Wow. The title of this blog still blows my tiny, sleep deprived mind.
But yes, I had a baby. 3 weeks ago.
I got pregnant in Sept 2017 after round 3 of IVF.
I carried a baby (almost) to term and now she’s out in the world, safe (I mean, ish…we’re new at this!) with me and her daddy.
I purposefully kept the whole pregnancy off social media. I felt a sense of overwhelming responsibility to my growing bump as each day passed and having been on a long journey to make our sweet little Elodie, it just felt far too delicate a situation to share with the world as each important week went by, me counting down the days until she was ‘viable’ (god I hate that term) and I could say ‘if she came out now she’d probably be ok!’ I wanted to control the amount of enquiries into my pregnancy and how it was going. I preferred these to be in person or via messages from family and close friends only. I put a bit of a barrier up around my bump. Stay away people, leave us to it.
At social gatherings, including my husbands 40th back in Feb I expertly perfected poses in photos that would shield (note, not ‘hide’) my baby. I say shield as it 100% felt like a protective measure.
At work I hardly wore anything clingy, opting instead for oversized tops. Clingy garms made me feel vulnerable, like an invitation to the world to pounce on my bump. I would reserve overtly baring the bump for me and hubby only as we’d watch each night as our spritely little babba tumbled, kicked and hiccuped inside me.
Her early arrival at 36 weeks and 4 days was not altogether a surprise to me. I’d said all along that she would be early, she’d never formed a high bump, she’d always sat low in my bits. I look back in awe now at my phone camera roll at what turned out to be the last pic of me with a bump, something I may never experience again but that I am completely grateful to have had, just once.
It’s hard to know where to start with all this but I really want to share bits and pieces to a) keep me tapping away on a laptop so that my brain doesn’t melt and b) encourage people that a baby can happen, that i’m another person (read: we’re another couple) who had odds stacked up against me in the quest to achieve a pregnancy of my own. I feel like i’ve crossed over into the hallowed land of ‘motherhood’ now and might seem unrelateable to those trying. That’s what would happen to me. I would be following people on social media who would POW! get preggers and yes, whilst i’d be thrilled for them, genuinely, they became different to me, distant. They had progressed to the next level and I was still one of those relentless and knackered digging lemmings, desperate to join them.
Over the last 9 months I have blogged about IVF and my pregnancy but not published. I have the full intention to share what i’ve noted down over the coming weeks and months, if time allows. I’m quickly learning that my life has become a bit lop sided you see; as in I only really have one free hand for most of the day now as the other cradles our perfect little pixie. When I am granted two free hands I am dashing for a wee or making a drink or attaching a suction thing to my tits to get some milk out of them, praying that the dear old things haven’t dried up and effed off to a retirement home.
This shit is hard. And while I’m careful not to complain as I truly have nothing to complain about, it’s tough. No one and nothing prepares you for how hard breastfeeding can be, the mum guilts, the tiredness, the relentless ‘am i doing this right?’ moments, the ‘is that normal? Is she ok?’ periods, the ongoing bleeding out of your bits that leads to your husband saying ‘baby, you should check under the toilet seat as there’s often some blood there’, the day(s) where you are a MANIAC that cannot take your eyes off your babe because if you do she will probably die, the nipple tenderness, the weird post partum swollen face, hands and feet (when you weren’t at all swollen during pregnancy itself), the deflated tummy (which I genuinely do not care about, honestly honestly)…I feel like pissing Wonder Woman having finally carried a baby, so whatever I look like just now is my fucking trophy and I’m proud of it. If you’re interested it currently looks a bit like a mini beer gut on an otherwise skinny stereotypical english man-bod on holiday. Minus the sunburn. I’ll take a pic soon so you can see, when I have one of those two handed moments. Feeling guilty at the strain you feel having more than one visitor a day, feeling judged by midwives and health visitors and nursery nurses, to not knowing the exact answer to ‘how many wees is she doing a day?’, feeling nervous as your baby is weighed to see if she’s gained weight, the ‘oh my god is that nappy rash? WORST MUM EVER’ moment (it’s gone), the state of the house and your little dogs confused eyes as he peers at you holding your new baby, wondering what the FUCK this means for him and sofa snuggles.
It’s tough. But oh my god, it’s the best.
What I really want to drive home though is that I was reaching a point where I doubted that this might happen for John and I. I had to work SO hard to believe it would, eventually. I tirelessly trained my brain to carry on, explored remedies and solutions to compliment the more medical side of things. So none of this is being taken for granted and I don’t want any of it to come off blasé as I now write from the perspective of a mother. I am still that woman who was scared shitless that I would never get pregnant, I am still the one who never ever got pregnant naturally, that has endometriosis, that has suffered loss. I believe so hard that what sometimes seems impossible is fucking possible because as I write this I am staring at her. She’s here. She was in a petri dish about 10 months ago with people in white coats peering at her through a lens. She was put in the freezer, potentially never to be used if one of the first two rounds of IVF had been a success. How MAD is that??? When it was her time to shine she survived the thaw and the complicated transfer to my womb. And there she settled in despite a scare at 6 weeks where we ended up in A&E, me having packed a hospital bag as I felt as though I was losing another baby much like in the same way as the cervical ectopic just a few months before.
And we’re now completely responsible for her. As her teeny little head wobbles about on her milky neck and her eyes gunk up a bit from her tear ducts not fully working yet, we are her team. Defence and if need be, attack. Through the ups and downs, the moments of strange confidence (ref that time last week where I decided she needed a bath so popped her in the bathroom sink) and the often lack thereof. We will do our best to set this little champ up in the best possible way, to encourage her to follow her own path and to be a very conscious and mindful little lady.
Some bits you can expect from me and this blog soon:
For now here’s a pic of me pregnant. It actually was a real thing and this was the last pic of that, two days before Elodie Willow joined her daddy and I.
(the main blog post pic was taken by the amazing Suzi at Little White Photography who we did a session with last week. Highly recommend!)