Monday, 29 August 2011

My Baby

We were trying to conceive for 9 months before I found out I was pregnant. It's quite hard to describe how emotional and difficult our trying to conceive journey was even though we had it good compared to some heartbreakingly difficult stories I have known others to go through. I had no known health issues, my age didn't seem to be a concern and I seemed to be fit and well. We were told that if after 12 months we don't conceive naturally, then that's when you start to worry. 

It was an emotional rollercoaster. Every month, even though I tried to stay neutral, in my heart it was difficult to put a lid on the hope that would build up. Every month I would have phantom pregnancy symptoms and wonder if maybe there was a chance that it was real this time, or if my body and mind were just ganging up on me again. Every month for those nine months I eventually found out that I was not pregnant and I would come crashing down to earth again.

And so when it came to July 2011, when I was due to go on a big overseas adventure, I told myself that I had to stop obsessing, because trying to conceive can really become an obsession very quickly. I researched it, I joined forums and groups to "find my people" who were going through the same thing, I even had apps on my mobile phone to help me keep track of dates, symptoms and whatever else there was to keep track of. 

I remember sitting in the airplane just as it was about to leave the gates and I knew that if I was to truly enjoy my holiday, I would have to let it go completely. So right there and then, I deleted every app on my phone relating to babies and conceiving. It was hard to let go of months of data (it helped to know that if I really needed the data, I had a backup on my computer at home, or so I hoped) but it was harder still to let go, because it felt like a part of me was letting go of a dream, a hope and a very strong desire to become a parent. 

I can be a very stubborn woman and once I decide on something, that's usually it. I was determined to give trying to conceive a break, because I was holidaying with family and without my husband, it was also kind of a forced break from it in that way. 

So off I went and had the best holiday I've had in a very long time. To cut a long story short, I found out halfway through my holiday that I was pregnant. I was soooooo excited and rang hubby up at 1.30am his time to share the news. We were so excited that we couldn't keep the news from our immediate family members and close friends, who were all over the moon for us.

When a blood test by my GP confirmed my pregnancy, our baby was the size of an apple pip and that is how her name (strong girl feeling) "Pip" came about. We couldn't wait for our 9 week scan, but in the meantime, I excitedly experienced all the changes of my pregnancy and even bought some very cute baby items (cot sheet set, blankets, newborn sized clothes) even though I was trying to restrain myself until the 12 week "safety barrier", which I now know is really a myth.

I can't describe the bond I feel with my Pip because words are not enough. This is the baby that we had longed for and desperately wanted for so long. Finally, finally, finally she was here with us and when we least expected it too. It was poetry. So many people say that when you let it go, that's when it happens and for us it seemed like that was exactly what had happened.

I talked to her, I sang to her, I eagerly downloaded new apps for my phone, this time relating to pregnancy and how my baby is developing and changing every day and every week. Together we delighted in all the little changes she was going through. I'd send my husband random text messages as I learnt more "Pip's the size of a raspberry this week!" He would send me big smileys and love in his return messages. We could barely contain our joy and it was one of the happiest times we have had together yet. 

I tried to do all the right things. Researched what foods I could and could not eat while pregnant (even had an app for that!), took my pregnancy vitamins religiously and stopped exercising just in case that might have hurt the baby in any way. Zero alcohol and caffeine and loaded up on fresh fruits and veg (I struggle with eating vegetables, but was happy to do it for Pip). Stopped using my electric blanket in the middle of a very cold winter because I'd read that it could cause serious problems, refrained from hot showers (which I love - the hotter the better) because I'd also read that it was risky. Everything I did or didn't do was for and because of my baby. All we wanted was for her to grow up healthy and strong. Despite being in the early stages of pregnancy, we had both already formed an incredible attachment to our baby.

She was so tiny, but we loved her so very much and wanted her so desperately. The weeks that followed, leading up to the miscarriage were so utterly devastating and heartbreaking for us that I would not wish it on anyone at all. I'd heard of falling in love at first sight and perhaps that's the closest I can come to describing how quickly we found ourselves totally and completely loving our baby.

If you are reading this and can relate to the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive or have experienced a miscarriage or the loss of your child, I am so very sorry. My hope is that you will find your peace in your own journey as I a hope to find in mine.