As I’m having a little bout of nostalgia today, I thought I would sit down and write my pregnancy story – where it all began for me. The day the earth shifted and everything changed forever.
A little background first – baby daddy and I had had a casual relationship which started in February 2015, ending in June 2015. Started off well- but his ex could not stomach his moving on from her so launched what is now known as her ‘campaign of terror’ resulting in him and I calling it quits after a few months as it wasn’t worth all the hassle and hurt.
Fast forward a few months later, he ended up getting back with her (the campaign of terror must have been a turn on for him). I was shocked and felt a bit rejected but got over it pretty quickly. I spent most of June on a lovely trip to Canada alone visiting my dear cousin and his wife.
Upon my return to the UK, I had started to feel most peculiar. I was so so tired, all the time. I couldn’t stay awake past 9pm most nights, I would fall asleep at work and started to feel very hermit-like. I stopped enjoying nights out, I would retreat early and get into bed, just as the party was warming up. I went off alcohol and cigarettes. I couldn’t stop peeing. I didn’t feel right. It hadn’t crossed my mind that I could be pregnant as I was still religiously taking my pill, despite not being sexually active anymore.
As time went on, I felt stranger and stranger so thought it was time to see my doctor. I booked myself an appointment for a week later, with a view of saying to them ‘I think I have cancer or malfunctioning kidneys.’
I was telling a friend at work about how I was feeling and I remember her making a joke about me being pregnant and not realising, until I suddenly gave birth in the toilet, like you see in those trashy reality TV shows in America. I laughed and glazed over the delightful way she’d just called me fat ( I had definitely packed on quite a few pounds lately) – but I suddenly paused and thought. Oh god, I couldn’t be, could I?
I flew round the corner to buy a couple of pregnancy tests, came back to work, hid in the toilets and peed on the stick. There were the double pink lines. I peed on the next stick. The double pink lines.
I sat on the toilet for some twenty minutes crying, shaking with shock and fear and finally sobbing like a child. I mentally went through dates in my mind- when was the last time he and I had sex?? When could it have happened?? How far along am I?? What if it’s so far along I can’t have an abortion?? Could I have another abortion if I’m only 8 weeks along?? I’m 30 years old!! But I can’t have a baby alone!! My parents are going to hate me!! Oh god, I’ve been drinking and smoking. Oh god, I got the house fumigated a month ago because my cat had fleas, what damage could I have done?????
I left the toilet thinking of all the strange tummy aches I’d had in Canada (and how many pain killers I had taken to ease them) – my uterus had been stretching. I hadn’t noticed a missed period because I was on the combined pill so never really had a period anymore. How did this fucking happen? What will I do?
You can imagine what kind of mental state I was in when I phoned the doctors with a shaking hand and voice, explained to the nosy receptionist that I needed to be seen asap. She scheduled me an appointment with my GP for that afternoon. The work friend who made the pregnancy joke and prompted the tests was now being hugely supportive and came to the doctors with me. She held my hand in the waiting room while I just silently sobbed, no longer caring what I looked like to other people – what did they matter when this chaos was going on in my life? I simply couldn’t hide my turmoil.
The doctor confirmed my pregnancy and awkwardly asked me questions about whether this was good or bad news. I explained that I was single and in rented accommodation (I left out the fact that I lived in a party house next to a known crack den in the roughest part of my city). He didn’t seem to see this as a problem. I explained that becoming another statistic was not in my plans. I wanted children when I was ready – in a stable happy relationship, with enough money to know that we would be comfortable. He said ‘things never turn out exactly as you plan them, but that doesn’t make them bad’ – or something along those lines. I started to cry again.
He spent some time on the phone to the clinic trying to schedule me a scan as soon as possible so I could find out how pregnant I was. He explained to the woman on the phone that ‘this is a time-sensitive case’. I had told him that if I was past 10 weeks I would be keeping it. In my head I knew that really I was any more than 8 weeks, I was keeping it. I think at this point I knew I was having a baby, but wasn’t quite ready to deal with it.
It was Friday, the 14th of August 2015. Scan was booked for the following Thursday, 20th of August, 2015. I had almost a week to wait – knowing I was pregnant – not knowing how pregnant or if that little fetus would be staying where it was. I didn’t smoke or drink. I walked around all week feeling very strange, less alone and full of a weird kind of hope. Where was my life heading anyway? I lived for the weekend, for going raving and drinking with my mates. I had a good job but wasn’t so ambitious that I was planning to move up any time soon. What was the purpose of my life? Could this be it?
On the Monday the next week, I had to attend possibly the most heartbreaking event you could imagine; the funeral of 3 year old child. A darling friend from work, who had started her internship the same day as me in 2011 had a little boy who was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal condition when he was six months old that gave him under a year to live. That amazing little boy made it to his 3rd birthday, against all odds, then peacefully went to sleep in the car, on their way back from his birthday day out and never woke again.
There are few things more upsetting than the death of a child. And standing in the church that day, seeing the tiny coffin being led down the middle and then lowered into the ground, I was filled with a gut wrenching grief for his parents that I still feel for them now – more so now, even. I stood there with this new life growing within me, a life that didn’t ask to be there, a life that would change me for the better- I knew it then.
Thursday rolled around. It was time to find out.
My friend Ellie came with me, and I was very glad of it. When the scan operator pressed the heavy thing on my tender belly, moved it around and said ‘Oh my goodness, you’re about 16 weeks along, look there are the legs kicking around’ , the shock that coursed through me was enough to nearly knock me off the table.
I was nearly four months pregnant. I was into the second trimester already. I was definitely having a baby. The baby was ok. I was going to be a mum, next February, the decision was made for me. It was happening. In five months.
Five months time.
Later that afternoon, I knew that I had to tell my parents. The very thought of telling them that I was going to have a baby, alone, without a partner, filled me with dread and nausea. It would be awful.
I pulled up, and text my mum to ask her to come down. I was in the throes of a panic attack so bad that I couldn’t breathe. She knew something was wrong, so when she got to the car she was almost expecting to see me in the state I was in. She told me gently to put my head between my knees and breathe slowly. I did, and slowly started to calm down. I told her in between sobs that I had just found out that I was about four months pregnant and despite the law allowing me to still have a termination, I couldn’t. Because I had seen its little legs kicking on the screen. And it was my baby. I was having it.
I don’t remember her exact words, but they were something along the lines of ‘well, it’s absolutely not ideal but it will work out. Now we have to tell your father.’ My dad’s reaction was a lot worse and it still saddens me to think of it now so I will gloss over it and skip to the bit where he accepted that it was happening, that yes my life was going to be hard, but there was going to be a child born in five months time, a second grandchild for them. They asked a few questions about the father, I said we were no longer in contact. That I couldn’t contact him about this, because he was back with his ex, who he had 2 children with (my dad hung his head and closed his eyes at this point). Yes, this was an absolute mess. It was not the happy pregnancy announcement I imagined I would make to them one day, but that is just the way things turned out.
And if you were to see them with their little grandson now, and see how much they adore him, it would be hard to imagine their initial reaction was anything less than pure joy.
I know that Zac was meant to be born. I was made to be his mother, exactly when I became his mother and in exactly this way. Life isn’t perfect but my god, I could not picture it any other way.