I went to hospital. I'd had to call an ambulance for myself for the first time. Bleeding like a stuck pig, though in no pain, and 18 weeks 2 days' pregnant. FUCK. TERRIFIED.
Cell memory is crazy. I remembered this looming 'anniversary' 2 days ago, but then forgot it in the real-life maelstrom. Current stuff crowding it out, as it does. As we like.
Then tonight 2 things happened, one a super-poignant bereavement reminder, the other a nub of pissiness.
And my nerves and emotions leapt into overdrive and headed back there. Into the blaring ambulance. Scanned, probed, blood taken, cannula in. Onto that hospital bed. Me eating my shitty cheese sandwich and banana in a box. Alone at 11.40pm, scared & crying. Pulling myself together as fast as possible, searching for a calmness, and having a quiet chat to my son so miniature inside me. I stroked and soothed him, and told him that it was going to be all right. And I fucking meant it. No more crying from then on as that would just stress us both out. And help neither of us to win this fucking thing.
I would research just enough. I learned 50% of pregnancies which experience bleeding before 20 weeks miscarry or are still born prematurely. Fuck that. I always beat 50/50.
Once it was established that I had bleeding but no other issues, it became a wait and see game. I asked for the potential outcomes, now at 22 weeks, right at the very cusp of premature baby survival, but with high chances of severe disability. I learned that every week counted. The trigger for birth, which was expected to be spontaneous and rapid, was thought likely to be the blood just bursting the sac.
Horrible, constant, confrontational bleeding. Unpleasant all on its own without its shocking life and death connotations. A vivid, hourly reminder, too, of our battle.
All carried on until 25 weeks 4 days. The 'bleeding' was particularly awful that night. Went for my now-weekly full scan and explained that I felt very tight and like I had a belt stuck to me if dressed. Long professional faces warned me. No water. Fuck.
2 doses of steroids in me, a day apart and a plea to go in to hospital, but I held out. This was our adventure, my boy and me, and we were better at home for now.
A day later, now at 26+2 I had a temperature and pain 5 mins apart so ate nothing and had a sleep. Later we went to hospital in a cab. Arrived 6.15pm and 2 hours late my kitten-small son was born naturally. The obstetricians and anaesthetists audibly gasped. Yeah, that tiny.
I couldn't touch him. He was instantly grabbed by the head of a team of 3 standing next to the bed with a tiny table and miniscule instruments and paraphernalia. And I just said 'Hi baby! Mummy's here. Everything's going to be fine.' Really calm, like no-one else was there.
I couldn't kiss him for 2 days, or hold him for 9, but I was there loads, talking to him through the little hole of his very humid-initially incubator. Telling him how cool he was. How wonderful. My soothing mantra was 'Just breathe and grow. Mummy loves you. Breathe and grow,' Very gently and slowly as my hand stroked and covered his whole head, or my one finger supported his 2 inch-wide stomach.
10 weeks 2 days later. Still weighing less than 4 lbs he came home with no drugs or oxygen. Just home. Wow. Exhale.
My miracle. My baby who defied all the odds, who sat proudly and unashamedly on the right of that bell curve. Who was so advanced for his foetal age I was asked 3 times about my dates. Who to this day causes medical tears when he visits the ward he was first on.
WELL DONE, YOU.
And what a fucking ride.