Saturday 4 december was 'A' day - Antenatal Class Day. The day when we would (hopefully) learn some of the skills desperately needed for looking after two babies at the same time. We had booked our places about 6 weeks before, through TAMBA (the twins and multiple births association) as this would mean the class would be tailored to the needs of parents having twins and more. The class was being held in a community centre buried deep in Sutton Coldfield, so our first task of the day was to find out which station was nearest, not as straightforward as it sounds.. The map we were sent had obviously been devised on the basis that the postcode was Sutton Coldfield, and therefore Sutton Coldfield station would be the nearest. Not so dear reader. Jump two stations further up the track from SC and you find yourself at Butlers Lane station, which confusingly isnt on Butlers Lane... (memo to self, be more specific when giving directions to the taxi driver). Butlers Lane station, being 2 stops closer to Lichfield than SC is makes it a lot cheaper to get to. We arrived at our station of choice to find our taxi waiting (its good when that happens) and 10 minutes later we were at the community centre. So far so good.
There were seven couples on the course, which was being run by a local midwife. The chairs had been placed in a horseshoe arrangement with the midwife's chair at the 'open' end of the horseshoe. The room reminded me of the seminar rooms we used at univeristy; rather sickly green paint on the walls, institutional looking hardwearing easy-clean carpet, heating up full blast. When we arrived there was only one other couple there, we did the 'hi how are you' bit and sat ourselves down with two seats in between us and them (nothing personal, its just the British way isnt it?). As three more couples joined us they too all sat down leaving two chairs between themselves and those already seated. We were all there for the same reason but it seemed as though no-one wanted to get too close incase they 'caught' twins too..... Eventually all the seats were occupied by nervous-looking dads to be and mums to be with bumps of all shapes and sizes, ranging from 19 weeks (me) up to 33 weeks. I must admit I felt quite teeny in bumpage in comparison. Im sure it wont be long however until I have my very own gravitational field.
We began with the inevitable 'lets all introduce ourselves and tell the group a bit about ourselves' but I guess it broke the ice a little (or maybe that was the rain which was pouring down outside by this point). We learned that five of the couples had gone through IVF to conceive, a few of them for scary numbers of years, which made me feel a little guilty if I'm honest. It had taken us just three months to do naturally something which had taken twelve years, thousands of pounds and incalculable amounts of heartache and agony for them to achieve. It made us feel incredibly humble, and also made us realise that we shouldnt take any of this for granted. Every day they got through was a huge milestone, and one day closer to meeting their longed for children, whereas for us it was just a day closer to our next scan. We all shared a fear of something going wrong, but if something did happen, god forbid, we at least will have the chance and hope of conceiving again, I cannot even begin to comprehend how I/we would feel if we had waited for years and years for a child, only for the unthinkable to happen.
The rest of the course consisted of questions and answers mostly, such as how to feed two babies together, how to settle two babies, signs of labour, the general things people associate with antenatal classes. The first-timers also had a crash course in nappy changing; P got a nappy with mustard in to represent the nappy of a 3-5 day old infant. Nice! We finished just after 4pm, feeling rather overloaded with information, and also rather warm so it was quite pleasant to find ourselves having to wait for our taxi outside in the rain. We made it back to the station, and discovered none of the timetable boards were working. Fortunately we only had to wait about ten minutes for the train, and we were back in Lichfield just before 5pm. Im not totally sure whether the £139 was well spent, a lot of the info I had read on the internet but P found it useful so I suppose it was worth it. And it was great to talk to other couples who are in the same boat as us. One of the couples we learned live just down the road from us, are due two weeks before us and will be delivering at the same hospital as us so we may see them there!
The next appointment in the diary is wednesday 8 december, when we shall head to Burton again for our 20week anomaly scan. Finger crossed they're ok in there..