So we -myself and Luca- have decided to try for a baby, well when I say decided it’s more of a ‘let’s see what happens when we stop trying not to.’ It must sound extremely irresponsible being in my early twenties already planning for a child; but the fact that I unexpectedly had my daughter as a single parent at nineteen between studying and working two jobs as well as building a sucessful career, life took a twist that I just had to deal with and it made me who I am today changing from a child to a mother overnight.
I could never imagine having anymore children, and given the choice I would have waited until at least reaching my thirties to even consider settling down and starting a family, but life works in myseterious ways and I tried my best to take motherhood in my stride and have never looked back. It felt like I spent my whole teen pregnancy apologising for being pregnant, feeling awful for not having a stable relationship, worried sick about how it would affect my career, and having to justify myself to the accusing glare of the public around me. I am again at a crossroads, finding myself weighing up the options of a lengthy career with Millie having to go into daycare, or to continue juggling work with the family life that I love. I’d love to be able to give 100% to everything that I do, but when you’re constantly burning the candle at both ends you soon see things suffer and theres nothing that you can do about it. Do you mill along getting by but always needing more, or put work before children and give them everything they ask for except for your presence and kisses goodnight? Add to the equation unexpected costs that always seem to arise, common illnesses, vet bills, nursery costs, saving to go on holiday and birthday and christmas presents and life is anything but straight forward.
Well, Millie will be four in month and a half, and she is the best child a parent could ever wish for; she is everything that is beautiful and innocent about life, always in pretty floral dresses and sandals with lovely fair curly hair and big bright blue eyes. And her smile, it just brightens up the room, her little voice makes me want to throw my hands in the air and skip around in circles, and her cuddles, well they’re the reason I wake up everyday. She just has the kindest little soul, so caring and pure and I wish I could freeze her in time and keep her like this forever.
I never thought I’d want to be a mum until Millie came along one day and took me by surprise. She changed my life entirely, from top to bottom everything adapted just like that, like a name running through a stick of rock she became a part of all that I am and all that I ever will be. She opened my eyes to life and what is most important, she taught me to be selfless and to love like I’ve never loved before. Just the thought of her lifts my heart.
Life is nice, and it had all been going so sweetly until we discovered I was pregnant again. It was a bit of a shock seeing as we didn’t plan to have any more children, but somehow it all just fell into place, our perfect little family and it didn’t seem scary or uncertain at all. Millie was over the moon to have a baby brother or sister, in the evening when I’d sit down on the sofa she’d ask me to lift my top up so that she could talk to her sister, as she was certain it would be a girl. She said how cute she was all snuggled up in my tummy and it made me laugh. She has always given the best cuddles; tucked right into me with her arms locked in place and her little hand lightly patting on my tummy like the big protective sister that she was.
But then our happiness was shattered when I miscarried without warning, everything was thrown into chaos and it broke my heart that Millie saw me cry but I just couldn’t contain or come to terms with it. Millie was due her pre-school booster injections and had been scared of needles and we were trying to reassure her it wouldn’t be a fuss, but when we lost the baby and we were in hospital one Sunday morning she saw the wires in my arms and how awful I looked and it put the fear of God in her. She’s almost more like a best friend to me rather than a daughter, she worries for me and likes to make sure I’m ok, she helps me wash the dishes after dinner and she brings out the cheese and crackers when Eastenders is on. But this time she couldn’t help me, and I couldn’t help her. We knew it was best to be honest and tell her what had happened because she kept asking if I was ill and if the baby was ok. It broke her heart when we told her sister had gone to heaven and it crushed me to have to say the words and see the tears run down her beautiful little face. I really struggled to get over the miscarriage, so much so my mum came to stay for a few days because I was so weak and shaky. Mum was great; she kept Millie busy while I floated around in the background like a ghost, an empty shell, a heartbroken wreck. For days I couldn’t stop crying, I cried myself to sleep at night and I cried when the pain stopped, because it was the last thing that I had left of our baby, and now it’s just us again. I always thought our little family was all I ever wanted, but now that I know how it feels to have a second child, if only for a short time, it makes my heart long for another.
Mum brought me a little glass angel that I’ve put next to our family pictures, to remember the little one that never was. It makes my heartache and my throat swell when I see it, because it shouldn’t be a cold glass ornament on a shelf, it should be our beautiful baby kicking in my tummy. When I took Millie back to school after it happened it felt like everyone noticed I was different somehow, not that they knew I was pregnant, or not now, but that I hadn’t been around for the last week or so. And when Millie came out of school that day she said she had been sad and I thought she’d had an accident or wasn’t feeling well, but she said “I’m sad because my sister is dead” and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I’d just got past the crying when I saw a pram, or choking up when I put talcum powder on after a shower, I think Luca was too scared to be around me for fear of something trivial like a nappy advert bringing me to my knees. But gradually I pulled myself together, I was crushed and dying inside but coping on the outside. We had relatives come to visit and I tried to busy myself with housework and making coffee, and I thought I’d coped quite well until now two months later they told me how deathly and empty I had looked and how clear it was to see the pain I was in. And I really was a mess, I couldn’t eat at all or concerntrate on anything, I just stared into space thinking of what had happened and crying. I went back to work three days after to try to break myself out of the horrible groundhog day that had become reality, the endless tears and closed curtains. Somebody hugged me when I got to work and said they hoped I feel better, presuming I’d been off ill with a cold and I turned into a blubbering wreck, but I had to bury my sadness inside of me somewhere deep down where it couldn’t destroy us all. I wanted the smiles and the kisses and cuddles back again because no matter what they made everything better, every time. I didn’t want my family to see me coming and them want to run a mile or instead stand and greet me with a sorrowful face and heads hung low. I just wanted everything to be ok again.
