When I turned 30, hubbie and I decided to stop trying to avoid getting pregnant. We weren’t going to actively try to get pregnant you see. We were just going to wait and see what happened. I had spoken to my GP and he warned me that it is quite common for it to take up to a year to get pregnant after coming off the pill.
So we had a 6-12 month timeline in mind. The first month went by. My period was two days late. And I became a crazy person. “My feet are cold…is that because there’s extra blood going to my womb?” “I feel tired…is that because I’m pregnant?” “I’m hungrier than usual…my body must need food for the baby!” After two days of this, and three negative pregnancy tests, my period arrived. No baby this time. I was shocked at the disappointment I felt. After all, we weren’t actively trying, were we? I tried to hide my disappointment from hubbie because we were both quite clear that we were taking a relaxed approach to getting pregnant. But I couldn’t explain it. After being so careful for so long not to get pregnant, I guess I had always assumed that the minute we stopped being careful, I’d get pregnant, no matter what the doctor had to say.
So I tried to remind myself that there was nothing to worry about until 12 months had passed. While refusing to think about just how long 12 months is! Then a few weeks later, about 10 days before my period was due, I felt different. Really different. No cold feet or tiredness. Just a feeling. A sort of all over queasiness. It’s hard to explain. But because I had been so neurotic and so wrong the previous month, I cautioned myself not to think about it. Wait and see. At the same time, I went out and bought three First Response pregnancy tests. I’d heard they were the most accurate. And I waited.
A week before Christmas, I had my work Christmas party. I was driving so drinking wasn’t an issue anyway, but in the back of my mind, I was relieved because I knew…this feeling was getting stronger. I was definitely pregnant. The following morning I woke at 7am to pee and my curiosity got the better of me. I ripped open one of the tests and used it. And then I sat and watched as first one line and then the second appeared. My queasiness increased tenfold. I looked again.
Two lines. Checked the box. Two lines indicates a positive pregnancy result. Congratulations, you are pregnant. Looked again. Definitely two lines. Gulp. What have we done?! I ran back to the bedroom, stick in hand, and quietly called my husband. (It had been his Christmas party as well the night before, and he wasn’t driving, so he was a little the worse for wear.)
“Wake up! Look at this,” I whispered. Nothing. “Wake up!” This time I was a little louder. Maybe too loud. He shot up in the bed and tried to focus on me. “What’s wrong?” he said. I smiled and waved the stick. “Is that your toothbrush?” he groaned. “Why are you waving your toothbrush at me? What time is it?” I could see that I was going to have to go a little more slowly. “I took a test. It’s positive.” I’ve never seen a man wake up so quickly!
“What! But the doctor said it would take months?” It didn’t. The rest of that day was a wonderful haze of planning and talking and freaking out at what we had done, and giggling and imagining. A boy or a girl? Curly haired or straight? Sallow skinned or pale? Quiet and studious or mischievious and loud. We had an early breakfast and headed to the beach, where we walked for miles arm in arm trying to get our heads around this news. Next year we’d be walking on this beach pushing a pram. The following year we’d be chasing a toddler on the beach. We headed to our local bookstore and bought out half of their baby book selection. I read the first two chapters of “What to expect when you’re expecting” before we even left the store.
That afternoon we started planning telling our families. The timing was perfect. My brother and his girlfriend were flying home from Canada that day for Christmas. Almost everyone would be at home. We planned a Christmas Eve lunch with both our families and plotted ways to get them there without arousing suspicion so we could make our big announcement. I don’t think I have ever been so excited in my life.
My brother and his girlfriend flew in from Canada that evening to stay with us before heading down to Limerick the following day. Several times that evening we almost told them. But we held back wanting to take just a few more days to let the news sink in for ourselves. We hardly slept that night as we talked into the night about our baby. The following day I headed down to my parents house with my brother. Hubbie still had a few days work left before he finished up so he’d follow us down on Tuesday.
On Monday morning, I woke up early to pee and smiled to myself. This was sooner than I’d expected this particular side effect of pregnancy. But when I went to the bathroom, there was blood. Bright red blood. My heart stopped. I told myself to calm down – maybe this was just an implantation bleed. I’d read about those. But as the day went on, I bled on and off. And I started to feel less positive. The following day, hubbie arrived down. I had told him over the phone that I thought something might be wrong. Christmas Eve morning, instead of organising our family lunch, we found ourselves in a doctors office explaining what was happening.
At this stage, the bleeding was heavy and I was in pain. I knew in my heart it was over. The hardest part of all was that that strange pregnant feeling, the one I couldn’t quite describe, was gone. So I knew. The doctor said I was five and a half weeks pregnant when I miscarried.
Officially we had only known about the baby for two days when we started to lose it. I tried to be pragmatic about it. These things happen for a reason. Better now than later. But it didn’t work. In my heart, I didnt believe it was happening for a reason. In those two days we had dreamed a lifetime of dreams for that baby. We loved it. Now we grieved for it.
Of course our story is ultimately a happy one, because just seven weeks later I’d be looking at two lines on another stick – and before the following year was out, we’d be welcoming Little Man into our lives. And I know that if we hadn’t lost that first baby, we would never have had Little Man. But there will always be a place in my heart for that first baby. And for our innocence over that first pregnancy. We never thought that something could go wrong. The whole thing was like a big adventure to us. But once we lost that first baby, it changed us. It was our first realisation that becoming parents is serious – literally an issue of life and death.
So at this time each year since, I take a day to remember our first baby and thank God for all the blessings we’ve had since. And I hug Little Man a little tighter and am so thankful for him and all the joy he has brought us.
I was remembering this during the week as well, it made me sad to remember what you went through but when I think of the little man that you have now it brings a smile to my face.
He makes everything we went through worth it Jules. 🙂
I am sorry that I was not there for you. Losing your first baby will always stay with you and Little man has brought such great joy into all our lives. Love you
You are there for me all the time.