This is an odd entry in that Karl regularly chimes in (quoted). However, given that what I’m about to discuss affected us both, I’m sure you can understand.
If you’d asked me this time last year my opinions on ‘mommy bloggers’ and ‘mommy blogging’ I’m sure I’d have given you a cynical retort about the standards of these bloggers and where they could, quite frankly, stick their views. I’d have been firmly with the childless 20-somethings, stuck in the mindset of “I know best”, trying to impart my wisdom on things that seem obvious to anyone with half an education. Funny how 12 months changes things, though.
On the 13th of October last year I woke up, stumbled into the bathroom and chucked my guts up. I went back to bed, assuming food poisoning, but within a few hours had a very faintly positive pregnancy test in my hand and my mum on the way with something a little more accurate. Karl came home for a change of clothes on the way to a prior work engagement, I told him, he swore, I cried. It wasn’t the best evening of my life… waiting for the one person I desperately needed to hug me more than any other to decide whether or not he could cope with what I’d just told him.
(Karl: I did indeed swear, but it was more down to the stress of racing home from work to eat, shave and shower, then dress smart and race right back in under 30 minutes due to an open evening. I was a tad shocked, very unprepared, and quite unsure of how I’d make a good father figure!)
I don’t think either of us were prepared for that day, but it was honestly a piece of cake compared to what followed. The couple of weeks after that I was in and out of the doctors being plied with various pills and vitamins to try and keep the morning sickness (later realised as hyperemesis gravidarum) at bay. I missed most days off work, and by Friday 31st of October I was quite badly dehydrated, hadn’t kept food down in around 48 hours, was throwing up blood, and had lost nearly 20kg in weight. I was taken into hospital, hooked up to a drip and had blood taken by the bucketload.
I was kept in overnight and promised a scan on the Saturday. By the time I was finally called for the scan, it had honestly felt like I’d been hanging around for months. My mouth was dry, I’d not eaten in over 3 days and although the drip was supposedly sorting my fluids out I couldn’t recall a time when I felt shittier. The scan revealed that I was actually pregnant with twins. Twins. That’s two potential babies sucking every last ounce of strength out of me. However, neither had a heartbeat. They’d stopped growing at about 8 weeks. I cried a little, although they were tears of relief. Relief only for myself, because I didn’t want to have to go through 9 months of what the previous 2-3 weeks had thrown at me. Selfish relief.
(Karl: We both did, to be fair. It’s still a bit of a point I ponder in my more introspective moments – Never saw them, but they did exist for a while. Odd feeling, and one I do tend to mark in my own way.)
They gave me options for how to proceed. I could wait for nature to take it’s course, take pills to help things along, or have a D&C. I opted for the D&C. I just wanted everything sorted, I wanted to be back to normal… seeing Karl without that worried look in his eyes
(Karl: worried I was. You didn’t see the state of Jem. Not a good time.), sitting on the Internet playing with my code, back at work with my colleagues, playing with my animals. Sunday came, 4 days without food, nil by mouth for the surgery. I remember chatting with the theatre nurse about twins running in the family. I remember the anaesthetist talking me through what was going to happen as I drifted to sleep, and then it was all over.
(Karl: During this time I was sat with my mother in the hospital canteen, talking about life and being very open about everything, including everything she went through with me in hospital all those times. It was quite a revealing time. Thank god for parents – I really felt at times like I was coming apart, so tired I couldn’t recall half the driving I was doing, and so on. I don’t think I’d have coped otherwise, especially not with getting the house ready for Jem’s return.)
I wasn’t actually going to write about this. Up until now, only a few very close friends and family had been made aware of what went on, the rest told of tummy bugs and viruses. Yet, as I get closer to my due date — 8 weeks to go — I can’t help but feel that not only did my experience have a massive impact on how I dealt with this pregnancy (which, as you may know, has not been without its own set of issues) but also made me realise that no amount of education, no amount of smart-alec Internet debates, no amount of thinking you know best can prepare you for what life is going to throw at you. Each step you take shapes your next, not what you think you know.