I’ve been thinking a lot about the big events in my life and how different each experience of finding out I was pregnant has been. I’ve written here about the last time I found out and how soul crushingly devastated I was.
The first time I found out was very different. I was 23 and working for a big company in the City. I was project managing from an IT point of view a move from a building with a capacity of 300 to one with a capacity of 2000 to take into account some huge expansion plans, I was working 12 – 15 hours a day and topping that off with some proper beer drinking after work.
I’d been with my boyfriend for about 2 years. We were pretty serious, serious enough to be having sex without using any protection but there was a pretty good reason for that. I’d had cervical cancer when I was 18 and been told I could never have children. Once I’d had that conversation with boyfriend and he had got his head around it that was that really, I’d known for years that I wouldn’t be a mum and it wasn’t a big deal to him at the time.
It was 2 days before Christmas, around 7am. The move was scheduled to be completed early Jan. I’d said to my boyfriend that in the New Year my life had to change. I was bone tired all the time and putting on weight from all the junk food I was eating. I was always head-achy and had started being sick a lot and feeling nauseous all the time. I knew it was because I was working hard, partying hard and not eating proper food or resting. I told him that I’d do my best to tone it down in between Christmas and the move being completed.
I was standing in Boots on the corner of Parliament square in the queue for my breakfast, feeling sick and tired. As I stood there waiting to pay I looked around and saw that I was standing next to a rack of pregnancy tests. Suddenly something clicked in my head and I started frantically counting the weeks since my last period. Holy crap. I couldn’t be pregnant. But I bought a test anyway and practically ran into work and straight into the ladies toilets (working in IT you could in those days guarantee a fairly private ladies toilets, great for crying in!)
Yes, you guessed it. I was pregnant. Suddenly the weight gain, sickness and tiredness made sense. I was in shock, didn’t feel happy or sad – just worried about the amount of alcohol I’d drank recently and worried in case I wouldn’t be able to carry the pregnancy to term. I walked out of the ladies, put in a mornings work and at 12 noon said to my boss “I’m not well, I’m going home. Happy Christmas, see you next year”
I phoned my boyfriend and told him the same story – I wasn’t well and would be come round to my flat that evening please? (yes, we weren’t even living together at this time, he still lived at home) I walked around Mothercare feeling like a fraud with all these gorgeous big heavilly pregnant women and bought a small pair of baby socks which I took home and wrapped up.
When he came around that evening, I told him I wanted to give him a Christmas present early. I handed him the tiny socks. He said he didnt want to open it until Christmas. I told him he had to. He opened it and for a minute, didn’t realise what it was. When he realised what I was telling him the love and joy on his face was unreal. We both cried and hugged and cried some more for the rest of the evening.
We waited a long while before we told our family and friends. They were shocked and thrilled in equal measures. I had a great pregnancy and my first daughter was born at 38 weeks. I went into hospital for a routine checkup in a high risk pregnancy to find that I was 7cm dilated. I thought I just had stomach cramp. 3 hours later I had a brand new baby in my arms. She was born 100% naturally, I had no drugs, no gas and air – nothing. I breathed my way through. Everything was going OK until the very last minute, I had been pushing for an hour and was tired. She wasn’t moving enough. The midwife asked my permission to give me an episiotomy, they cut on a contraction without any pain relief – it was OK. She was born with the cord tied around her neck in a perfect knot.
My beautiful blue baby, didn’t cry. She opened her eyes and looked straight at me. She breathed by herself from the start and was placed straight on my stomach. I felt like I had known her forever, I knew then that she would be my best friend as well as my daughter – that one day it would be her and I standing up against the rest of the world.
7 pounds 11. Not bad for 2 weeks early. I had a tough recovery, had burst both my eardrums pushing and had a fair number of stitches. I remember sitting propped up in bed when she was 3 days old with blood and pus pouring from my ears, infected stitches and my milk just coming in and looking at her and thinking that I just didn’t care. And I still don’t.
She is amazing. A lot happened in between her being born and the next baby 4 years later.