When I was younger I thought I'd grow up, meet someone, get married and have babies. Just like that.
And for the most part I did.
I met Rod when I was in my mid twenties, we settled down, got married and set about making plans to start a family. Being super organised we'd decided 3 was our number.
But I was soon to be taught that just because I am a woman, doesn't mean that I can go and have babies just because I want to.
Unfortunately my introduction to becoming a mum wasn't a joyful experience.
My first pregnancy, did not eventuate into the birth of my first child. And whilst it was a huge shock, an awful experience, there are many aspects of that pregnancy I am grateful for.
During the first trimester of my pregnancy I was sick, ridiculously sick. I was green, vomiting most days up to 10 times a day. The dream of having a baby was all that kept me going.
At 12 weeks I went on my merry way to have my first ultrasound, the hospital recommended an ultrasound at 18 weeks, however we'd decided we wanted one at 12 weeks and set upon having one privately at our own cost. Rod was at work, not overly fussed that he wouldn't be there. 'I'm happy to wait to see the real thing' he'd tell me.
But unfortunately that day was not a good one for me. As soon as I saw the puzzled look on the lady's face conducting my ultrasound I knew it wasn't good. My heart was racing but I held onto a little hope. Then she advised me she wanted to do an internal to have a really good look.
What she found, was that my baby had Anencephaly.
'anencephaly n: a defect in brain development resulting in small or missing brain hemispheres. A congenital absence of the brain and cranial vault, with the cerebral hemispheres completely missing or greatly reduced in size.' - [source]
In my words, the back of my babies skull had failed to form. It would continue to live to full term, if I let it, because it was surviving through me. But once the baby was born, they would not live. Without a brain (which would have leaked out the back of the skull) it would surely die.
I was encouraged in a (this is what you have to do tone) to terminate the pregnancy straight away. There was no point putting the strain of a full pregnancy on my body let alone the emotional aspects associated with this.
So, at approximately 13 weeks, after follow up scans, the pregnancy ended.
Believe me when I say I was absolutely guttered at the time, I remember having to call Rod from the doctors and my fingers were not able to press the buttons on the phone, I was shaking so much.
But the reality, if I put it into perspective, how grateful I am that I chose to have that ultrasound at 12 weeks. Had we not opted to have that ultrasound, I would have continued to carry that baby until half way through my pregnancy. The outcome of that would have resulted in a still birth. I can't even begin to imagine how someone goes through that.
We don't have to live with the knowledge of who that baby was, what sex they would have been, what name we might have given them. All of that would have been too much to bare.
In reflection I see it as a stepping stone, an experience we had to go through, we are all dealt challenges throughout our lives and this one was definitely a challenge for us. But whilst there is not always a light at the end of the tunnel for everyone, we are thankful there was for us.
We went onto have our first child 18 months later, and the joy that comes with that, will always outweigh the challenges we faced along the way.