When you know, you know
It all began in a way that was both unexpected and unforgettable. I found out that I was pregnant with Mila when I was just three weeks along. It wasn’t a moment I had been planning, nor was it a scene from a romantic movie. Instead, it was a subtle awakening to a new chapter of my life. I thought that due to my age (33 years old) it would take atleast 6 months of trying to fall pregnant.
I woke up one morning, and my tummy had a hint of a bloated look, in a way I had never looked bloated before. Accompanied by a peculiar change that is a total overshare, but the scent of my urine that morning was something sweet, different from a UTI or anything of the sort. Deep down, I knew it, I was pregnant. I rushed to share the news with my husband, who had recently moved to Klerksdorp. Though he suspected a simple urinary tract infection, I had an unshakeable intuition. I wanted to wait a few weeks before taking a test and told Dyl to stop calling our baby a UTI.
At five weeks I took not one but three pregnancy tests. The results were unanimous, and they spoke to the heart of my being. I tested with a pharmacy house brand test that resembled a blood test, a mid-range test, and a Clear Blue electronic test – all bearing the same joyous message: I was pregnant.
At this moment, I expected my first feeling to be unbridled elation. After all, I had wanted a baby so badly, I had prayed for this little miracle, and had even manifested it into existence. But, to be honest, my initial emotion was one of sheer panic. Fear gripped me, and I couldn’t help but cry. I hadn’t felt “ready” for this unexpected news. I had thought it would take longer to conceive. I had just gotten married two months earlier and was engrossed in planning our honeymoon. Furthermore, my husband had embarked on a 12-month work assignment in another province, and I had not mentally prepared for this new journey. I was terrified.
My new reality
After the tears subsided, I gathered my emotions and told myself, “Babes, you may not be ready, but you’ve got nine months to get ready.” With determination, I began planning and researching. Little did I know that no amount of planning could truly prepare me for the profound transformation that lay ahead. When a baby is born, a mother is also born. What you think, feel, and value undergoes a dramatic shift in an instant. There’s something primal and instinctive about this transition – the unwavering understanding that you would willingly protect and nurture this tiny life, even if it meant sacrificing your own.
The road to motherhood
My journey through pregnancy was anything but ordinary. Despite not experiencing severe complications or symptoms, it was far from easy. At an early stage, I was informed that I had a short cervix, which posed a risk to carrying my baby to term. Our options included inserting progesterone pills vaginally or anally to support the cervix. If my cervix continued to shorten, I might require a cervical cerclage procedure, where the cervix would be sewn closed to prevent early labor. Fortunately, the progesterone pills worked their magic, but they came with their own challenges, notably rapid weight gain and some discomfort.
At eight weeks, I received unexpected news – my baby had rare cysts on her brain. The doctor explained that they might resolve on their own within three weeks or persist, leading to a difficult decision. I grappled with an impossible choice – I loved this child more than life itself, but if she wasn’t going to be healthy, what was best for her? Thankfully, at 11 weeks, the cysts cleared up, and we were given the all-clear.
And then I had a threatened miscarriage at 11 weeks, read more about that post here I always knew that Mila was a girl, I could feel her energy from day One. However, she was never sitting in the right position and her gender was only confirmed when we were 5.5 months pregnant. EVERYONE who saw me told me I was having a boy, but I knew she was a girl.
A journey filled with twists and turns
But the journey was far from straightforward. My baby girl, Mila, was consistently in a breech position. She refused to turn, despite my hopes, and I had an anterior placenta, which acted as a shock absorber and reduced my perception of her kicks. I couldn’t see her move as much, and our 4D scans showed her face mostly covered by the placenta. However, I did catch a heartwarming glimpse of her licking the placenta one day on an ultrasound. To this day, Mila sleeps with her face pressed against her cot, pillow, or anything within reach, a habit I’m convinced she picked up during her time in the womb.
As the weeks progressed, we conducted stress tests with Mila starting at 32 weeks because she wasn’t growing as expected. At 35 weeks, I encountered an unexpected hurdle when we got stuck in an elevator at the hospital for over two hours. It was a trying experience, filled with moments of discomfort and reflection, but it ultimately strengthened my resolve and connection with my unborn child. I had just finished seeing my doctor and was on my way to do a stress test when the lift just bounced, the lights went off and I was stuck. I called reception, the lift company, everyone. The maintenance team came to help and couldn’t get the door open and then eventually the lift company came and got the door open.
I remember being so huge and not wanting to sit down because it was going to be difficult to get up again. I was also desperate for the loo and really thought about peeing in the corner a few times I won’t lie. Eventually, I did sit down and I used the time to talk to my child, to pray, and to think about our future together. this helped the time pass, just before the maintenance man opened the door I remember him asking if he could open the door, and at the time I thought it was a strange request, but then I thought hey, 5 mins ago I was thinking about urinating in the corner, so I’m sure this guy has seen things, which is why he asks now before he opens lol. Baby and I were all good, thank goodness. But I missed my stress test appointment and rescheduled for the next day
At 36 weeks, with my gynecologist on leave, I saw a colleague of his. I knew my doctor was worried about something as he was seeing me weekly, but he wasn’t letting on to what it was. I was nervous to see a new doctor but excited to see my baby on the scan – so we saw her and the first thing this new doctor said was “Bicycle seat head”. I was so shocked and confused and requested clarity, to which he explained that due to her breach position, her head wasn’t being formed by the shape of my pelvis, but rather by the shape of my ribs. He explained that she would be born with an elongated head, but that it would round within a few days after birth.
Alas, baby was fine, the next post talks about my birthing journey, which happened a week later….