I’ve been gone a long, long time. Pushed away by myself, hiding almost, from the reality which is, currently, 32 weeks and 5 days of pregnancy. Can I believe it? No. No, I can’t. Despite this giant basketball-sized bump on my otherwise slim frame, a bump that jumps and jiggles and kicks and squirms, no, I can’t believe that we’re actually here. Past experiences do not allow positive realities to be accepted without question, without disbelief, so I’m finding.
The last 3-4 months have been in an a self-imposed exile. I’ve shoved my head down, and, in the words of the now infamous war time poster, managed to Keep Calm and Carry On. This has meant a retreat from everything that associates me with my journey to get to where I am. Not because I’m trying to forget or deny what happened, the length of time and the obstacles we hurdled (and often face-planted) over. No, Sir. I simply cut myself off because I was DRIVING MYSELF INSANE WITH WORRY. Worry that things would go wrong, Worry that I’d read something about someone else that would induce a worry I’d not yet had to worry about, which is bad, because I’ve already enough worries linked to things I have worried about, without adding any extra worries on to that. Talk about setting yourself up for a breakdown.
It all began with a visit to a midwife. Now, where I live is strange; it’s one of those places with a postcode for one district, council tax paid to a different district, but with a phone area code to a third. My GP surgery is technically in one area, but its postcode allows the patients to choose services from one district or another. For fertility treatment, I chose one district (a major hospital in a large city, one of the top centres in the country… and having seen my friend’s experience with the district I could have gone to, I’ve never been more happy that I chose where I did!), but for having this baby, we chose the other district (quieter area, smaller wards, less patients, brand new hospital, much easier to get to, etc). This means I need extra appointments which can be a comfort (or a pain in the ass, depending who you get) because I’m officially classed as an intruder, erm, I mean, an Out-Of-Area Patient.
So anyway, I was having my out-of-area midwife appointment round about 18 weeks. We went through the usual; blood tests, blood pressure, questions about this and that, and then she asked how I was feeling. You know the type where they turn to you and nod in *that* way. So I told the truth. In a far more elegant way that I’ll write here, I explained that I was, in essence, shitting myself.
Birth? Nope. Don’t care about that. Feeling ill? Nope. Don’t care about that. Overwhelmed with the prospect of motherhood? Nope. Really. How my relationship with my husband might be affected? No, no, no.
But the idea that I might eat a sandwich and it not be quite chilled to the correct temperature and that I might get listeria and both me and baby die, yes. The fact that I might crash the car and kill the baby; yes. That I might get stressed out, or not sleep enough, or do too much in a day, then it all ending up having a negative effect on the baby. Oh yes.
Then she said this. “Where I’m from, there’s a proverb which says, ‘What you fear the most is most likely to be the thing to come true.’ ”
Now, on the face of it, that’s bollocks. Sorry, midwife. I worry about a lot of things and none of it has come true. Currently, my husband is in Las Vegas on a trip with his best friends, just because they wanted to go. My worries revolve around his aeroplane crashing, being hi-jacked, getting shot by a mad-man at the gun range, getting charged by a bull and/or dying on the zip-wire and/or rollercoasters. In terms of cold, hard statistics, he’s more likely to die in the car on the way back from the airport when he’s back in the UK (which I worry about, too). This doesn’t mean it’ll happen.
But I did take this from it. Why surround yourself with the things that you know will trigger anxiety? My blog has been an absolute haven for me. Only one person I know in real life has read it, so I really am anonymous and I LOVE that. I can say what the hell I want and not have to worry about offending people or upsetting people. But when I used to read it back, it made me sob. Some of the times I turned to my blog, I was at the lowest points in my life. Because I know me, I know just how far down that pit I was, and it *hurts* to read it back. It hurts, partially because I want to grab my pre-this-pregnancy self and tell myself that things will come good. It hurts because I know just how much I believed that, no, things would NEVER be good. And when I read it back, it triggers a state of mind that, right now, I need to separate myself from because I need to power through.
That is, until we reached the anniversary of our first loss on October 3rd. Just days later was Baby Loss Awareness Week and I needed to take myself back. So I read everything I wrote on here, and realised that, actually, I NEED to read about it. It is a part of me.
How I am now, how I’ve been through this pregnancy is all down to the losses of our three unborns. I mean that in a positive way, surprisingly. I haven’t moaned. For me, pregnancy has not been this burden, this weight to carry (albeit literally being a weight to carry…), this thing to moan about. To me, everything (and I mean *everything*) has been either a privilege or, for the more taxing things, at the very least, entertaining – like when my body showed utter revulsion to toothpaste and each morning and evening, I’d have tears pouring out my eyes while I retched for a good 10 minutes over the sink. Or when I’d wake up and have to RUN, RUN FAST, to the bathroom because the moment I gained consciousness, my body needed to poop RIGHT NOW. I have utterly refused to moan. This isn’t to say I’ve sailed through pregnancy, it’s not easy at times, but to be fair, who wants to hear a pregnant woman’s woes?! I don’t even want to hear my own woes, so I’m not about to relay them to others…
Because we didn’t conceive easily, because we learnt what it was like to lose repeatedly, because we could never take for granted anything we ‘gained’, we have approached this pregnancy and the growing of this little life with, I think, the best attitude possible. We didn’t earn this baby, we don’t ‘deserve’ it (like we’ve gained it as a reward); but either way, it’s here and it’s doing well. We will NOT moan because we know just how freakin’ lucky we are. The pregnancy started with high-fives for each pukey moment, each headache, each twinge. This has carried on. Even on the harder days, it’s all the sign of a little life who we are so, SO grateful to have anything to do with. And so we keep high-fiving. My logic is that pregnancy illness or aches, pains, whatever, is pales into insignificance in comparison to the years we had before this. Nothing compared to the pain of late 2014, early 2015.
Life isn’t always fair. Life deals us some cruel hands. I’ve spent too long questioning why me, why us and moaning (rightfully so!) about the shitty times we’ve had to navigate through. So why moan when Life deals you a good hand? For the first time in a long time, I feel like I can read through my old blog entries and not be ridden with abject fear for the future. I don’t need to avoid it because I might make it come true, as that proverb kind of suggests, or avoid it because I’ll stress myself out. I feel like I am starting to see a chink of sunlight after walking through an extraordinarily dark forest. I’m not out yet, but that feeling of wanting to run away and/or hide, instead of facing up to the scariness and dealing with it, is subsiding.
So I return from my self-imposed exile. Where I go with my blog, I don’t really know. What topics I’ll write about, I don’t know. I feel a little nomadic right now in terms of the fact I’m expecting, yet my blog is an infertility blog and I don’t want to move away from that. But either way, I feel like I can read about my own past, other’s present days without having a meltdown. It’s all good 🙂