I never believed in the saying "WE'RE having a baby". I failed to see the logic in “WE” when to me, it seemed, bar the obvious, it was a solo gig. Honestly, I actually sniggered at people who said it, but like most things in life mocking is catching.
The great thing about life is the way it teaches you a lesson in the "kick you in the teeth" type of way. In February 2014, that mocking is catching scenario caught up on me and therefore those famous words: we’re having a baby actually had some substance.
I have always wanted to be a mam. However, I have never taken it for granted that it would be an easy process, unlike some women who say or just decide to have a baby and it just happens without a thought or care in the world. I always understood that it’s not that easy or straightforward. I just hoped that I would be one of the lucky ones.
My baby adventures began in February 2014, sitting cross-legged, in my pyjamas on the floor of my bathroom, staring in amazement at a positive digital pregnancy test. The twenty-five minutes that followed involved the actions of a very excited woman, frantically dressing and driving to the local pharmacy to ask;
"Just how accurate are these twelve euro digital tests?"
She looked at me and quietly said; "I don’t quite know how to answer that" as I was piling another four of them on the counter along with a first response and another clear blue for good measure.
So another four or so tests later, it was official! I sat beside my equally shell-shocked, completely delighted husband grinning like Cheshire cats in our brand new expectant parents bubble, it was blissful. As the saying goes, the more the merrier and like any good bubble its better full - so in a matter of 48 hours, family and very close friends also knew that we were bringing a new life into the world. I was fit to burst with excitement as I started to google various buggy types.
That incredible excitement and pure delight was short-lived, however, soon to be replaced by utter heartache. A black void formed that as the booklet, they had gently slid across the table to Joey and I, said; 1 in 5 woman experience. There are no words, no books, no advice online, it’s just one of those things. You have to face it and figure it out, and as you try over those passing days the words "WE are having a baby" begin to ring true because WE were now both heartbroken. How? But Why? Are you sure? Is there anything to stop this?
The last day of February 2014 we left the Coombe Hospital and silently made our way home to my in law’s house, I fell into my sister in laws arms as we came through the front door. I overheard Joey break down as he told his brother the news. Everyone rallied around; my best friends spoke gently and took time to let the tears fall and the words tumble. They knew they couldn't fix it, but they would be around to help me heal.
It was beyond comprehension. We were raw. Un-prepared. Where do you go from here? What am I supposed to do with myself? I’m not unwell but the hospital gave me a sick note. My mam and Joey urged me to take the week off, I’m not sick, they’ll go mad I protested, but I was tired and agreed.
I was protective of this awful news. I didn’t want people to pity me or fear sharing their news with me, I was genuinely happy for them and their news, I wanted my pregnancy, not theirs. I also didn’t want to hear the stories of sister, cousins, wives, the hairdresser who had a miscarriage and blah blah blah. I’m sorry for their loss but again, I’m really trying just to keep my sadness in check. I know it was to help but I really didn’t need the anecdotes.
I didn’t want anyone to know that I had lost our baby. Lost it, like I’d left it unattended. I just swallowed the feelings and decided I had no choice but to go right back into my life and work. We took any positives we could from it and knowing we would never forget, began to return to the world that continued to revolve.
I settled back to work and life, the weeks passed and a much-needed date night ended in me wondering why my favourite tipple of choice wasn’t really that lovely and why my favourite meal in the tastiest restaurant I had so looked forward to was making me feel, well, sick!! What??
A few weeks later. same bathroom floor PING – Pregnant! Oh, my ….
As I said, I was never a believer in we’re having a baby but again when that screen flashed up pregnant I squeezed Joey’s hand because we are having a baby, both of us and we are both feeling the same – terrified.
Okay, so at the time Joey didn’t have sore boobs or the nausea that won’t go away and the tiredness that makes you feel like you’ve been in a nightclub till 5.30am drinking fat frogs, Super splits or whatever the drink of choice was followed by a dodgy kebab on the way to the taxi rank. When in fact, you were asleep by 10 pm the night before – No, he definitely didn’t have those feelings. However, just like me, he is as scared of the past experience and the fear of the future, he’s also in shock that we got so lucky so soon after and that we’re blessed.
I met an angel in disguise as an OBGN when I lost our baby and she said if and when we need her again for an early scan to call her secretary. I did. Later that week our doctor confirmed our little HJ (That was Oisin’s nickname when I was pregnant). After the first scan, we had a 2-week wait to check that all was progressing and that the heartbeat was there, but those two weeks were full of worry and I had unexplained bleeds. The terror of going to the loo only to discover you’re spotting. As I said, it was unexplained and ended up lasting nearly 18 weeks. We sat on tender hooks waiting.
I never took, nor will I ever, take pregnancy for granted, I worry and fear and the littlest of things made me hit Google for answers. Which, by the way, is the devil and angel wrapped in a search button! Is this normal? Is it happening again? What will I do? So many questions from women all over the world and so many replies, all different and ultimately useless to you because it’s your pregnancy and the answer isn’t going to be on the screen.
In those weeks you are afraid of everything, this time I was terrified to tell anyone our news. I couldn’t face saying those words again for fear of EVERYTHING. I wanted to try to protect myself. The horrible thing about this time for any expecting parents is that there is always someone who feels the need to out your pregnancy news, so please, if you think your sister, cousin, friend, hairdresser is pregnant and they aren’t screaming the news from the rooftops, it’s not your job to out them. Let them tell you in their own time. Also, the answer to someone telling you that they’re pregnant isn’t “I KNEW IT”! It’s “CONGRATS”.
The weeks passed and then we sat and waited to see our angel OBGYN. I dared not to for a single moment think of the heartbeat or the picture on the screen, instead I lay there braced for the news to hear the words;
The screen flickered, a white fuzzy haze surrounded but grey and black, she acknowledged the screen and then “There’s baby, looking good and progressing nicely” my body shook.
Then the sound, Ba Boom Ba Boom Ba Boom a heartbeat! Both of us yelped, it was sheer relief and pure joy.
After a moment or two, our consultant gave us our due date, early Dec. Wow! We got a print out of the picture of our baby, which is a white blob that we made.
I was so proud that in 2 and half weeks, I had grown the tiny blob on the screen to the now bigger blob on the screen. I know that sounds stupid but in keeping with the honest vain of this blog, I usually give up on things that don’t go my way and to me, the tiredness and never-ending nausea, aren't things going my way.
The weeks and months rolled around coupled with fear and excitement. Then in late November, 3 weeks before his due date Oisin made his arrival in the early hours of the morning. We went from we’re having a baby to we have a son. Yikes.
So now I do believe in we’re having a baby because, yes you’re growing it, but your other half is probably looking up all sorts of information and facts online, playing it cool on the outside and internally scared stiff, just like you.