I haven't written on here in a long time, but felt it was time to share with those who don't know that we are having a baby girl in July!
Turning 40 last year and seeing Callum grow up so much in the last year plus, made us really think and we decided to throw caution to the wind and just see and here we are!!
I can't say in the first 2 years after Harry died that i wanted another child. Paul did, but I wanted to reclaim my life, do things for me. Find ME.
I felt I should be grateful for what I have, 1 healthy lovely boy, whom we have worked hard to nurture after the turbulent time we had when Harry had cancer.
However, I have to say a turning point came when someone I know was having a baby in September 18 months ago. The month Harry was born. It was not someone I know well, but a work colleague. There was baby talk in the office. I realised that i was turning a corner. Having felt so exhausted from 6 1/2 years of feeling completely depended upon, because just as life was feeling to become a little easier as Harry turned 4 and Callum approached age 2, sleepless nights began again with Harry experiencing what we later knew were symptoms of cancer. The sleepless nights continued throughout harry's 2.5 years of living with cancer, leaving me exhausted when he died and not in a good place to commence the new journey of grief and learning to live without Harry.
Therefore the mere thought of babies exhausted me. The thought of that dependence, sleep deprivation. It wasn't for me. However, slowly as I put myself back together, reclaimed my life, nurtured Callum into a much more confident boy, got my marriage back on track and career wise felt back in the saddle, well, perhaps anything was possible. I realised life isn't for many of us this well set out plan as I believed in my early 30s. Doing the sensible thing I thought by having 2 boys close together pre 35, pre the so called danger zone of being classified as a geriatric Mother! I chose and had my boys at what I felt was a sensible age. Careers established, mortgage secured, smug maybe, for I was bringing 2 boys up in a financially secure environment.
But then cancer happened. My healthy boy Harry, was no longer healthy. We were suddenly no longer financially secure as i went onto unpaid leave for nearly 2 years. Applying for benefits to help us meet bills.
The rug was well and truly pulled from under our feet.
However, I learnt how to live in the moment and treasure the good days out we had with Harry. I filled several photo books with memories to take me into my old age and to help Callum remember Harry. They are also all Harry's sister will have to help her know her courageous and funny older brother as well as our stories.
So being pregnant following the loss of another child brings its very unique issues, but issues people are soooo not aware of.
On top of the usual emotional and hormonal state that pregnancy can bring, there are added feelings that professionals do not consider.
Feelings of guilt, that i am replacing Harry, never possible, but i had a massive wobble when i found out i was pregnant as i know i will have to redistribute some photos of harry to make room for ones of this baby. She needs her photo on the wall too and i never want her to think she is not good enough.
So for me, a hurdle has been getting my mind set on where to redistribute some photos to. Not a mission accomplished yet, but i have planned it out and feel ready to make room for our new addition.
Harry will always be a part of our family and his picture will always be on our wall.
I have found medical professionals hard to deal with at times too. I am that 'geriatric' mum being 41. I visited our doctors to get in the system for antenatal care. I saw a G.P. whom i have not met before. He talked of the increased possibility of having a child with down symdrome, of Edwards disease etc.
Negativity from the outset. I am now aware that there are so many diseases, disabilities etc and many not picked up until a child is born. Harry was healthy until he was 4. So i get agitated at this focus on tests and eradicating having a baby with downs.
My initial appt with the midwife seemed to focus on the negatives too. My age, etc! Discussions around having a £400 private test to look at the babies genetics and find out if the baby has any problem genes likeky to cause disability. But then what do we do. How disabled would it actually be?!.
Again we had a healthy Harry when he was born.
So much focus on eradicating disability in a faetus. However, we do not know what life will bring. The twists and turns. We do not have the key to perfection. Something i feel has a lot of emphasis when carrying a faetus.
That huge emphasis on breast is best. The lectures, the emphasis on how breast feeding can reduce hospital admissions, make our children healthy. I have to shatter the illusions of these professionals and say i am up for all possibilities and have bottles in and powdered milk ready and will see how i feel. I enlighten people that breast feeding did not stop callum being hospitalised with bronchulitus at 6 weeks and it certainly did not stop Harry getting cancer and dying.
