Firstly, let me firmly anchor this post within the "I-am-so-happy-I-am-pregnant-I-didn't-think-I-would-get-this-chance-again-and-I-am-so-grateful" realm. And I am really, really thankful that we have a chance to bring another baby into the world, for the chance to be a mummy to another little one and for the opportunity to give Xav a brother and Glen another son. I have honestly gotten to the end of my rope in terms of persistence and then, well, here we are.
But pregnancy after loss is certainly not the joyously blissful journey I had hoped. There is joy, yes, and there is bliss. But most of all there is fear. Crippling fear. Anxiety like I've not known on a level that I wasn't expecting.
Before this bubba, I had a pretty good handle on my anxiety. I had learnt to read it, to use positive talk to find a way out. It took years of grappling with it, of learning from it, of being supported through it to find a path I could walk. It was uncomfortable, confronting and often painful and scary. But I found, generally, a way to cope. I felt like some sort of super hero; Captain Anxiety, ready to take flight (carefully) and save the day (from my own brain). Bright cape flapping in the wind (Maybe no cape, I HAVE seen the Incredibles and apparently they're a bad idea...) But you get the general idea.
Then those two pink lines came along. For a whole week I was so sickeningly positive that I almost made myself sick. Then I had a bleed and I figured it was all over. When just minutes before I'd seen my baby for the first time and heard his heartbeat. But somehow, he stuck in there and kept growing. But ever since then, I feel like we're on borrowed time. Like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it's, quite frankly, frightening.
I know that this anxiety is not limited to me. When I was pregnant with Xav, and even with Poppy (who came along after 4 m/c herself), I was worried. All pregnant ladies worry, because we don't know what will happen, we don't know what's happening in that cushy uterus holding our precious cargo. But this time, I know the worst that could happened. I know that there is always a chance things might not go to plan.
I know in my head that mostly babies arrive healthy and happy and roughly on time. I know that generally pregnancies are smooth. But I also know the flip side, and my heart is having a hard time forgetting that side.
Most days I feel super positive. Last weekend I got out all the baby things and spend hours going through them, reminiscing about when Xav wore this, or one of my sisters boy wore that. I even bought baby a new outfit or two. But I can't bring myself to take the tags off, just in case I need to return them. "Maybe later, when it's safe," I tell myself. "Maybe after 20 weeks, or 28 weeks, or 30 weeks..." Truthfully, I'm not sure this pregnancy will ever feel safe.
I am brave. I have learnt this about myself. I am not saying this in a Xena Warrior Princess sort of way. I am not going to battle Vikings or whatever she does. But I can cope. I can get through the worst of things and somehow still stand at the other end. That strength is hard won, and not to be trifled with. But somehow it is not quite enough. I'm scared that I will not bring home this baby. I am scared that something I do will cause him harm. I am scared I'll make a wrong choice and he'll pay the price.
Most days I can say, 'We're okay. Right now, we're okay." We've make it through 16 and a half weeks longer than I thought we would. But the remaining 21 and a half weeks feels like a really long time. It feels like holding a time bomb that is programmed for mid July but might be a bit faulty. And I'm not expert, but faulty time bombs seems like a big problem.
All I can do, and all I can ask for, is hope. I can hope that despite the past, despite my worry, baby will get here safe and sound. And I can ask for your hope too, if you have any to spare. Your hope and support and love has got me through the past 4 years, and I know I have no right to ask it of you again. But, like, please, y'know? Pretty please? I'll pay ya back.
I really am a joyously, blissful, HOPEFUL pregnant mother.