But now I have hope and a dream growing inside of my womb that is so miraculous and special that it’s only now, over these past few days, that I have been able to believe in the fact that I may truly be able to carry my baby to beyond 26, even 28, perhaps 30 and maybe, just maybe baby, to 40 weeks.
The stark reality hit me last Wednesday when I went to the hospital for a growth scan and consultation. I lay on the bed and watched as the image of my baby appeared on the fuzzy etch-a-sketch screen. He was there alright, all scrunched up and cross looking with tiny hands held at either side of his head. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, I do believe he was shouting, ‘will you get me out of this tight space immediately, can’t you see I’m maddeningly uncomfortable with my hands growing out of my ears!’
Everything appeared to be fine - good growth, plenty of fluid, the stitch in my cervix is looking normal and there was absolutely zero funnelling. I was the most relaxed after the scan as I had dared allow myself to feel in a long time. I was one day over the bridge from when I’d given birth prematurely to Ella. Twenty six weeks and ONE day. No scary news to report of, no suggestion that there was a problem or that there was going to be one. As I got up to wipe the messy jelly off my stomach the sonographer said that things were looking hopeful. I caught her eye and smiled.
Sitting in the waiting room to see the consultant a woman came and sat next to me for her appointment. She was absolutely delightful and asked me a bunch of questions in such rapid succession that I tried my best not to laugh. However she asked the one question I still catch myself on, ‘is this your first child?' At which point I tentatively replied, ‘yes.' I struggle to know what to say when I get asked that, but when it comes to strangers I’d hate for them to feel uncomfortable, or think that they’ve upset me. It’s easier to say yes, though perhaps there will come a time when I’m brave enough to say, ‘no, this is my second’…….
It was from chatting with this lady that the bomb hit. She asked when I was due and I said April, with a motion of my hand that suggested ages away. ‘Wow, not long then! It’s really only a few more weeks, how exciting for you!' I suddenly realised I’ve been saying my due date was next year and now in the blink of a moment it's changed (like wheels being hastily replaced on a Formula 1 racing car) to this year. THIS GOD DAMN YEAR. As I sat stock still with my mouth gaping a nurse approached and asked the lady for a urine sample, she nipped off and the last I saw of her was when she waved back at me from the examination room. When reality bites, it bites you hard.
The honest truth? Since I discovered I was pregnant I’ve avoided thinking about how we may be granted the most incredible of miracles all over again. I’ve been in denial about being able to carry a baby to full term, because due to my history it’s an absolutely terrifying prospect and one I was too scared to believe in. When your body has failed you so spectacularly and so cruelly in the past it’s almost too much to hope that it can do you justice next time round. Hope was pushed so far to the back of my mind that it was covered in cobwebs. Chris spooked and clung to whatever hope he could throw his hands on, but I found it impossible to believe in something that I'd suffered a crash course in a lack of for the past 2 years.
But as I type a sneaky toe of fresh hope is surfacing and it’s bold and brave and like our baby, it feels like it could be here to stay.