these things with her, that it’s the first time for them. She tries to believe him but there are days when she doesn’t buy it at all.
And then there are days when she does.
Late nights when her back is killing her and the only thing that helps is lying flat on the ground outside and Kent comes out to join her. Those nights she feels incredibly blessed.
Sienna is looking forward to meet her new siblings, or so she claims. She’s brightened up a bit since Emily first met her, turned into a hormonal mess of pre-teens but also at the same time a fairly interesting person underneath it all. Kent’s twins will probably always be high-maintenance (she secretly blames Clara for that gene) but even needy, negative kids have to grow up at some point. Kent says he hopes the birth of their new siblings will be that moment for his older twins.
Now that they’re on summer break, their moods are actually vastly improved in general and they often get to stay up a bit late to play and enjoy the garden that Kent has dedicated himself to improving this year.
They’ve got a pool now. It’s not a big one but it’s a pool and it helps immensely for a lot of things. Sweaty pregnant women and kids alike can swim for a while and Kent uses it for exercise.
His one fear about the upcoming addition to the family is himself, at least that’s what Emily can read between the lines of what he is and isn’t telling her. Approaching his sixties he feels older than he should, too old to start over again with babies and what if he’ll get sick and die? They’ve all watched the Cousland family go through that exact thing and Emily can’t deny it’s a voice of terror at the back of her head, the idea of being left alone with all of this. But Kent isn’t sick and he’s only turning 60, not 80. And nobody knows what the future will hold, you can get run over by a truck at 23 or you can live to 99.
He works out and she keeps the fears at bay. It’s a pretty good deal.
And it’s a good summer this year. Moderately warm and full of adventure.
Gradually Emily feels better, her body more cooperative and less prone to disasters and she tries to make the most of every day when she feels she has the energy for something other than just taking care of her own needs.
Kent takes a few weeks off work to spend the summer with his kids – as usual, Clara has “just so much to do”, and can’t travel anywhere with them or even let them stay there for a little bit longer than usual and Emily bites back a few scathing remarks about responsibility and parenthood every time Kent summaries a conversation with his ex-wife.
So of course it’s Emily who joins them for the annual summer fair organised by the twins’ school. She’s even picking through the boxes upstairs in what will soon become a nursery to find old toys that she can’t see them having use for, just to have something to sell at the flea market stands. Kent has made cookies.
Despite sore feet and exhaustive sweating, Emily finds that she really enjoys the fair and that it makes her feel part of the family in a new way – like she’s actively doing something to achieve it, at least- and they have great weather, too.
And even if she wants the babies in her belly to stay for as long as possible, she feels ready to welcome them.