Twins were not on my agenda. Until there they were, paddling about in two amniotic sacs and, I'm imagining, flicking V-signs at me while laughing, "Kiss goodbye to your life, sucker."
Considering I barely wanted another child – not because my daughter is particularly hard work, it's because they're all hard work – this hasn't just altered my agenda, it's completely scrambled it.
The logistical reality of caring for two newborn babies appears to me like a ginormous equation which I stare at for hours without coming any closer to solving. I'm hoping as their birth nears the fog will clear, but suddenly the notion of adding one child to the family resembles a weekend break at a five star spa by comparison.
One extra baby can fit around your life: it can go where you go, sleep in whatever space you have available and needs just one person to baby sit. But adding two to a household of three turns that family into a Big Family – the kind that requires a lorry to transport it anywhere, eats through natural resources like a small but rapacious mining company and is led by preternaturally aged parents who have also, in a moment of weakness, agreed to a pet dog. I'm allergic to dogs!
This has left me wrestling with a twin-peaked mountain of worries, including:
1. We can't afford a lorry. To make matters worse the week before the news broke we bought a compact but cleverly-designed Nissan specifically because it could easily fit two adults, two car-seated children and even some luggage, and still be safely reversed into the local leisure centre's size-zero parking spaces. Now we need to make room for three car seats which means one of the adults will have to walk. Even if we're driving to France.
2. I think we need a new house.
3. If they're identical – despite being in different sacs there's still a tiny chance – will I be able to tell the difference? Should I discreetly tattoo their names on them? And will they play freaky tricks on me such as standing in adjacent rooms and saying, "You take the door, I'm just going to step through this wall"?
4 . Are there enough wet wipes in the world?
5. If we buy a tandem buggy will the twin on the bottom develop some kind of inferiority complex? If we buy a double side-by-side buggy will we ever get through a door again? And my, aren't buggies expensive, can't we just use a trolley from Morrisons? That would only cost £1.
6. How many years does it take for people to stop asking, "Do twins run in the family?" When what they really mean is, "Were you on IVF?"
7. Will our washing machine cope?
8. A changing bag isn't going to cut it. We'll have to take a large wheeled suitcase full of baby stuff everywhere we go. And there's nothing more annoying than someone taking up the entire pavement with a large wheeled suitcase. I don't want that person to be me.
9. Is there any chance I'll be able to function safely on four hours sleep a night?
10. I've forgotten what to do with babies.
There are some things to be cheerful about. Packing two people inside another is, after all, one of nature's most dazzling tricks. I had a friend at school who could contort his body to fit through a broken vent in the bottom of the changing room door – my partner's ability to carry 60 fingers and toes around with her at once is the only thing that has blown my mind in quite the same way since.
And my, admittedly reticent, inner optimist remains hopeful that we'll be dealt a good hand. For example:
1. The twins will be so attuned to each other's needs they'll practically look after themselves. When one wakes its sibling's breathing will coax it back to sleep and they'll spend daylight hours simply staring at each other wondering, "How did I get over there when I'm sitting here".
2. Failing that, our first child can take care of the parenting. She'll be four when they pop out which, in my eyes, means she'll be ready for a dose of responsibility – I'm also thinking of putting her in charge of my internet banking. She is extremely excited by their arrival and seems to think she'll own them, which is an attitude I'm encouraging.
3. The combined heat of five bodies will help reduce our energy bills. This is something the government might want to pick up on.
4. Twins are funny, a bit weird and, I'm hoping, adorable. Many of the most popular, fortune-making YouTube videos involve children doing funny, weird or adorable things. You'll see where I'm going here... If I'm still working in 2015 I'll be disappointed.
5. I'll remember what to do with babies.
So it's not all bad and, as it turns out, the situation could have been a lot more frightening. At the first, admittedly very early, scan four – yes, FOUR! – sacs appeared on the screen. I was so shocked I didn't even have the wherewithal to make a lame joke about my immense fertility, which is a shame because midwives probably never hear those.
Fortunately two were empty. Although imagine the money-spinning YouTube opportunities you'd have with four babies.
Follow Chris on Twitter @TheWindler to find out how his twin adventure pans out.
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