…. Happily Ever After….

happily-ever-after-chalkboard-style-the-sweet-drawer

29th April 2015, at 3.05pm weighing 7lb 3oz, a little girl with no name came into the world after 38 weeks of  pregnancy, 5 days of induction and 16 hours of labour …  Scarf Baby (you need to keep reading to get to grips with the whole scarf baby pet name) came out pink and screaming, and god only knows the relief I felt in more ways than one, now all women know that labour and birth is NOT easy or for the fainthearted, but jeeze she felt like an enormous melon, not just one of them sweet galia melons, but a great big fricking watermelon being forced through a space that no melon could fit through unless blended with vodka!

The labour was complicated and nothing seemed to go smoothly, it was problematic and extremely stressful to say the very least without revealing the very intimate parts of the entire process, like when one vaginal examination almost sent me through the brick wall behind me and it felt remarkably like he touched my tonsils not my cervix…… Too much information…. Yes I agree, so where were we…….

It was the strangest of labours combined with the surrealist of pregnancy’s there were three shadows that followed me everywhere, the three reminders were a constant in Louis, Corey and Elliot. Often I’d catch a glimpse of Elliot’s picture in Lilly-Ella’s bedroom and I’d be reminded instantly of how quick life can change…or I’d stare for a second longer at my reflection in the mirror just staring at my tattoo on my arm and I would think of all of them ‘gone but not forgotten’ one of many memorial tattoos as a way to mark their existence… I would hold my tummy and whisper “everything is going to be alright bubba, just keep on keeping on”, every day further was a day closer to the ‘happily ever after’ I had to keep believing this.

You see, I spent most of my pregnancy not speaking or talking about  ‘THE PREGNANCY’,  to speak of ‘THE PREGNANCY’ would make it real, and I know that sounds ludicrously daft now because I knew it was real, the peeing all over my fingers and seeing the words ‘Pregnant 3-4 weeks’ flash up on the very modern digital pregnancy test told me all I needed to know about it being real, but when you speak about something you make this real to everyone, everyone who loves and cares about you, you make this reality into everyone else’s reality too, but not only that but you start future building in your head, its like a little story of your life to be being built up with each word you speak out loud, each word representing and provoking an emotion linked to a hopeful impending future, creating pictures on a reel in your minds eye!

So you can imagine why I found ‘THE PREGNANCY’ so difficult to speak of, the mere thought of loosing all this for a fourth time, to loose ‘MY BABY’ for a fourth time just didn’t bare thinking about. So quite simply – I didn’t think about it…

I went about my life normally, went to work, met with friends, took the children to school, rushed around to clubs and kids parties at about 120mph, rarely stopping long enough to catch my breath. I attended midwife appointments, hiding in the corner of the waiting room, listening for my Pseudonym to be called out in case someone knew me… What would that be? ….my pseudonym, what would it be?,,,,,,,,,,Well if I had one it would definitely have to be representative of a pregnant woman behaving like a neurotic wolly! But for now, I kind of like Cinderella, Aurora or Tinkerbell – the feeling of belonging to a Disney Movie with ‘happily ever afters’ feels quite comforting at this moment…. So Cindaura Tinkersmell it is….

In the beginning I remember thinking as callous as this may sound, that if there is a god and I am meant to loose this baby, I pray this happens in the weeks rather than months, for me, myself or Cindaura Tinkersmell could not do it again, the mind, body and soul, were still fragile delicate and vulnerable.

Months passed and I was getting on with my pregnancy behind a scarf, first of all hour by hour, day by day, then week by week, the weeks turned into months quite quickly, its quite shocking how time passes by so fast when you don’t think about it,  the ‘hush hush’ of my swelling belly being disguised by various scarves was helping the time pass even quicker, my pregnant swelling belly had now became known amongst the closest of friends as ‘scarf baby’…. Time passed, and so did my anxiety, but as the weeks turned in to months my bond grew for scarf baby, and the familiar maternal feelings were beginning to tap back in to my psyche in turn my thought process began to change, I crawled past the 13wk mark and had seen my baby on the sonographers screen, I am now praying, hoping and holding on to this pregnancy with everything I have, discussing with my consultant, concerns and worries, talking of induction and antenatal care, it was indeed overwhelming but I had to do everything in my power, be verbal, be stronger and be more forth right if I am not getting the answers I need, because I NEED this to work I NEEDED this to be my “happily ever after”, 20 weeks came and went like a number 39 bus, which also mirrored my size, 21 weeks, 22 weeks, 23 weeks 24 weeks and now a small tugboat ….. Counting down to the encroaching 37 week date of induction pre-planned in an attempt to beat the biological clock to 38 weeks, which was apparently the ‘danger zone’.

