It was 31st January 2017, a Tuesday night, about 6.30pm and I had just disappeared upstairs and done a pregnancy test without Dave knowing. I hadn’t been feeling quite myself for a week or so and a friend had suggested taking a test. I hadn’t thought anything of it, I’d done plenty in the past that had come to nothing and so expected the same. Then there it was. That life-altering moment. Those blue lines telling me we were pregnant. I called Dave and asked him to come upstairs, he chuntered something about ‘why did I have to’ when he was in the middle of making tea so I repeated myself and said it was important. I didn’t even know what to say to him as I stared in shock at this rainbow baby we’d been gifted.
That initial thrill. We threw our arms around each other. We cried. We looked at each other in disbelief. I was shaking. Following our ectopic pregnancy in August 2015 I had pretty much convinced myself that it was never going to happen for us. Maybe it was a protective measure? If I believed it would never happen then I had zero expectations and it was an easier way (for me) to cope.
Now I sit here, on the same Tuesday but a year further forward, writing a blog, brain dumping my feelings, unsure as to whether I will actually publish this, we’ll see. But what I do know is, our baby isn’t here, our baby who we were so excited to be bringing into the world in October last year isn’t in our arms. Instead? He came into this world sleeping on June 15th 2017, 111 days early and filling our hearts with so much love and pride.
Once the initial excitement had passed through us and I’d phoned my mum to tell her, the fear then set in. This was going to be only the beginning of us navigating our way through pregnancy after loss. I was absolutely petrified, almost convinced we were going to have another ectopic pregnancy – although this time I would die. Sounds dramatic doesn’t it? But having very nearly lost my life 18 months previously I was sure this time that I wouldn’t be so lucky.
January 31st has sat firmly planted in my head…a date imprinted on my mind and as we entered the new year I could feel my anxiety start to rear itself. I have tried to suppress it but I knew as we entered this week, I wasn’t going to be able to ignore it. And I haven’t. I could tell it was surfacing; I had spent Sunday morning tidying Dexter’s room, putting a few Christmas books away, making sure it was how it should be – never for Dexter to feel the warmth or joy that encompasses his room. Then I climbed into bed last night, held Dexter’s blankie a little tighter (the one he had slept with the night he died – one of my most treasured possessions) and cried. Absolutely sobbed my heart out. Proper hard crying. Poor Dave didn’t quite know what to do but he got it right – he just held me and whispered ‘I know’. The same happened this morning, broken-hearted and unable to pull myself together. The absolute, sheer, desperate longing for this Tuesday, for January 31st 2018 to be different – for us not to be wading through the shit that is child loss. I think in my heart of hearts, I had hoped we might be pregnant again, but we’re not and that’s okay. I’m okay about it. Why? Because I have to be. I don’t feel quite the same as I did after our ectopic pregnancy, I have hope…hope that is driven by Dexter. Hope that one day we will be lucky enough to fall pregnant again and this time we’ll be able to bring Dexter’s sibling home – home to that room that will surround them with the warmth and joy.
I feel nervous about what the next few months will hold. Nervous of all the happiest of memories reminding us what we have lost. We were so naive and it saddens me. We should have been allowed to be. We had every right to believe that we would have been bringing Dexter home and from the day of our 20 week scan (17th May 2017) – the day we found out we were having a son, that everything looked well and that he had long legs just like his daddy – I thought we were home and dry. How wrong we were.
So tomorrow and each day that follows, the memories of our 6/8/10/12/20 week scans – all showing our beautiful boy growing so well – the day we heard his heartbeat for the first time (of which we have a recording of, with Dexter’s heart thumping imprinted on my mind) and so many other exciting memories as we began to prepare for the birth of our son. What will I do tomorrow? Just as I did today…got up, got dressed, went to work and powered through and tomorrow I’ll do the same. I find sometimes I really resent work, not while I’m there but when I come home – when I sit down and realise I haven’t thought about Dexter much that day. It’s like a stab in the heart, like I’m a rubbish mother, failing my son. I know this not to be true and work has been a good thing for me to return to, it gives me a different focus and keeps me busy but that in itself causes my resentment. What I have to remember is that Dexter is and will always be with me. I do think about him, he is never far from my thoughts – I know I think about him all the way to work, as I walk down the corridor, as I have a quiet few moments at my desk or as I drive home so what I need to do at these times is ‘be present’. I need to acknowledge these moments, give them to Dexter and remind myself that I am doing the very best I can.
As always, wading through shit. And as ever, if you need to then just…
*How is that for a rambly post?! This is me brain dumping, it was much needed tonight. Thank you for reading and a gold star to you if you’ve got to the end of it! Ruth xxx