Well, that phrase can really sum up not only my pregnancy, but my birth and bringing baby home…
I am sure most can relate in their own way but for me – I truly didn’t expect that.
First and foremost, I didn’t expect to be pregnant. I actually argued with my Dr, that his new fangled medical testing was a world of lies, lies I tell you!
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t happy to be pregnant, but after being told many, many years ago that it would be highly unlikely event for me – I had never pinned my hopes on anything, I had pretty much gone about my life and accepted it, for nearly ten years. This new fangled medical testing, a simple urine test, was backed up with a blood test, which I am sure my Dr rang me with a gleeful ‘told you so’ grin. So that was it – I was pregnant, now to convince my husband I was pulling his leg! He certainly wasn’t expecting that!
Coming from someone who had never expected to be pregnant, I was not one who knew a lot about the whole process… only what one had gleaned from the various friend and family conversations and of course, the magic that is Hollywood! I decided, I needed a bit of guidance in this matter – someone needed to know what they were doing after all!
I trotted along to My Midwives, where I am sure, after my first meeting, the midwife may have felt she drew the short straw that day. What I didn’t expect from that meeting… I didn’t expect to be as emotional as I had been. I am a fairly laid back personality – I like to think I am anyway. I was close to the twelve week mark when I had spoken to the midwife, still feeling a bit surreal, but it was like it sunk in, this was happening and how awesome was it! I left feeling, trepidations about the unknown ahead for me but more feeling comforted that someone got it, got me and told me what I needed to hear, not just what I wanted to hear.
I didn’t expect to have a great pregnancy. That may sound odd to some, but as I said, I didn’t really know much about it, only that sometimes, for some women, it can be an awful experience. I felt great, I wasn’t sick, I had energy and was feeling generally well.
It was Friday afternoon, I was now on fortnightly catch ups, I was 29 weeks, I had just booked for my husband and I to attend birth prep classes for the following weekend.
I was feeling a little off on the Friday night, I wasn’t in pain, I was just a bit uncomfortable – this progressed throughout the night, with what I thought were cramps, getting worse. I called our midwife at around 8am on the Saturday, to let her know I was having bad cramps, she suggested to come up to the birthing suite as she was already there for another lady, who was having a baby, and she could check me out. I got in the shower, got ready, all the while, the cramps were getting worse – I think in my heart I knew I was having contractions, but at that point, my head had taken over and told me ‘not to be so stupid and its far too early for that.’
I didn’t expect to have my baby an hour later, 11 weeks early. I didn’t expect everything to be so quick, I didn’t expect to not see or hold my son when he was born. I didn’t expect to see someone so tiny, hooked up to machines waiting to be transported down to Brisbane, I didn’t expect to be driving down to Brisbane with my husband only hours after giving birth to see our son, most of all, I didn’t expect leaving the hospital without him.
I hadn’t really cried, up until the point where I went to speak to the receptionist to inquire what floor the NICU was on, only to dissolve into a blubbering, incomprehensible question in which my husband, put his arm around me and told me that he had better ask the question.
I didn’t expect what the world of NICU was. It was actually quite calm. All of the medical team running like a well oiled machine, moving effortlessly between one monitor to the next, all with grace and encouraging and supportive smiles and nods. Being guided to our son’s isolette, right at the end of the room, next to the window – felt like an eternity to walk to, seeing other babies, tinier than you ever thought possible along the way.
I didn’t expect to have NICU lingo become part of my every day conversation. Looking at monitors constantly, distinguishing between alarms for apnea and bradycardia. Watching him being fed by a tube. Being part of clinical conversations with his medical team about his oxygen levels and his CPAP. Willing that little body on, only being able to connect with him though a tiny little window.
I didn’t expect the wave of emotion that came over me the first time I got to hold him. I held my son, three days after he was born. With tubes and cords still attached, that moment, although short, was one of the most special moments in my life.
I would take breaks, have a coffee and look at all of the smiling mums and dads taking their babies out of the maternity ward and putting their precious cargo in cars and driving away, wondering when that day might happen for us and smiling at all of them as they beamed down at their little one. Then off I would go, back up to the NICU and beam at my little fighter.
After hundreds of kilometers, after many hours spent sitting beside an isolette, after nights of tears and worry, after two operations on a tiny body, and after ten weeks, my husband and I got to be those parents that walk their baby out, beaming down and placing them in the car, set for our next adventure.
I didn’t expect that our son would be such a happy baby. With all that he went through, he was calm and laid back and with a sense that he had always been there. It felt so awesomely normal and right.
I didn’t expect to be a mother who has a million photos on her phone, proudly showing how much he has progressed whenever people inquired. So enamoured with him, and dreading being apart from him. I am so eternally grateful for my family and friends, to Bec and the My Midwives team and to the NICU staff. Most importantly, although I didn’t expect it, I am so thankful to be his mum.