One of the perks of Lynne’s birth was that we received an unexpected income-tax rebate, which was quite large and came in very useful at the time. Because she had been born in the last month of the tax year, Arthur was entitled to nearly a whole years rebate, now that he had a child.
By the time that Lynne had turned two, we decided that we would like another child. Having a three-year gap between them seemed just right. Then we remembered the tax rebate and decided that, if we were gong to have a second baby, we might as well have it at roughly the same time of the years as the first, and reap some more tax benefits. After working out the relevant dates we became aware that, if I didn’t become pregnant very soon, we wouldn’t manage to ’complete’ by the end of the tax year.
Out came the thermometer and we drew up cycle charts. Since, in any one month, there is less than a week in which it is possible to conceive, it was again all systems go as often as we could muster!
The day came when I knew that, once more, we were going to have an addition to the family. Soon I’d have not only Lynne and Arthur to look after, but also another brother or sister for Lynne. Although I didn’t say anything to Arthur, I said many a prayer on the lines of ‘Please God, don’t let it cry all night, like Lynne did’. I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to stand that all over again.
Throughout the pregnancy I felt certain that I had more than one baby growing inside me. I asked for, and was given, examinations by several doctors and midwives. They all assured me that, not only was there only one baby with one heart beat, but that it was a large baby. That really cheered me up! The thought of giving birth to a nine or ten pounder wasn’t something to get too enthusiastic about.
Nothing daunted, my strong feeling was that I was going to have twins continued, and I set about getting two of everything together. Two sets of clothes, two shawls, two sets of bedding etc. The whole family thought I’d flipped my lid, and Arthur was worried that I would be so upset and disappointed, when only one baby arrived.
The midwives were being very kind and gentle, but quite firm in their belief that it was to be a singe birth.
Two weeks before the birth, I developed a kidney infection, which confined me to bed and gave me a raging thirst that had me drinking four pints of water during the night, every night. Because of the imminent birth, the midwife thought that I ought to see a hospital doctor with a view to having the baby in hospital, instead of at home as planned. Off I wobbled, looking like a tramp steamer on legs, to be examined by the hospital doctor.
He did the ‘laying on of hands’ bit and said: ‘ Has any one ever mentioned that this is possibly two babies?’ I was elated, and told him my tale of the unbelievers who had consistently hammered my maternal feelings into the ground.
‘The first thing to do is to get you X-rayed and make sure’, said my knight in shining armour. (No scans in those days).
I balanced precariously on my oversized, over-filled belly, feeling that any moment it would split asunder and we’d all know what was in it, while the radiographer took the necessary X-rays. Within minutes I knew for certain that the three of us were very soon to become the five of us. Now I would have to go into hospital for the births, like it or not.
‘If you don’t go into labour in the next week, come in under your own steam and we’ll start things off for you,’ said the doctor, adding, ‘One will probably be breech birth, that’s quite often the case with twins and, because they’ll only weigh about five pounds each, they’ll go into incubators for a while. Don’t worry about it Mother, it’s the normal procedure for twins and there won’t be any cause for concern. You’ll be able to see them, but you won’t be able to have them in an open cot, like the other mothers, until they’re a little bigger.’
I rushed to telephone Arthur at is office and give him the fantastic news. Every member of the family was so excited. There was no history of twins on either side of our families. Arthur and I were making history.