The emptiness of these first few days is quite startling. I can't share my news. I can't do anything to help the baby into its second trimester. I want to talk about it all the time. I feel like I am going to implode with all the thoughts, feelings and questions. The fact is, for the first few weeks, nothing happens other than hoping and wishing and praying and willing the baby to survive. Quietly. Using an inside voice. Stifling joy is a draining activity but the fear of the pregnancy not establishing makes you spy hope with a wary eye.
All I can do for now is write it all down. Share it with a blank page that helps me make sense of it all. Or at least let's all the thoughts out so my mind can be at peace. Just in case my baby can sense anxiety.
I suspect the moment it was confirmed that I was pregnant will stay with me for a very long time. Something in my emotional longitude and latitude changed that day. What makes it stand out among other life events is how on the outside nothing changed. Everything was now different. Except nothing really was. It was a miracle. But unremarkable.
We had decided towards the end of 2016, it was time to see what would happen if things were left to happen. It was a calculated risk between putting things into motion and anticipating these things take time. Ultimately fate would decide.
I've always been angered that as women we are programmed to be less biologically likely to have a baby just as we've actually got our lives together enough in our minds, bodies, relationships, career, economic situation to be able to cope with it all. That's one I can't even blame on the patriarchy. Darwin! It's his fault! He wouldn't like my fate hypothesis very much either. It seems that pregnancy hormones haven't changed how I feel about the stark difference between one sex being perceived as an economical engine and the other, biological. Until now I always felt more comfortable with dealing with the 'boy' stuff rather than the maternal stuff. Pregnancy hormones haven't mellowed me. If anything, I'm even worse than before when on a rant.
On Sunday 8th January 2017 I discovered I was pregnant. It had taken hardly any time at all. I was 32, married, employed and surrounded by supportive friends and family. So why did I feel so... unworthy? It can take families many years and difficult and costly interventions. It had happened quickly for us. Because we weren't perfectly and technically ready I didn't believe I was worthy of the amazing blessing I had received. I don't know what perfectly and technically means either but I suspect it's something to do with savings, a spare room and comprehensive maternity leave.
Inside, there was a fairground of noise and motion. Happiness, shock, surprise, fear, love, pride, disbelief... I had taken the test when I was alone as I was pretty certain it would be negative and then I could just go to bed and get a good night's sleep. I waited for my husband to come home so I could share the news. I thought I would burst. I had so much to say. That was ok though because he was lost for words. It would take a couple of days to sink in.
The next day I had a 'pregnancy task' to complete. A doctor's appointment first thing to review some medication that was incompatible with pregnancy.
The doctor's appointment was brief. You don't get a 'doctor's official and proper test that means it's real'. Apparently, the tests you buy in Tesco is as good as it gets. He reminded me to take folic acid and advised on stopping the medication. Then he told me to go and book an appointment with the midwife. She would take it from there. The receptionist cheerily told me I could see the midwife for my 'booking appointment' in five weeks. I would, by my calculations, be eleven weeks by then. I felt like I was falling into an abyss. I just had to wait it out. They may as well have said five months, it felt like so long away. I wasn't needing anything in particular but I felt like there must be something I needed to know as to not make a complete pig's ear out of the next month?!
My sister and my friends have had babies. I watch TV and I read books that feature babies. I know roughly how it all works but I wanted detail. I wanted to know 'the rules'. What should stop doing? What should I start doing? Other than stopping booze, pate and brie. I was a bit lost. Thank goodness for Google. I started Googling lots of things I do every day to make sure they were ok. Mothercare and Tommy's do a good job on their websites!
The news of my pregnancy was ultimately happy news for our family. We are excited; or at least looking forward to being far enough along to be excited. I wonder what would have happened if this wasn't entirely welcome news, or if I didn't have the support at home. If the next midwife's appointment is five weeks away, that's a long time to be floundering alone. Especially if you are not feeling very well, physically.
I knew this wouldn't do and I would need some kind of reassurance that this was actually happening. I had a holiday booked for the end of the month and thought I wanted to have a scan before that. I would only be nine weeks, too early for the NHS scan, but I knew I could get a private ultrasound. It was really easy to book one and I was scheduled in.
After a positive result, a booked scan, medication check and awareness of caffeine limits and the danger of mould-ripened cheese I was a bit more prepared. Now I just had to carry on completely as normal for a while longer...