So two months on Millie doesn’t mention death as much anymore, and I haven’t cried for a long time so it seems. I now see babies and I don’t feel sad, or want to stalk new mothers. I’ve seen enough soaps to know that when people deal with a loss they go through a range of different emotions, feeling sad, giving up, kidnapping somebody elses child! Well thankfully I’ve never felt that way, and the whole thing just seems like a terrible haze or bad week in an otherwise wonderful year. Millie had her injections at last and was very brave; despite having them in both arms bless her. The stormy seas gradually died down and now I’m back to myself again. Which is why we had ‘that’ chat. The baby chat.
The problem with showing somebody your emotions once is now they’re always scared that they’ll do something to make them come back again and turn you into a weeping headcase. Like going out to dinner, it’s very nice eating 7,000 calories on one small plate within an hour, but afterwards Luca has to put up with the guilt and disappointment I feel when I try to put my jeans on and they don’t fit, it leaves a bit of a bad taste; even though we’ve been out for a nice meal he kind of feels guilty for my fat attack but I have an insatiably sweet tooth and I usually eat more when I return home. So attempting to breech the subject of babies after you’ve just had a bit of a public meltdown and turned into the living dead for the last month, in my opinion, is a bit of a delicate subject for any man to understand. And trying to explain to your partner that having another try for a child will make everything perfect again is a little close for comfort to the line that seperates you from being a normal human being or an obsessive baby stalker. I can understand that seeing somebody so sad about something, and then so eager to go through it all again so soon might set off a few alarm bells. But in a womans mind you realise the difference between being emotional and being logical, and how only one can ever be in charge at any one time. Now that there happens to be a water shortage in the eye zone I believe it indicates that this is good time to let logic take over once more.
So now that we’re officially ‘not trying not to’ I’m more than just a little excited but trying to play it cool so as not to turn the situation into a terrifying robotic event and cause Luca to lose enthusiasm through overkill. We’ve agreed that neither of us want the heartache of what we’ve just been through to happen again so we’ve decided not to find out if I’m pregnant until after the golden twelve weeks when we’re out of the danger zone. So I’ve been looking online, which was probably my first immediate mistake, because I’ve been searching for ways to tell that you’re pregnant. This would have been fine if I’d perhaps have just browsed a few pages, but I didn’t just browse… I cross-referenced and wrote reports. And oddly enough the earlier ways to tell that you’re pregnant all involve underwear and bodily fluids, which I confess has had me sitting on the bathroom floor inspecting my underwear and examining sanitary towels during my period. I never realised how many different combinations of fluids a woman could produce at different times of the month and I’m starting to become a bit of a crotch connoisseur. I’ve also noticed shooting pains in my nipples and had a bit of a grizzly back and tummy which a woman on a forum in America called Geraldine with four kids apparently says is the muscles stretching in the womb and the body changing with the hormones, which may also explain why my period was different this month; normally it’s just a period but this time it was less and darker as opposed to the usual more and lighter fading to dark. Much like the good old English weather you never quite trust the weatherman, but on days when you want it to be sunny you convince yourself the showery report will be wrong and goodness will prevail. So perhaps good old Geraldine was right when she posted in a forum in 2007 that her period was infact Implantation Bleeding (when the sperm and egg embed in the womb) which led to Breakthrough Bleeding (when the pregnancy hormones take over and stop your periods but can still allow you to bleed differently around the time you would have had a period) and not her usual afternoon jam; but sadly I’ll never know because selfishly she didn’t post again, or if she did it’s lost amongst thosands of posts by other fellow crotch connoisseurs talking politics over blobs and discharge.
I went shopping today, and although Millie is now dry at night – hooray! – and has been for some time, I still think she might have one spontaneous heavily soaked wet night or saturated seat sleeping in the car on the way home. So for those ‘better to be safe than sorry’ ocassions I wanted to keep a pack of nappies in the cupboard, and as I was in the supermarket today trying to choose her some delightful bottom bags it suddenly dawned on me that I was actually in the heart of the forbidden Kingdom, and looking up I took a devilish glance at the dummies and little plastic spoons in the shape of aeroplanes around me. I even touched a soft toy before speeding off with my trolley to the hummus and pitta breads with the other not bothered parents. My excitement is so ARGGGGH I had to come home and check my knickers. I wish there could be a simple screening that I could take to tell me the in’s and out, like at the airport security when you walk under the metal archway and the underwire in your bra gets you rugby tackled by men with black boots and guns. I wish I could walk past a scanner and it say ’6 days pregnant, yes I’m also controlling your nipples, and that wet Wednesday was completely normal!’ Why does this have to be so difficult, and why do all of the signs have a sly habit of being able to point both ways, suggesting North could also be South, ‘this is a typical pregnancy symptom, or in some cases it might not be!’
But I have also noticed that my stomach is feeling hard, mostly in the fallopian area; although it could possibly be down to the fact I ate dinner twice last night, hopefully because of pregnancy cravings but most probably because of poor self control. Luca keeps reminding me that our beach holiday is steadily approaching and that stubborn half a stone I had wanted to shift is still present. On one side I can see my lovely white crochet bikini and a cocktail and lilo, and on the other a nice round tummy perfect for cooking a sperm/egg omelette. I don’t want to diet and make pregnancy more difficult, but equally I don’t want to have a tummy for my bikini and not actually be pregnant! But if I mention putting on extra weight and pregnancy I know there would be a Luca shaped hole in the front door. So at the moment I’m in limbo, just without the music or florals.