Good news! My wife B is pregnant again! Words can’t describe my excitement and the love and wonder I have for B… but I am terrified!
Yes, returning to all-nighters and near-constant swaying is scary, especially when we’re just getting used to sleep again. And sure, the idea of being outnumbered is scary – what happens if they all run in different directions? It sounds messy! It sounds loud! And what if it’s a girl? My sisters were a nightmare, I don’t want to live with teenage girls again! What if it’s twins?!
But all of that is the scary that I want, the scary that is part of parenting. What really terrifies me is the prospect of getting attached to this little spec of life and the knowledge that nothing is certain.
I have two beautiful boys. My wife has now been pregnant five times. Something doesn’t add up. Two of the pregnancies were short. They did not result in a baby.
“Did not result in a baby” or “short pregnancy” – I have thought very hard about the best words to use. I have learned that it is important to talk about miscarriage but to me the word still implies some kind of fault – the idea that B carried the babies wrong is just so ridiculous to me! What about “we lost the baby”? Well the sense of loss was and still is huge, but we aren’t careless people.
When it came to making babies. B and I rocked. We were champions, heroes, we could have been the poster children for conception.
“Maybe we should stop using protection and, you know, see what happens?” – BOOM! Nine months later a gorgeous perfect boy.
I know that for everyone is not that simple and that is part of what makes me so proud of us. We were lucky. We were on top form.
Second time round: “Shall we have another?”, “Sure” – BOOM! Pregnant. We were so happy! This is easy, we’ve got this baby making shit down. We told our family; grandchild #2 excitement all round.
All of the waiting rooms and all of the nerves have blended into one. The pain of that one scan has compounded the worry and muddled the memory of every scan since and now I struggle to pick out the sense of excitement amongst the dread of waiting rooms. I just remember the weight of the silence as the sonographer turned the screen away and the flood of pain as my heart and brain finally caught up with my eyes and ears.
So a little while later, B spent a cold, lonely day on a ward full of pregnant women (in my head it was raining but I’m pretty sure it was actually a lovely sunny day) completing her medically managed miscarriage while I spent the day just down the road with our eldest feeling miles away.
A short while later, same old story – “Shall we?”, “Sure” – BOOM. The excitement was less intense, the fear was definitely there, the miscarriage was less dramatic, the loss was just as devastating.
Third time’s a charm as they say and BOOM! Boy#2 – BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! He has changed our lives – such an amazing zest for life – he loves everything!
Life after a short pregnancy was much as I have heard it described by others. We didn’t really talk about too much beyond a shared understanding of the pain and having to explain to the understandably upset and sympathetic grandparents (and the hoards of people they had secretly told.) But their pain fades, they move on or forget and we struggle on remembering. Occasionally there is brief sense of unity when a friend shares their story and you know that they know – it helps.
I remember being so angry at colleagues when they pried and joked that it was time that boy#1 had a little brother or sister, I wish I’d been brave enough to tell them, but it was my pain, they didn’t know. But how could they be so insensitive?! I also thought about how awkward it would have made them if I had been honest – is it rude or impolite to point out that someone’s casual inquiry is actually a deadly blow to the gut? I think that now I would be more honest, I am more keen to tell people early that B is pregnant – that way they might understand if it is short – and maybe they will talk about their experience too.
So this time, not the same “shall we?”, “sure”, wait? No BOOM? Over a year later and BOOM, pregnant again. And so the nerves start, the panic creeps in… what is the point of getting excited?
Of course I am excited! I’m over the moon! How could I ever tell my child that I wasn’t excited to meet them from the moment they existed?
So we’ll go on and we’ll tell people our good news and if by some cruel fate it is a short pregnancy then we will deal with that – but what is the point of getting excited? … Why wouldn’t you be excited?!?!