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Flashback: February 2020

I remember waking up on the morning of 20th of February 2020 thinking that everything was perfectly normal and, as it was my 30th birthday pretty damn awesome!

Chloe and I were pregnant, I had presents to open and later that night we were going for a family meal to celebrate me officially getting old.

Me on the morning of my 30th birthday.

The day seemed to be zooming along in the blink of an eye but in and out of the usual excitement that surrounds birthdays I could tell that something wasn’t right with my wife.

If there is one thing to know about Chloe, it’s that she is hard as nails. That is not an understatement, the woman has the pain tolerance of a wild boar. I could have skewered her with a spear and she would still have charged down and killed Robert Baratheon.

It turns out that her pain tolerance was the only reason she made it to my birthday meal, most normal people would have been in hospital at least the day before, but she was determined to make it to my party.

To be completely honest I don’t remember much of the party after we arrived, everything happened rather quickly.

Chloe almost passed out on the way in to the venue and as we sat together in one of the side rooms her situation deteriorated very quickly, but being the amazing woman that she is she asked her mam to give her a lift home so she could rest and she asked me to stay and enjoy the party.

The problem being I couldn’t enjoy it without her.

Fast forward one hour and after blankly shovelling down my pizza, receiving my presents and then getting the phone call from Chloe’s mam that she had gotten worse, I was in the back of an ambulance being blue lighted to Durham Hospital.

Chloe getting some rest in the small periods that her pain meds were at their peak.

The next few hours were some of the worst I have ever experienced, there is no way to describe the feeling of complete helplessness I had while I watched the most important person in my life in constant agonising pain.

We waited hours, being moved from room to room until eventually Chloe was given a shot of morphine and wheeled into a private little cave at the end of the worlds longest corridor.

Watching her finally get some rest was bliss, the last time I stayed awake all night just staring at my wife was the first time we went to Amsterdam. Chloe had a nasty flu on the DFDS seaways voyage across the ocean and in her fevered state she asked me to stay awake and make sure she didn’t die. So I did.

I did the same thing again, only this time she hadn’t asked. She didn’t need to.

Me, alone in the cave. My phone was dwindling to around 10% at this point.

I stayed with her all through the next day, not that anyone could have stopped me. It was then that we learned that it was suspected pancreatitis and that she was so ill that she might not survive it.

I felt like my whole world was crumbling around me, people offered help where they could but I chose a different coping mechanism.

I slept on the couch for the first few days, the dog didn’t leave my side.

I was at the hospital every minute that I was allowed, the first few days were bad, Chloe couldn’t really talk and needed her pain meds constantly 24/7. Even that didn’t take away the pain. She was water only for ten days.

I can’t imaging being water only for ten minutes.

The house was eerily quiet, I tried to keep busy when I wasn’t at the hospital by keeping up with work. Stupid fucking idea. I couldn’t think about anything but Chloe so in the end I gave up even trying to keep up, they would survive just fine without me.

I had a takeaway pretty much every night, more out of laziness and feeling sorry for myself than anything else (sorry Jo).

You could be forgiven for forgetting that throughout all of this Chloe was indeed still pregnant with Arthur, for some reason I never had even the slightest fear that he wouldn’t be perfectly fine.

I know Chloe better than anyone on Earth and I knew that she would get better and that the little man would be fine, safe inside of her.

One of the 300 scan photos that the lovely sonographer in the hospital let us take away with us.

That was confirmed when Chloe was finally well enough to have a scan while she was still in hospital, little man was perfectly fine just as I knew he would be.

But he was quiet. In all of our other scans he had been wild, a little like he is now. I could tell that Chloe was disheartened but seeing that little heartbeat still flickering away. In that moment, it was enough to keep us going. The sonographer was very reassuring and all we could do was trust her.

Chloe was in hospital for a few days after the scan was taken, but she was in much better spirits once she had seen the scan and, as the pancreatitis had started to subside her pain was becoming far more manageable.

Once Chloe was allowed to eat again, the gourmet cooking began.

Before I knew it the day had come when I was awaiting the phone call that would announce Chloe could be collected, it came. I was at the ward within the blink of an eye and after a lot of waiting around, she finally got discharged.

I would like to say that as we walked to the corridor that led to freedom from the hospital there was a fanfare of trumpets and dancing. There wasn’t. Just me with my arm around my wife, and it was perfect.

Believe it or not, I have finally finished the tale of the last two weeks of February 2020. The worst two weeks of my life.

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Blogging Fatherhood Pregnancy Pregnant

The Best Christmas Present

Why is it that no matter how old you get, or how long you have been trying for a baby the thought of telling your parents you’re pregnant is terrifying.

Me and my wife, 2010, two months after we starting seeing each other.

Don’t get me wrong, the excitement that I felt from the second I found out right up until the second I finally got to tell everyone the news was massive.

But the whole thing was still so damn frightening.

We officially had our first scan photo, we were now sitting almost on top of the twelve week ‘safe zone’ and my wife and I were discussing how we would tell our families.

