This post deals with pregnancy loss and might be triggering for some readers.
'Is it your first?' Four little words make up this innocent, and natural question. I must have been asked this question at least once a day during my pregnancy.
I thought that once my child was born I wouldn’t have to answer it anymore, but it has simply evolved into: 'Is HE your first?'
This way of making small talk is well intended – to show interest in your growing belly or baby. But every time I hear it, it makes my heart race as I weigh up what to say. Do I smile and nod, or do I tell the truth?
I have a beautiful one-year-old boy but my journey with motherhood began before my beautiful boy was born. Because the fact is, this was not my first pregnancy, and he is not my first child. I have one child but I am a mother-of-two.
Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues below.
When my partner and I decided to try for a baby, we did all the usual things. We took supplements, we tracked ovulation, and one day in January 2019, we were absolutely delighted to see those two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test.
We were excited, but we knew the facts – one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage, so we held our breath and remained quietly and cautiously optimistic. We went for the scans, and we did the genetic tests that were recommended for 'older' mums (I was 38!). And once we got to the momentous 12-week milestone, we breathed a sigh of relief and announced our pregnancy.
As our pregnancy progressed we continued with all the normal stuff – scans, midwife checks, baby name lists, photographing my growing belly, and downloading the apps that compare your baby to various fruit and vegetables.
But on May 13, 2019, at just shy of 20 weeks pregnant, our world changed forever.
The day after Mother’s Day, I was in a work meeting when I didn’t feel quite right. It felt like I was experiencing period pain. There was a dull ache in my tummy and heaviness. I called my midwife, who told me to come into the hospital. She examined me and reassured me that our baby had a strong heartbeat.