On 13th September I got some very surprising news. And even though it’s now more than two months later I still feel like I’m absorbing it.
Many of you know through this blog about the struggles we’ve had expanding our family in recent years.
Firstly, I had to figure out if I was ready to have another baby at all. My experience of PND and Anxiety after Caterpillar’s birth was so severe and devastating that I spent several years terrified of having to go through it for a second time. I tortured myself for a long time because my mind was so split – torn between a deep desire to have another child and a fear of facing the worst struggle of my life for a second time. Eventually I concluded that it was worth the risk and that, with everything I’ve learned in the last five years, I had the ability to either prevent PND or get well more quickly next time around. (If you’re struggling with this decision at the moment these posts might help: The Big Decision and From Me To Me).
So with the decision made we found ourselves pregnant after only three months of trying (exactly the same as with Caterpillar) but sadly I miscarried at 11 weeks and 6 days on 6th May 2016. This felt especially painful given my history and it triggered a emotional spiral of part grief / part Anxiety setback.
After we picked ourselves up and began trying again we, perhaps naively, assumed we’d be pregnant again within a few months. Bizarrely, and devastatingly, that didn’t happen. Two years later and with no further pregnancies we began fertility testing and received some really difficult news. Essentially we were told that Caterpillar was a miracle and we were unlikely to ever have another child without intervention.
This was devastating of course but I feel really grateful for the tools I’d learnt through mental illness recovery because they helped so much in my learning to accept this outcome and recognise the positives with gratitude. We always knew Caterpillar was awesome, of course, but to know that he was some sort of medical miracle only made us love him and be thankful for him even more deeply.
With difficulty, we began the process of accepting our status as a triangle family. The cost and emotional stress of IVF loomed very dark and we were almost certain we wouldn’t take that route. We were considering adoption but, again, unsure if we were emotionally and mentally capable of offering a child with a difficult background everything they needed. We hadn’t entirely given up, after all despite what the doctors said we had gotten pregnant twice before, but for our own wellbeing we were trying to adjust to the idea and be incredibly grateful to have our son.
Then on 13th September my period was a day or two late. This isn’t unusual but it is painful because no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise the hopeful voice inside you won’t be silenced. I took a test simply to rule out pregnancy so I could move on and enjoy the rest of my week.
I hardly have words for how it felt to see that pale blue line appear. I didn’t know whether to scream for joy, sob my heart out or simply throw up! Unfortunately, I couldn’t actually do any of these as Caterpillar was downstairs waiting for his breakfast and we had to leave for the school run in 20 minutes. Like a moron, I’d taken the test after Hubs had left for work so I knew I’d have a whole eight hours to wait before I could even discuss this with someone. Plus, who knew if this was even real – the line was pretty faint after all and I knew only two well how easily dreams could be shattered.
After breakfast I got in the shower and sobbed. Huge, gasping ridiculous cries that were so loud my son called up from downstairs to ask what the noise was and is someone crying? As the hot water beat down my hot tears ran full of joy, shock, relief, grief for what we’d lost and all we’d been through, and fear – that none of this was even real.
I pulled myself together and took Caterpillar to school on autopilot, avoiding my sister in law at the gate for fear of breaking down and confessing all before I’d even told Hubs (sorry, Sis!). I spent the day wandering around town in a daze and counting the hours until Hubs came home and until the next morning when I could take another test.
Despite the fear and anxiety that has bubbled beneath the surface of my mind for the last two months, I’m so incredibly happy to finally share the news that that first pale blue line, and the five more that followed, were very real indeed and our rainbow baby is due in May 2019. The irony of this being the same month we miscarried last time is not lost on us.
I’ll be writing a whole post about our theories on how we got pregnant despite our diagnosis at a future date. Likewise, I’ll be blogging about dealing with pregnancy after PND for anyone who is struggling with this at the moment, including how I’ve managed my thoughts and Anxiety during the first trimester.
But for now I just wanted to get the news out there and also offer some explanation as to why there’s been no new blog content in the last few months!
I’d begun giving up hope long ago that a rainbow would ever follow our rain storms but I should know by now that life has a funny way of randomly giving you what you need, at the very moment you need it.
Meanwhile for updates you can follow me on Instagram where I’m beginning a Pregnant After PND video diary in the Stories highlights.