My mother in law was not included in this discussion as she found out about two weeks after we got home from Rome and was already suffering from the same secret keeping itch as we were.

The big question however, was how do you do it?

How do you announce to your family that they are going to be Grandparents and Aunties, Great Grandparents and Great everything else’s.

Should there by balloons? Should there by fireworks? Should there be dancers and a string quartet? Will I have to make a speech?

Oh god, there was going to be a speech.

My last attempt at a speech was at our wedding.

Things were going perfectly well, I followed my notes to the letter, then a moment of madness came over me and I thanked my parents for having me.

Me the second after realising what I just said in my wedding speech.

So, I would have to say a few words, keep it simple, wish everyone a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year tell them that next year would be even more exciting as there would be a new addition to the family.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Bowes aka Dad

Just like that all of the anxiety of the past few weeks faded away, curious faces turned to excited ones and there was a race to see who could hug us first.

My dad sat grinning in the corner and told me later that he just knew, the birds at the park had already told him.

We had baubles made for our parents with the scan photo inside of them and they received pride of place on both trees the second they got home. 

What followed this evening of anxiety and eventual triumph was one of the best Christmas times I have ever experienced, having more people to talk to about the pregnancy was a huge weight off our shoulders.

Between Christmas and New Year we called a few other people to give them the news, before we issued our ‘official’ announcement on Facebook on New Years Eve.

This seemed like the easiest thing in the world after telling our parents.

In the middle of all the Christmas madness we went for our official twelve week scan, it went well and we got our first photo of babies face (side profile) but were told that we were a little bit early (11+5) meaning for the sonographer to get the correct measurements we would have to come back a couple of weeks later.

We returned after another wait and received the next scan, at which point we finally got our official due date, 11th July. 

Hearing that we had an official due date was more exciting than I could have imagined, the whole thing was starting to feel very real, and while I thought this would terrify me it was in fact the complete opposite, I was more excited than I have ever been in my life.

This post brings us up to the current date, meaning all posts following will be chronicling our pregnancy as it happens.

Categories
Fatherhood Pregnancy

When in Rome

Photo by Willian West on Unsplash

Have patience with all things but first with yourself.

— Saint Frances de Sales.

There is something strangely ominous about sitting in a cracked leather chair staring down at a ten year old issue of Razzle with your pants around your ankles and a sample bottle grasped tightly in one clammy hand.

And that is not even where my story starts.

My wife and I had been trying to get pregnant for almost a year, tests like the one above had taken place and results had all returned perfectly fine, yet the struggle continued.

Ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, colossal excitement followed by disappointment and heartache every time that little strip said, “not this month.”

As funny as it may sound, it was the one month that we truly switched off a little that our luck finally changed.

We were due to travel to Rome for our second wedding anniversary at the start of November, a couple of weeks prior to this my wife took a random ovulation test after some light cramping, positive. No point in wasting an opportunity.

Fast forward those two weeks, we land in Rome and after a rather eventful few days we reach the morning of our second wedding anniversary.

“Today is the day that I can take a test.” My wife smiled up at me from the bed.

She took the test, and I was given the highly complicated and massively important task of checking the strip, a task at which I failed miserably.

Courtesy of Air BnB

I wandered back into the bedroom of the old Italian apartment we were staying in and told her that the stick said negative. She had expected this, and although disappointed she took the news well, she then asked if she could see the stick and her face turned to shock then beaming excitement, in the dim lighting of the Italian bathroom I had missed the positive line.

Oh, that’s a risky little game.

— Rachel Green.

We had a positive test!

And we were in another country.

With no pregnancy vitamins.

The finest Italian pregnancy vitamins

Cut to me in an Italian pharmacy, trying to explain in true Bridget Jones fashion that my wife is pregnant and that I need folic acid.

I left with a box of Natelben Piu and our pregnancy journey truly began.

The next few weeks dragged along in a strange almost ethereal blur.

We had a private scan booked for ten weeks, the wait for twelve just seemed too much, but so far things were progressing as normal, the morning sickness had reared its ugly head though the term ‘always sickness’ would probably be more appropriate.

As the scan loomed closer, time moved even slower and our anxiety reached an all time high, I am not a particularly anxious person so this feeling was new to me, and I was not a fan.

The day of the private scan arrived, and as we sat in the waiting area my wife’s hands were shaking as she tried to complete the paperwork.

Suddenly, we were there, the scan woman introduced herself, my wife lay upon the bed and the final wait began.

We stared up at a blank screen for what seemed like an eternity, when finally the big screen was turned on and we could see it for the first time.

Our baby was perfect and the little flickering heartbeat confirmed that everything was progressing as it should, it felt like a giant weight had been lifted off of our shoulders and we couldn’t stop smiling.

The first ten weeks of our pregnancy had already felt like an adventure and I can’t wait for all of the adventures still to come.

This first post brings us up to just before Christmas, meaning my next post will bring us right up to my wife’s current date which is at the moment of writing thirteen weeks.