Oh my Lord, another baby blog! Is there anything at all that ‘Baby, cradle and all…’ can possibly add to the genre that doesn’t already exist, probably in a better written and more informed form? Well, no, very likely not. But there are one or two things that are different about my experience as a first-time parent, that might be useful to some people. Firstly, I am old – nay, ancient – for a first-time mum. I am 44, nearly 45. Secondly, I thought I’d never have a baby, as I had a serious case of fibroids. For those of you that don’t know, a fibroid is a benign tumour that forms on the inside, outside or within the walls of, the uterus. They are very common, and can range in size from that of a pea to that of a grapefruit, but often are not a massive issue. Mine, however, were. For years, they had caused me excessive bleeding during my periods, extreme cramps, and almost hospitalisation levels of anaemia. I had also, despite trying, never been able to get pregnant. I had an operation to remove those on the inside of my uterus, but that had no effect on my ability to conceive. So I then had a huge operation to remove the rest – I was in theatre for four and a half hours, and six fibroids were removed, two of them the size of oranges. I was off work for six weeks, which led up to Christmas 2015, and things went back to normal in January.
Except they didn’t. Because in February – yes, that soon – I fell pregnant. My partner Saul and I couldn’t believe it. The operation had worked, and despite my age, I had managed to conceive. We were so happy.
Because so many things seemed stacked against us (my age and a lot of scar tissue, for example), I was very nervous to start with. But the pregnancy continued absolutely normally. I didn’t have any sickness to speak of, I didn’t have heartburn, and for the first two trimesters, I felt wonderful. The third trimester was harder. I’m only small, and my bump was huge. He was a heavy baby (8lb 3oz at birth), very wriggly – he still is – and he kept one foot under my ribs for weeks. I barely slept in the last two months, and in the final few weeks could barely walk either! But it was worth it all.
So why this blog? Well, maybe my story can give hope to others who are either ‘getting on a bit’ and feel they may never conceive, or who have fibroids and believe their condition will mean they can never have children. And along the way, I will share the (probably thousands of) mistakes I make as a first-time mother, and discuss the solutions that work and don’t. Because parenting is a minefield. From the very beginning, you have to make split moment decisions that might impact the rest of your and your child’s life, and there is so much advice, much of it contradictory, that sometimes it feels like you’ll never be able to wade through it all and come out the other side with something that works for you. Here, I can share what works for me on the off-chance it’ll work for you too. And on top of all that, babies are funny and cute and unique, and this is also a place to share some of the more ridiculous moments Fig and I experience.
Fig is now eight weeks old. We’ve struggled through large chunks of these first two months, but we’re both still here, and we feel like maybe…maybe… we’re getting there. For the moment, at least.