Jesus some of these doctors have such a way with words…. I mean using descriptive words like ‘danger zone’, how in the hell is this going to alleviate my anxiety and worry, when in the back of my head I feel the looming D Day getting closer and have images of entering a delivery room with yellow and black gaffer tape fixed to the door depicting an area of danger.

My other living children were still being sheltered from the truth regarding the impending arrival of scarf baby, Rob and I had collectively made the conscious decision to not tell them about the pregnancy until they asked, because in my mind the less time they were waiting to meet their sibling meant less worry, less stress, less panic and fewer questions to be bombarded with, So I was about 29 weeks when I was questioned innocently by my 6 year old son,

Toby: Mummy, I am no Doctor but I think you might have a baby in your tummy?

Mummy: How would you feel if the Doctor said that I do have a baby in my tummy?

Toby: Fine, bit worried but fine {BIG PAUSE AND A LOOK OF PANIC} …. But I don’t want another girl, I am all done with girls! ( pretty sure he then had an early premonition, an overload of female hormones spilling out of the house, splitting up hairbrush wars and tiara tantrums between his sisters, with the responsibility of having to be a brotherly shoulder to cry on for his entire lifetime suddenly dawned on him and the look of sheer panic on his face as the realisation of ANOTHER pink one entering the house filled him with utter dread)

Mummy: (stroking his hair in a assuring way) Toby sweetheart, I am having a baby but sadly, we have no control over what we are given, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a happy healthy baby, shall we? It will be the biggest bestest surprise little dude and we will all be OK!

Toby: Butttttt what if………….

STOPPING HIM MID SENTENCE

Mummy: Exactly that…. Tobes ….. What if!! Lifes full of them and that’s what makes it so exciting!

The SCARF BABY revelation was now completely out, and my ‘then’ 8 year old daughter who already in her little lifetime has seen and witnessed more than most her age, had been caught looking and starring at my belly, occasionally rubbing it and smiling with an off the  cuff comment that I should go to ‘Fat Club with Auntie Hannah’, I knew that she knew so I revealed the known secret to confirm her suspicions …..

My biggest baby with an old head on young shoulders took the news well, she smiled and then almost instantly as soon as the smile had reached the curvature of her mouth, her eyes filled with water and she smiled through her tears and said to me in a quivering voice.

Lilly-Ella: Mummy, will this baby die too? Because I reallyyyy really don’t want that to happen again…

Mummy: NO (I gasp, in an automatic defensive response, composing myself slightly I continue..) but this I cannot promise you and I wish I could, but human nature and the circle of life is very unpredictable and although I cannot make you a promise, I can say that Mummy is looking after your brother or sister the best I possibly can while he or she grows their fingers and toes and gets big enough to join our little family, but whatever happens you must always know that Mummy and  Daddy love you very much and nothing at all will ever change this and that’s MY promise to you, no matter what, always and forever, we will be your constant through the good times and the bad times.

Lilly-Ella: I love you Mummy and as long as you are ok I’ll be ok too….  (Cuddling)

The days were now beginning to drag, no secret left to hide, felling vulnerable, exposed, and fearful the final trimester was quite honestly HELL! Finally induction day came and I was terrified, every part of my body screaming RUN, and the sensible part of my head with a voice of reason, whispering, just have HOPE…..

I had some great midwives, one of which is training in her final year. I already knew her from the crazy morning school runs and sweaty school pick-ups, a brief ‘Hello’ at the school gate while running with yesterday’s random sock still poking out from the bottom of my jeans where it didn’t quite make the laundry and I hope we will be friends as opposed to acquaintances from now on because she was my reassurance, my safety blanket when panic set in, when fear was tingling my skin she gave me the hope back when I felt it slipping away and I don’t think she will realise just how much help she really was. Cassie Chapman if you are reading this – I thank you wholeheartedly!

After 38 weeks of pregnancy, 5 days of induction and 16 hours of labour…..

Scarf baby – became Esme HOPE Harris, our happy ever after!

So moral of the story – never give up HOPE!