All I cared about now was whether or not it had worked, was that it, had we just made a baby? But we hadn’t, instead what was growing inside of me was something far more sinister, something that in a few short months would turn our world upside down and I had absolutely no idea.
As I sit and write this entry I have you Grace in one arm, dressed in a little white vest and those gorgeous soft baby rolls dangling over my leg, while your tiny fingers begin to grip the bottle. Evelyn you are running around outside in the sunshine chasing bubbles, totally butt naked other than, of course, that bloody nunny (dummy) stuck in your mouth. Both of you, totally care free and surrounded by love, exactly as it should be, hopefully for a long, long time.
There’s a lot of things that growing up I took for granted and one was how my life was never touched by any sort of trauma or tragedy. I had a large extended family and was lucky enough to live in the same street as two of my aunts and uncles, in fact on grandpas side four out of six of his siblings lived within a five minute drive. I had both sets of grandparents until I was eighteen years old and had the pleasure of getting to know them all. Every Thursday we would go to Grandpa’s parents house and fill up on sandwiches and cakes that had been made for the Catholics Women’s League meetings the following day. One at a time Uncle Nathan, Aunty Sophie and myself would have our piano lessons with Grandad while Gran would chat to us about her week. Usually about someone she’d met over the town centre who’d recently got married/divorced or later the funerals she’d attended of “you know, Tommy’s, cousins, brothers, aunt, you met them once when you were three”. We’d flick through the Argos catalogue and watch Countdown, week after week, safe in our bubble, living a life that I wouldn’t have had any other way and one that I now know, was extremely privileged to have had as a child.
It was that childhood that meant I’d always wanted a big family of my own and equally your dad, who was an only child felt the same. And now here we were, first renovation completed, we both had good jobs and we’d finally got round to tying the knot. So after a year or so of enjoying the honeymoon period we were ready to start a family.
I don’t know why but somewhere deep down I knew this wasn’t going to be straightforward. Right from the beginning rather than just going with the flow I felt anxious about it. When it didn’t happen straight away I decided to get an app on my phone that I could use to track my cycle and bought ovulation sticks so we would know exactly when to try. Very quickly I’d gone from avoiding getting pregnant and overly worrying about missing a pill once in a blue moon to wanting nothing else so much in the entire world.
It was August 2013 and I sat on the floor in the sunshine outside the Beauty and the Beast castle in Disney World Florida. We were on the second leg of our honeymoon, this time covering the East Coast of America. I squinted at my phone and felt a buzz of excitement, apparently my body was ready to make a baby. I really couldn’t wait to be pregnant, to give life to another human. The thought of morning sickness, swollen ankles and not being able to sleep didn’t come into it. I imagined something wonderfully romantic, a baby growing inside of me, that me and your dad had made, being able to lie back on the sofa, little feet kicking for the first time, your dad lying his head on my tummy experiencing the beginnings of our own little family.
While in Florida we were staying in an AirBnB with a guy who clearly had illusions of grandeur and definitely wanted to ‘Make America Great Again’. He had a huge mahogany desk in his front room and pinned behind it was the US flag. When we arrived at the house he first lectured us on Conservative values and then proceeded to demonstrate how to lock and unlock the front door multiple times before instructing us both to perform the task independently ourselves until he was sure we understood how to do it. There were multiple notes around the room telling us things like what time check out was and how to pay for the little mini bar he’d set up. Although we stayed in many places during our trip away, I remember this one vividly. It was not only the last place we ever tried to make a baby but the first time there was a pretty big sign something wasn’t right.
At some point after said baby making process, I stood up and walked across the room, your dad looked over at me with a concerned expression on his face and told me that I was bleeding. This wasn’t anything new, it had happened a number of times since my early twenties however this time there was a lot more. Despite this, I dismissed it, all I cared about now was whether or not it had worked, was that it, had we just made a baby? But we hadn’t, instead what was growing inside of me was something far more sinister, something that in a few short months would turn our world upside down and I had absolutely no idea.
I’ll be forever grateful that in the end we weren’t successful that time or any other in making a baby. The thought of what might have happened had that not been the case is almost unthinkable. Regardless of our best efforts I wasn’t falling pregnant and once we returned to work in September I thought it was perhaps time to go and speak to a GP about why things weren’t going to plan. I’m not sure whether I believe that everything happens for a reason but I do know that deciding to go and see that doctor saved my life.
love mum xx