It wasn’t the pregnancy itself that was the problem, that was something we said we’d like in an ideal world, the problem was that we were not living in an ideal world. Far from financially secure I had just invested every cent I had in a Sydney sized mortgage and already had two kids to support, and Mr Z was still a couple of months from graduating from his master’s, after which would follow an internship type year that paid next to nothing. At 43 we had decided it would not be possible for us before time ran out. Apparently the universe had other plans.
It wasn’t only the finances that concerned me, there was the issue of my previous miscarriages and the emotional rollercoaster that early pregnancy brings, every day waking to wonder if today would be the day it would happen. There was a lot to get my head around if this baby was going to hang in there, but I didn’t want to think about it too much and get too attached because the chances of it working out seemed so slim. Even if I didn’t miscarry, at 43 the chance of there being a serious genetic issue is 1 in 30, and what then? Add to that the hormones, the 24×7 nausea, the exhaustion, the stress of moving house, managing university assignments and still looking after kids through it all and it was a recipe for emotional volatility and copious amounts of tears. Hello relationship strain – just what we needed with our past history!
I couldn’t even bring myself to go to the doctors at first, I was 7 weeks before I did. We were in the midst of the move and I didn’t even know which doctor to go to, I had to find a new one. I had been experiencing pain and assumed it was just a matter of time, but it was pain, not cramps, and after the previous miscarriages I was well aware of the difference. Finally I made an appointment. The doctor was lovely and sympathetic and sent me of for a scan. It was still another 4 days before I had it, but it was a relief when I did. There was the tiny little jelly bean with a clear heartbeat, and a giant fibroid that evidently was the source of my pain (an inconvenience but not really a risk). I felt so much relief. Finally it became real, finally I started to allow myself to think, what if…?
It was weeks before I started to feel better, but even then every day that I wasn’t horribly ill I wondered if it was a sign that the hormone levels were dropping and I was going to experience that loss after all. I told my eldest about the baby because he had been causing me a lot of stress by fighting going to school (every day) and he didn’t understand my volatility and lack of patience with him about it, which I felt extreme guilt over. I thought he would be better if he understood, and he was. In fact he was delighted with the news. I waited until after the 12 week scan to tell my youngest though, he is a much more emotional soul and I didn’t want him along on my rollercoaster ride if I could help it.
The stats on the genetic risk after the scan came back low so finally I told my youngest, that same day. I had told very few people that I was pregnant and clearly needed a bit of practice because I struggled to get it out. Or maybe I subconsciously had anticipated his reaction. Let’s just say he needed a bit of adjustment time before he could say he was happy about the news, not least because he was concerned someone was going to have to move out to make room! For a good three days I can say I crashed and burned from my position as cool mother to the most embarrassing mother on the face of the earth, but finally he came round to being as happy about it as the rest of us were. Thank God.
Finally, out of the chaos that had reinstated itself in my life with renewed force, there came a little bit of joy.