We’re now 6 weeks away from my induction date (although it’s yet to be booked) and I’m suddenly feeling quite reflective about the last 32 weeks. There will be no structure to this post unfortunately, I’m just going to be a brain unload!
If you had told me this time last year that I would be about to welcome a child into the world I would laughed in your actual face. Not because it wasn’t something I had thought about or wanted but simply because I just never believed it would happen.
I was diagnosed with PCOS in the early twenties and was told the chances of conceiving naturally were extremely slim. I had the Mirena coil fitted about 5 years ago to try and control some of my symptoms but due to it not being fitted correctly (the two arms that embed it into the uterus weren’t released…thanks for that!) it just caused me problem after problem. After nearly two years of being told it took time to settle down I demanded it was removed which is when my GP discovered it hadn’t been fitted properly. At that time we had a talk about my fertility and she went through mine and my husband’s options. We didn’t use any contraception after the coil was removed but didn’t make an enormous effort about tracking ovulation dates and such, just kept going as we were. However, in 2013 we decided we wanted some more information so we could prepare ourselves for what was ahead so I made an appointment with my GP again. I was told my weight played a big factor in not conceiving and was referred to an obesity clinic which in itself was a bit of an adventure. I wrote about it on my plus size fashion blog, Frivolous Mrs D, here if you’re interested in how it worked and why I found it tough. As it was my mental health took a very bad crash at the beginning of 2014 and as such I stopped attending and any thoughts of starting the fertility treatment route took a back seat to just keeping me well.
And yet, somehow a year later I fell pregnant! I still have no idea how it happened. Well, I know how it happened but I don’t really understand why. I remember telling my two best friends on a Friday that I was feeling a bit unwell which coincided with my period being late and I was going to have to take a pregnancy test to rule it out and how much I hated having to do that. I hated it because I knew I would never be pregnant out of the blue but I would still get that little flutter of hope only for it to be destroyed within three long minutes. I never, ever imagined that flutter of hope that normally physically hurt me would turn into flutters of joy and disbelief. I remember asking my husband to get me a pregnancy test on his way home from work and him asking whether I really needed it because he knew as much as I did how unlikely it was. I remember needing to go to the toilet in the evening and saying ‘oh I might as well just do it now and get the misery out of the way’. I remember staring at that little screen preparing myself for the inevitable emotional kick in the face and not quite believing what I saw. Even though it said ‘pregnant’ I actually told myself and my husband when I managed to make my legs work and go down the stairs that the ‘not’ part would come in a minute. And when it didn’t we both stood in the living staring at this little bit of plastic shouting ‘WHAT THE F*CK?’ at eachother and laughing hysterically!
All I have ever wanted is to have my own family. I’ve not had a career and I’ve not really wanted one. I’ve always loved writing as a hobby. As a child I wanted to be an author or something along those lines and I spent a few years enjoying being a Teaching Assistant but I’ve never had that pull to a career. When I thought about my future I saw myself being a mother. Being told in my early twenties when I was just starting my life with my husband that it may not happen was heartbreaking. We expected a long, painful and emotionally draining fertility battle and were just getting to the point that we were ready to embark on it in a year or so. Falling pregnant so unexpectedly was nothing short of a miracle. I still had PCOS, I was/am very overweight and yet somehow, it happened. For quite a while I actually felt guilty for being pregnant. I didn’t feel like we had earned it, that we didn’t deserve it because we hadn’t gone through the difficult time we were expecting to. I felt guilty that people I know and love have struggled for such a long time to fall pregnant and here I was expecting to go through the same thing but I didn’t. I questioned why I deserved it more than they did. It was a very strange time during early pregnancy and I did struggle with that guilt for quite a while. However, no one ever questioned it and actually the people I thought would back off from me in order to protect themselves from heartbreak were some of the happiest for me.
This pregnancy hasn’t been easy from the beginning. I had a threatened miscarriage (a substantial amount of unexplained bleeding) in the first 12 weeks to the point that we were convinced I had had a full miscarriage and had an early scan at 7 weeks. I will never, ever forget the relief at hearing Pea’s heartbeat for the first time that day. I would say I’ve never felt anything like it but actually I did 18 weeks later when we found out he didn’t have Edward’s Syndrome. I’ve experienced horrible sickness that lasted right up until about 28 weeks and have generally felt very ill all along. I developed SPD/PGP at 20 weeks that has left me on crutches and unable to move very far. I have polyhydramnios which is incredibly uncomfortable and poses potential danger to the baby. And then we’ve had the shock of finding out that not only does Pea have Down’s Syndrome but that he has three health problems, two of which will require operations when he’s a baby and lengthy hospital stays. I’ve been on rest for the last few weeks and will be now until he arrives. It’s not been an easy ride at all!
I had some unhelpful comments from a couple of people one day when I was having a bit of a moan about not feeling great where I was told I should be more grateful that I’m pregnant and enjoy it a bit more which naturally really upset me. This was before we received our diagnosis and if I’m honest I doubt they would say similar now but it still hurt. Sometimes it is hard to enjoy being pregnant when you’re in pain, feeling horribly unwell and like you’re not in control of your body or anything around you but you don’t need people to point that out. Even as someone who would have given anything to be feelings those things, it doesn’t make experiencing them any easier! Of course I’m grateful I’m pregnant and despite it actually being an incredibly tough few months I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Obviously I wouldn’t wish my child had a learning disability that will present him with lifelong challenges and obviously I don’t want my baby to go through operations and if I had a magic wand I would probably make it different but I don’t for a second wish it wasn’t happening. I truly believed I would never get to experience carrying a child and although it’s been very tough at times for various reasons I would not swap this experience or this particular baby for anything.
As I’m writing this my beautiful little boy is pushing against my belly with what I think is a knee so hard I can see it poking out and yet it still doesn’t seem real. I am still partly convinced this isn’t a baby at all, it really is just crisps and Marmite and I’m not sure I’ll really believe it until I actually see him. Our lives have been turned upside down twice, once when we found out we were having a baby and again when we found out about his diagnosis, and now we’re preparing ourselves for the third upside down when he arrives. It’s been such a bizarre year but I would not change it for the world. It’s been the happiest year of my life, so much has changed, so much is about to change and I cannot wait.
Mrs D & Pea x