It’s May – baby month!

When we first began telling friends that we were pregnant for the second time, a lot of people, aware of our history, said we must have “mixed feelings.” At the time, we thought, but didn’t always say, actually no – there’s just one feeling, and it’s complete terror. We were so aware of the fragility of pregnancy, the potential for loss at any time, and so early on, it felt risky to feel anything other than detachment and fear.

In these final weeks, however, mixed feelings is exactly right.

Issy's 35-week bump - Maternity Leave and Mixed Feelings

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

Now, when I see people at work or church, they say to me, you must be so excited! Nearly time! Can’t wait to meet him! And they’re almost right. There is excitement now. The past few days I’ve been thinking to myself, we might actually have a living baby home with us in just over two weeks. It feels surreal and amazing, and I can’t wait. But the nagging fear won’t let go completely; we’re still waiting to see if he’ll be born alive. I flit between the two a dozen times a day.

We continue to make baby steps towards preparing for delivery. I’ve made a list of what’s going in the hospital bag. I’ve pulled out some baby clothes, ready to be washed and packed. Plus a cheeky H&M order for some extra bits… The thought of bringing home a living baby is equally thrilling and terrifying. We’ve been so focused on reaching the birth with everyone still healthy that I feel totally unprepared to actually look after a newborn. I’m hoping we can pick it up as we go?!

I saw a different midwife to usual this week. I’ve been lucky enough to see the same community midwife for my checkups throughout this pregnancy and the previous one, but this week she was unavailable and sent a colleague instead. I was nervous about meeting someone new, but she was lovely. She knew Dottie’s name and asked to see a photo of her. She took the time to ask how I was feeling and understood the fear and anxiety completely. Health-wise, baby and I are doing fine (although one of us is still quite uncomfortable and achy!), and we’ve got one final growth scan coming up this week.

A significant update from this week is that I’m now on maternity leave!

I finished on Friday with a gentle send-off consisting of a card, a bunch of flowers, and the promise to keep in touch (and to return next year!). My boss is aware of our history, so they opted for a low-key approach rather than presenting me with a bundle of nappies and muslins, which I appreciated. Even so, the well-meant instructions to enjoy maternity leave and “send us lots of photos” sting slightly when my last maternity leave was empty and anything but enjoyable.

Card and flowers for Issy from her work before she went on maternity leave

Author’s Personal Collection/Issy Jorden

I’m relieved to have finished work. Reaching maternity leave also feels like a significant milestone, as last year, I was still working when we found out we’d lost Dottie, so I technically missed my last week and any chance for a goodbye. I remember writing an email to my boss in a daze, saying I won’t be coming in tomorrow, we’ve lost the baby. But this is a different pregnancy, a different situation. And I’m excited to spend the next two weeks sleeping as much as possible!

So, a lot of mixed feelings this week. But there are increasingly positive ones mixed in as well, which I’m grateful for. Here’s to the next two weeks going as quickly as possible!

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