"Greetings from Cambridge", said the email header. Cambridge? I don't know anyone from Cambridge, thought me, and I didn't recognise the address.
Ahhh, hang on a minute...Cambridge.
Through my befuddled baby brain, short already of approximately four hours sleep per night for the last three months, it dawned on me. I do know somebody from Cambridge. In fact I know, or knew, somebody from Cambridge so well I could probably tell you what he had for breakfast today.
An Ex. Let's call him Bob.
Now, it's fair to say that while Bob is a fairly good quality ex - we had an..uhm...interesting six months together before I met my current chap - he's not The Ex, who I was with for 10 years and bought a house "near good schools" with.
For that I thank the heavens, because telling The Ex feels too difficult still, and at least with Bob today I've had a trial run.Bob is the first ex partner that I've told about the baby, and I'm 38 weeks pregnant on Tuesday. That doesn't say much for my friendships with exes, not that there have been that many of course.
Anyway, last thing Bob knew I was destined to be unable to conceive naturally, convinced as I was by fertility test results, consultants' sympathetic smiles and my own - at the time - downbeat mood.
I was kinda dating Bob while popping along to the Lister and the London Women's Clinic to test various stuff. Funnily enough, or perhaps not as it transpired, I didn't involve him in any of it, not even the despair that I felt, apart from one very carefully worded conversation about how I wouldn't be hanging around with the wrong guy for too long. That went pretty much ignored; we probably knew by that point where we were headed.
I did feel a little unfair responding to Bob's "so, how are things?" email with a "just great actually, I'm having a baby with a wonderfully lovely man". It's fair to say that it's closer to the jaw-dropping end of updates than the average "yeah, I'm good, changed jobs / haircut / socks" snippet.
To his credit, Bob's reply was lovely, wishing us well, wanting a picture and other nice sentiments. I half expected him to tell me he was having a baby too, which just shows how immersed I am in this parenting world. But no, he'd "had a girlfriend for a bit, but it didn't work out". I had a moment again of wondering how I got so darn lucky.
I'm glad I made the break and shared the news with an ex. I realise as I write that none of my exes, as far as I know, have had children yet. One has moved back into my local area with his new wife, and I imagine we'll crash Bugaboos at some point.
I'm also realising that a new baby urges a closure on past loves to a degree that other things, like, say, a new dress, new hair colour or new "I'll blinking show him" attitude doesn't. After what's often felt like more than my fair share of heartache, there are two new loves in my life now - a man I love more each day through this unexpected journey and a little man, as yet unborn, who already owns the other half of my heart.