"Why are you not drinking? Are you pregnant?"
I had known that the question was likely to arise at some point during the evening considering the fact that I was celebrating a close friend's birthday without a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my hand. Though we tried to remain calm and collected, attempting to stick to the antibiotics cover story, the answer was written clearly on our faces.
"It's so early, we're not getting excited yet," I rushed, red-faced and glancing around to check whether anyone else had heard.
We're not getting excited yet. It was becoming more of a lie with every day that passed because, secretly, I just knew that this time it was going to work out. But I was trying to suppress my excitement because logic told me that it could only lead to disappointment. I had been bleeding for a week; there was no heartbeat on the early scan; a less-than-reassuring doctor had told me it would be easier if I just assumed I was miscarrying again. I was trying oh so hard to think the worst because I knew from experience that it could happen to me.
Exactly two months earlier I had been twelve weeks pregnant, giddy with the anticipation of glimpsing my unborn baby for the first time the next week. Statistics said I could stop worrying about losing the baby. But then there was bleeding. There was no heartbeat. The foetus measured six weeks instead of twelve. The realisation hit. For the past six weeks I had been contemplating baby names, planning budgets and welcoming every pregnancy symptom. For the past six weeks there had been no chance of me having that baby.
I felt deceived. How had my own body neglected to let me know this vital information? There had been no warning signs, just a few spots of blood could have been nothing to worry about. I was overwhelmed by the cruel irony of the fact that my morning sickness had started after the heartbeat had stopped. Confused, I struggled to find words between tears to explain that I still felt pregnant. In those heartbreaking moments, I decided I could no longer trust my body.
Everyone copes with miscarriage differently. I knew immediately that I couldn't start to heal until I had something positive, a new pregnancy, to focus on. I didn't want to dwell on what had happened but for a while it dominated my thoughts. Until then, I had always been a firm believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason. Honestly, I still am. This was, however, one exception; I couldn't find an adequate explanation. But the more I talked, the more I realised that there was no explanation. I hesitantly began to accept that I had done nothing wrong, it just wasn't meant to be that time.
One month and three positive tests later (I couldn't believe just the one), I couldn't stop the excitement from building more rapidly than the anxiety, despite my efforts to stay calm. Without realising, I was cautiously beginning to trust my body again. We're not getting excited yet. I repeated this to myself over and over. But despite all of the evidence stacked against me, despite the medical advice that this was likely another missed miscarriage, despite my own common sense warning me that my body was capable of deceiving me, I was nervously overjoyed. I couldn't explain it, but this time everything just felt different.
I am the sort of person who analyses everything. My ultrasound to determine whether the pregnancy had progressed was scheduled for New Year's Eve. I was so desperate to think that this was the end of an awful chapter, the beginning of a new era of looking forward to life as a family of three. My body was telling me that everything was okay; I didn't want to believe it. As I lay on the hospital bed, holding back my worried tears, unable to look at the flickering black and white screen, it took a moment to sink in: our baby was there, and she was alive. We welcomed the New Year exactly as I'd hoped. Officially, we weren't getting excited, but honestly I was.
The memory of my miscarriage haunted me at various stages of my pregnancy. It made me revert to the mode of we're not getting excited yet. But with each new day, a little bit of my faith was restored; my inexplicable suspicion that everything would be fine gradually replaced my apprehension. Now, I can smile as my perfect baby girl sighs sleepily on my chest because even though the list of things to worry about lingers, I know that I'm not waiting to get excited anymore. I'm excited now.