A happy mummy is best, one whom can nurture her baby and feel confident that baby is putting on wait and thriving.
So i will go with the flow.
Obviously one of the biggest things has been discussing Harry. Meeting professionals for the first time. Discussing previous pregnancies. It says in my notes that harry died. But each new professional does not read the notes.
I have highlighted since day one that i have anxieties around the labour due to previous issues. Yes i had normal deliveries. However each one was not a dream; hypnotic; waterbirth experience. Both very medicalised.
I have found it hard dealing with the medical professionals. Being a patient of a Leeds doctors, but choosing Harrogate hospital already creates a cross between authorities. I had the boys at AGH, but felt i had too many memories and didn't want to go there. Harry was misdignosed there. I wanted new memories, so chose Harrogate. LGI would have again brought back too many memories too.
I wrongly assumed Harrogate would request my notes from AGH and my G.P.. This has left me having to tell each different person i meet at Harrogate, about my previous births and about Harry. The health care assistant will come in first to do obs and pass time by asking if my first. No my 3rd. My mood depends if i can be bothered to elaborate, as the meeting is usually fleeting.
So many emotions are brought up, because each time i am aware i am where i am i.e. pregnant because we lost harry. I do not think we would be having another as life would have been so very different and complete.
My emotions get translated by professionals and not as pure grief.
Having this baby has enabled me to talk about Harry. Such as in the work place. This can be good. We have had a few new people join my department and they ask if this pregnancy is my first and i say no and briefly explain as ages of my other 2 get asked.
I have meetings with people and they look at me and ask questions. When in a professional capacity I smile and wash over the subject as quick as possible as not the time and place for elaborating.
My dread is baby groups. The initial introduction; the how many children; why a big age gap etc. The reaction from others. The realisation that shit can happen, that children can get cancer and die.
I have realised a new neighbour has a new baby and a 7 year old, so i met her up. I very quickly mentioned Harry. I mentioned him because it is because of him i know quite a lot of people in otley. It is because of him i know more about schools as we have been in that system for 5 years now. By mentioning Harry also meant i can talk about my 2 previous birth stories. Also if people befriend me on facebook, they will see me post memories of Harry and by me telling them what happened, hopefully this makes sense when they wonder what happened.
So here i am at 38 weeks pregnant.
I finished work a few weeks ago because i had a lot of leave to use up.
My desire is to have a c-section delivery. I don't physically need one, but due to issues in my 2 previous deliveries I do have heightened anxiety. I have anxiety around being 41. I am also so much more aware of disabilities. Having been at martin house; having lived longer, awareness of what can go wrong is there.
I am also a person whom won't take the medics judgememt as gospel. They do not have a crystal ball, they cannot predict that this baby will slide out and i'll be home hours later, which they keep saying could happen and i remind them that this might not be the case.
Since i was told for several weeks by medical professionals that Harry had a virus in those early days when he actually had cancer, forgive me for not hanging onto every word that comes out of the so calles experts mouths.
Yes i respect them, but they have to respect and empathise why i feel like i do too. Sadly in a 10 minute appt it is hard for them to understand and continuity has not been there, having dealt with various different people.
My consultant has eventually agreed to give me a c-section if normal delivery does not happen and i have a date for july 11th when i will be 40 weekd plus 3.
I had a small bleed yesterday and went to the maternity assessment unit. I had to detail my previous labours. I was asked who lived at home and so again had to explain that Harry died, so does not live with us. Paul was with me and we both had a flash back when my temperature was being taken as we both remembered Harry having his temperature taken on so many numerous occassions. He would then take great joy in firing the plastic end off. He would also collect the plastic ends and make a poking stick out of them. We remembered him smiling and having a sense of humour. I welled up. People then think i am anxious about the here and now. It is hard to explain that by being in hospital or at appts brings back flash backs, memories etc.
Memories that no professional has even the first clue about.
Here's hoping baby buckley makes an appearance asap as i am fed up now. Here is also praying she is fit and well.
We are all looking forward to embarking on our new chapter of life.
I will also end by saying never say never!! I never thought i'd have been pregnant again that is for sure. Life changes and so do we!!