Luca's story - February and March
Updated: Aug 17, 2018
This post is best read while listening to 'She's a rainbow' by The Rolling Stones.
It was a very bizarre night, the one between Friday 16th and Saturday 17th February. I kept having this dream: I was in bed, at home (my real home), and I woke up to take a pregnancy test. It was positive. In reality, I woke up at least three time to go for a wee, and each time I came back to bed I fell asleep and had the same dream all over again. In each dream, the line on the test got darker and darker - I was definitely pregnant.
I rose early on Saturday morning - just before 8. I had been dreaming about taking a pregnancy test so many times in the previous hours, that what I did next simply felt like the repetition of the same dreamlike scenario: I walked quietly to the bathroom, careful not to wake up Daniel, and took a pregnancy test. My period was not meant to arrive for another three days or so, but somehow, I knew. While the line on the test was not as strong as in my dreams, it was definitely there - I could see it pretty well. I felt my chest exploding while I ran back to the bedroom to show the stick to Daniel. Still half asleep, he smiled and agreed: it definitely looked like a positive pregnancy test.
To make sure, I got dressed hastily and rushed to Boots to buy a digital test. On the way back, I decided to stop at my favourite cafe to grab croissants, smiling like a lunatic at every person I saw. I sensed it in every inch of my body, I was permeated with a primal excitement that felt almost electric - I didn't need to take another test, really, I simply knew. I knew that I was pregnant. At home, while Daniel made tea, I peed on a stick and began to wait patiently. Less than a couple of minutes later, the confirmation of all my feelings and dreams appeared in the words: 'Pregnant 2-3 weeks'.
It had been just over six months since my miscarriage - six of the most isolating, excruciating, terrifying months of my life. But now, we were given another chance. Oh, did we deserve it! I couldn't help but bursting into tears and sinking into Daniel's protective arms. He'll make a bloody great father. And me? I thought, for the first time, that I could do pretty well, too.
In the next few weeks, while I tried to get the hang of morning (or better, evening) sickness and extreme tiredness, I also plunged back into my usual anxiety. This time, it revolved entirely around my baby. Are they OK? Is their heartbeat strong? Are they growing properly? I decided to take a series of HcG tests, in a private clinic near Harley Street. It quickly became a strange but pleasant routine: Daniel and I would get up early in the morning, jump on a packed Victoria Line train, and walk in the early March snow, hand in hand, nervous but smiling, trying to convince each other that all would go well this time. My test results were great: my hormone levels continued to rise nicely and steadily, and I felt I could start trusting my body again. "I can do this, I will do this" - I kept whispering to myself. I looked after myself very well: I completely banned caffeine and alcohol as well as potentially risky foods. I took a break from heavy house chores and started easing off my Pilates sessions. I was in great physical shape - even though this was hard to admit for an ex anorexic like me - and felt mentally grounded. What could go wrong?
Nothing went wrong. In fact, quite the opposite - on 15th March, we were booked in for an early scan at the Whittington, mostly to give us reassurance after last year's miscarriage. The morning of the scan, I was quite understandably a nervous wreck. Sky-high waves of anxiety hit me when the midwife walked me to the same scan room as last August - I took this as a bad omen. I was ready for the worst, ready to hear those same words again, ready for a silent room and the announcement of a dead baby. I cried so hard that Daniel had to do all the talking, while I was very slowly getting undressed and ready for my examination. I couldn't stop crying - in fact, I cried even harder - when the midwife asked us if we wanted to see the baby, and proceeded to flip the screen towards us while at the same time letting us hear their heart beating incredibly fast. I couldn't possibly believe that this baby was alive, that their minuscule heart sounded like a drum machine, and that they were even moving - tiny, indefinite jiggles that had me completely in awe and in love.
What could go wrong, now that we had our heartbeat?