Five years of trying for a baby, two years of IVF, one year after the loss of our little boy, here we are with our dream in our arms. A dream, a picture postcard, something we thought would never happen. I had thought whilst still pregnant, about the expectations such a journey could build and how reality might greet those expectations once baby arrived.
Oskar’s arrival wasn’t without incidence- he had fluid on the lungs when he was born which meant he was taken straight to special care. I didn’t get to see him at all when he was born, I only heard his little cry and then my wife went with him. I then developed high blood pressure and was unable to visit him. The first I saw of him was a photo she took and the first time I saw him, touched him and held him was 10 hours later.
When we got home from hospital, we had this tiny two day old baby to care for, which we had longed for, the expectation of cute cuddles was met with the reality of fearful fretting over feeding, room temperature and being able to settle him. The night sweats, milk coming in and raging hormones left me elated, sad, frightened and tearful all at once.
I don’t feel like me at all and I’m told it will be a while before I do again. This definitely doesn’t match my expectation of getting out with baby, using cloth nappies, doing all the housework and feeling attractive again! So far I’ve put one load of washing on, he’s in disposable nappies and I haven’t washed my hair for two days! As for leaving the house, I find it terrifying. Then there is our role as new parents after the years of trying, IVF and loss.
It is what I call the untethered boat, drifting over unknown seas, rocked by surging emotions. The pool of loss that remains in my heart from Robyn, doesn’t evaporate with the birth of a new baby. It has been a stark lesson in grief, that it never goes away, instead it becomes part of who I am rather than an event that needs to be worked through. Where do we belong? Where do you anchor your boat when you have been trying and failing to get pregnant for five years, when you are pregnant but lose your baby, when you achieve a pregnancy and a beautiful baby, where do you place your baggage?
I hadn’t expected to bring so much baggage with me. My expectation was that my baggage would be checked out once that baby was placed in my arms. And some of it was, don’t get me wrong there was some healing. I just hadn’t planned for the reality of setting sail in an untethered boat. I guess it’s one wave at a time.