Before, when she was just an image in my mind, a blob on a screen, we lived in the day to day. One day at a time, they said. From one appointment to another. Scan by scan. And soon she would be here. But we couldn’t think about that. Couldn’t see a baby in all the panic and worry. Couldn’t imagine a life with four children, rather than three. Another girl to add to the mix. It just didn’t compute. We had to get through the pregnancy. Stroke the bump. Talk to the bump. Take pictures of the bump. As if this pregnancy would be over so soon, and we would forget what it was like. As if we had all the time in the world. As if our world was not about to be turned upside down all over again. And, now she is here.
I’ve read lots about the aftermath of HG but never really gave it a lot of thought since Elsie arrived. I’ve looked back on the time I spent on medication as a kind of greyish black time. It was a lonely time. Isolating. Scary. But ultimately, it ended. By 28 weeks I was medication free and despite a brief period of sickness after that, I managed to turn my back on HG for good by the time i was being monitored for Elsie’s growth .
And so began the questions. My baby wasn’t growing and I needed to know if the medication I’d been taken had anything to do with that. I suppose not, but you can’t help wondering. I didn’t write much about HG. Mainly I felt that I didn’t suffer as much as many women and for that reason I felt I didn’t really have much to say that could add weight to the fact that HG is one hell of a torrid and disturbing ride. Also I genuinely found it hard to write about it whilst it had me in its grip, and then IUGR took ahold and I needed to put the sickness to one side to concentrate. To get my baby in my arms. To know that it had all been worth it. (more…)
Last week we had a routine check up at the hospital with Elsie’s paediatrician. Usually we marvel at how well she’s doing, despite the reflux and allergies. Despite her rocky beginnings. Despite the agonising months we spent fearing the worse. This time though, we came away with a trebled dose of medication for the reflux and a steroid inhaler for restricted airways possibly related to asthma, possibly allergies. It felt like a step backwards. A falter where other babies were moving onwards and upwards. A stumble in the path where other babies were sailing.
It’s been pretty quite over here. It hasn’t been intentional. Sometimes the fog drops so low that I cannot make my fingers type out the words in my head. Sometimes I crave space, and time. Sometimes I simply cannot imagine writing it at all.
Time to come in, out of the dark.
Last week something pretty wonderful happened. I was shortlisted for the Seraphine Mums Voice award in the Tommy’s baby awards. I’ll be attending the ceremony in March, along with wonderful friends Jenny and Leigh. To be a finalist in these awards has made me realise that this is not over. How can it be, when so many women and their families are still suffering the same as me, still sitting in the dark?
I’ve always been honest about my experiences. I’ve written about birth trauma, HG and IUGR because I needed to. I needed to share, to lessen the load. But it’s different now. Because in sharing I found I was helping, if only in a small way.
You are not alone.
You are not going crazy.
You do deserve answers. (more…)