My amazing son who I'll call J, is nearly three, and was diagnosed soon after birth with a relatively rare genetic condition. We don't yet know how it will affect him as he grows older, but so far he has battled an array of medical problems. One thing's for sure, our little family's life will never be 'normal'...
Well, it's been an intense few months. Our big news is that we're having a new baby in the spring - a little sister for J, we found out a few weeks ago. We are thrilled.
Though I have to admit that being pregnant with a toddler to look after is one of the hardest things I have ever done. (One friend who has been there says it's even harder than having a toddler and a newborn).
Everything this time has been very different from my pregnancy with J - at least, so far. That pregnancy was a highly unusual one. The normal aches and pains of pregnancy were the least of my worries, because I spent much of the first trimester spotting and having early scans, and then at our 12 week scan we were told J had a slightly above normal nuchal translucency measurement (it was just over 3mm).
We were very worried, but the blood tests came back 'low-risk' for chromosomal disorders and so our overall 'risk' was only around one in 700. I remember feeling that for a 31-year-old, this was still very high compared to the numbers that other mothers my age seemed to get of one in tens of thousands. But of course, a lot of babies have relatively high nuchal measurements and no health problems.
We had an echocardiogram - a fetal heart scan - around 20 weeks, to rule out heart issues, which can be associated with high nuchal measurements - and were immensely relieved to be told that everything seemed 'perfect'. Our 20-week scan was done by a consultant, who also said that all seemed normal. Finally we could relax and enjoy the pregnancy.
And we did, for several happy weeks, until at 29 weeks, I felt an odd abdominal sensation and lack of movement. A scan found that our baby had suddenly and dramatically become critically ill. The rest of the pregnancy, before J came along at 32 weeks, was a mist of panic and consultants.
This time, so far, touch wood, all has been much more average. Virtually no spotting, a shockingly normal nuchal measurement at 12 weeks, and one of those overall risk-factors in the tens of thousands. When what you have mostly experienced in pregnancy before is doctors finding terrible things wrong, to be told all is OK seems almost unreal, and we feel so lucky.
We are having extra consultations and scans, and so far, all has been completely textbook. And instead of worrying about an ill baby, I've been battling the much more typical experience of severe all-day sickness, which has been far worse and lasted way longer than I experienced with J.
Of course I'm only halfway through, and so it's still early - I'll probably feel more nervous when we reach the stage when things went wrong with J. But I hope I'm not tempting fate when I say that I feel like this baby is healthy.