Finding out you’re pregnant (or expecting as they say), is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life; but not for me.
19 years old, just finishing the first year of my 3 year course at university and only just managing to afford my summer plans before the next student loan comes in – and there I was in my boyfriends’ toilet reading two lines off a stick I’d spent the last 5 minutes trying to pee on.
I wish I could say I was over the moon to find out I was pregnant but, in all honesty, I was terrified. All I could think about was how my parents would react and what everyone would think, or whether I could carry on with my degree or not.
Does that make me a bad person? A bad mother even?
It’s been 10 days since I took the pregnancy test and that moment of finding out still terrifies me, (the most ironic part of the whole finding out was that I was able to tell my boyfriend that he was going to be a dad, on Fathers Day). Those two minutes it takes for even a single line to appear, feels like an hour and I found myself asking:
- How could I take care of another human when I could barely take care of myself sometimes?
- Would I be able to give this baby a good future if I couldn’t finish my degree?
- How would I afford prams, cots, nappies when I could only just afford to feed myself?
I believed that I had a decision to make, but the doctor I saw the next day seemed to talk a lot about abortion and how that would be the right option, but I doubted if it was, (this baby might not have been planned, but never unwanted).
The night I found out I had dinner with my family and all I wanted to do was ask for my mums’ advice, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d be disappointed or even find the words to tell her.
Not telling the people we cared about most in the world was probably one of the hardest parts; pretending things were normal and that I wasn’t beginning to grow another human inside my belly. It’s hard.
What I soon came to realize as well is, there is no right or wrong way to handle finding out you’re pregnant and every moment after that, but in the end, no one can make a decision about your future for you. You can get all the advice in the world but at the end of the day it’s down to you – and that, I think, is the loneliest and scariest feeling in the world.
The week that followed.
There’s that old cliché that your maternal instincts kick in when there’s a potentially dangerous or threatening situation – and that couldn’t be truer.
The Friday following Fathers Day, I ended up in hospital after I’d had pains in my stomach all day. I thought it was nothing, but I was terrified for the baby’s sake so I rang 111 and asked their advice.
At around 8:20pm, I was told to go to the nearest out of hours’ doctors for 9pm, so I told my boyfriend and he ordered us a taxi. We turned up to the wrong part of the hospital, and each minute that passed I was getting more and more scared.
It got to the point where we asked a nurse for directions and when she asked for my name I couldn’t breathe, let alone speak. I just burst into tears, panicking. I started worrying, thinking that something was seriously wrong and I was desperate for someone to help.
At exactly 10pm, with my boyfriend by my side holding my hand, the doctor said he was sending us to the hospital – he thought I was having an ectopic pregnancy.
Everything after those words was just a bunch of noise. I just remember feeling an ache in my chest and tears building up. I was heartbroken.
Skipping over all the details of the blood tests, urine samples and the long wait at the hospital, the pain had gotten worse. I remember sitting in a chair bent over in pain talking to my boyfriend, when all of a sudden my body tensed, it hurt to move, breathe and I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.
I clung to his arm, begging him not to leave me when he said he was going to get help. I didn’t want anyone else, I wanted him and everything to be okay. I wanted the pain to stop, I wanted our baby to be okay.
I felt guilty. Guilty for making my boyfriend spend 4 hours in a hospital. Guilty for ever doubting what future I could give to our baby. I didn’t want anything to happen to him/her, I just wanted to protect him/her.
My boyfriend returned with a nurse who took my blood pressure, and he leant across the table in front of me holding my hands, saying it was all going to be okay.
All night my boyfriend had reassured me everything was going to be okay, but as I clung to him, crying, I couldn’t help thinking the worst. Through my tears, I could see his face. I could see him crying too. Every part of me ached with guilt.
It was 2am when they decided to keep me in for the weekend and we couldn’t find out if our baby was okay until a scan they arranged for 9am the next day. Watching my partner leave when I needed him most (and when I wanted to be there for him) was just the icing on the cake, it broke my heart even more. Laying in the hospital bed I’d never felt more alone, I just wanted to roll over and feel his arms around me and not have a single care in the world, (I desperately wanted to know how he felt, what was going through his mind).
The reality is, I love him and I love this baby – our baby.
He was straight back to the hospital the second he woke up, but by then I’d already had the scan (they’d taken me down before 9am because I’d not slept all night and the sonographer was early).
We sat together in the family room, side by side, and I gave him an envelope.
6 weeks pregnant and a strong heartbeat doctors said, with a scan photo that almost looked blank.
That was the start of it all, the real start.
Finding out I was pregnant might not have been the happiest day of my life, but finding out that our baby was okay and we were going to be parents, that was the happiest day.