For most (not all) but most, finding out they are pregnant is a joyful and exciting occasion with little doubt and clear views of what they want. For me it was not so straight forward. After ‘The night that changed it all…‘ (click the link to read if you haven’t already) my whole world changed as I knew it. I’m not entirely sure if any of my friends and family who may come across this actually know about this but I thought it is an important part of our story that I am now open to share. This is where I hold my biggest ‘mum guilt’ of all, even now I am typing it I have tears in my eyes, just going through the notion.
After a dash to Tesco, you know ‘just to put my mind at rest’ I downed the last of my drink en-route up the stairs, trying to stay quiet as I could to not make my housemate aware I was even up. Not that he would have asked questions but because it would have been an all to welcome distraction and well, I was busting for a wee! Quick read of the instructions and ahh before I’d even finished my wee an accidental glimpse and I’m sure that was 2 lines… ‘o maybe it starts with two and then one goes if you aren’t… right?’. Those 2 minutes were the longest wait of my life! My brain working over time, until that moment I hadn’t considered what I would do if I actually was pregnant. I had only ever discussed it hypothetically, I never thought I would actually be in the situation where that may be an actual choice I would have to make.
Looking at the stick of wee… there they were, the two lines clear as day. F***!! Without a second thought I packed a small bag, told my housemate there was a family emergency, jumped in my car and drove straight to his (well his mums). My brain hadn’t even considered if anyone else was in or if he was even there. 2 hours of the radio conveniently playing songs like ‘papa, don’t preach’ and Bieber’s ‘Baby, baby, baby, ooo’… no Biebs not oo.. HELP!
So there I was at his door, totally unannounced, desperate for another wee I went straight to the loo with a second stick just for the double wammy. The poor boy (yes boy, not a child but definitely not reached that ‘man’ point) was so confused by my arrival. So, breathe, sit, ok… ‘I think I’m Pregnant’. Three hours of silence later- not helped by the fact his younger siblings came home and needed looking after- he finally uttered the words ‘so when are you going to the doctors’. The next day we went to the doctors together to get a blood test and to find out if my lupus would affect the prospects of a small being inside me. Sat in the waiting room he had the most awkward laughing fit ever terrifying the poor old lady opposite us- in the 6 years I’d known him I had never seen him do this before but apparently when he’s nervous, he laughs… a lot.
The next day I had my family coming down to see me at uni for the weekend, so off I went back to uni, head filled with confusion, keeping the biggest secret of my life, completely unsure of anything and I had to pretend I was ok. I managed to laugh and smile on cue but it was the toughest weekend, made harder by the fact I got the doctors call while I was at dinner with my Grandparents. They saw my phone ring, I knew I had to answer it or I would have to wait till the Monday. ‘Hello, are you free to talk’… If I say no my grandparents will question it, if I say yes I might cry. Keeping the best poker face I could (apparently not so good by the retreat my nana took to ‘find my Granddad’) there it was, confirmation.
So between assignments and dissertation I had to fit in the biggest decision of my life, not only that but one that would affect everyone else too. I have always been a very practical thinker, I take time to make decisions, I look at all the possible options so naturally this is what I had to do, although time was not on my side. The following Monday I phoned my nana her and I have always been very close and I tell her everything, I was petrified but found it easier to tell her than I thought it would be to tell my mum- I knew this would upset my mum when/if she found out, but for me at the time it was all I could manage.
Neither of us were financially stable, I was finishing up my degree, he was a self-employed labourer living at home. A years previous I had been diagnosed with SLE (Lupus) and I had no idea what this meant for myself let alone any offspring, or if I was even able to have a full pregnancy, if it would put me and said sprog at risk etc. There were so many things to consider, so many motions to go through, we weren’t together. I would be a single mum, he would be a weekend dad, neither of us particularly wanted that.
So he took a day off and we went to the appointment, in the waiting room were such strong girls and women who I hope made the right choice for them. I however was a quivering mess and just wanted to leave. I spoke to the nurses on my own (they had to know it was my decision), they examined me to see how far gone I was and they gave me my options. Away we went, information in hand tears rolling down my eyes. It’s not straight forward, it’s not one tablet and off you go. For some this might be the only option, for some it’s an easy decision everyone’s lives are different and I fully respect it. I however didn’t find the decision so easy. If anyone had asked me previously what I would do, I would have answered 100% have the baby. But here faced with the choice, was that really the sensible option, was I equipped and able to go through with either option. Many chats and tears later a we thought the choice had to be made. I went back to the clinic and told them I was sure, I knew they weren’t convinced but they sent me away telling me I should tell my mum but they would book me in if I was really sure. I was going home for her birthday anyway so now would be the time if any. Getting her out the house was a task of its own without raising suspicion, but I managed telling her some bull about my little sister. Driving to the top of the hill, on a beautiful country road, I did it, I took the plunge and told her.. tears, followed by panic, followed by more tears, followed by practicalities (I wondered where I got that from). She drove me straight to his and took us both somewhere to talk it all through with a ‘impartial’ (not so much) view, we discussed everything, over and over. I went back to uni to hand in a crucial assignment, while there was more to-ing and fro-ing between all that knew. My mind was frazzled the final appointment was looming, my brain working overtime, I had to see him again before the date to make sure we were doing the right thing for both of us. Sat in the car overlooking the river and the flooded fields my mind was made up.
‘I can’t do it.’ I burst into tears expecting him to be annoyed or angry but all he did was grab me and hold me. I knew in that moment everything was going to work out fine. I wasn’t alone in this, I had already had so much support from the few I told, even if this was not how I would have dreamt and imagined my life. In that moment my brain told me, I would regret it for the rest of my life; what if my illness got worse and I could never conceive again and how would I live with myself knowing very close family and friends have lost their own. Clarity rushed over me. I was certain this is what I wanted and I had to be strong and stay true to me. I gave him the option to walk away there and then – deep down I knew he wouldn’t but I wanted it to be his choice too. It was the biggest and clearest decision I had ever made, I knew if it I could make that choice, while staying on top of my uni work and not once did I lose my shit, I could do it!
Now, to tell those close to me the news! O and book midwife appointments, and find out the risks from my Rheumatologist… Let the fun begin!