Today I'm feeling sad that my last pregnancy didn't go the way it should have done. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm lucky to have Hattie here well and healthy, a toddling almost-18 month old as adored and happy as the others were. But sometimes that doesn't stop me wishing things had been different for me and her. I'm feeling broody I guess.
She would always have been my last baby anyhow - but now we can't have any more, thanks to the devastating effects of the chemotherapy. And it was really tough when she was born. At 32 weeks she was whisked into Special Care - I barely had time to glance at her. After spending hours in recovery my bed was wheeled past her incubator and I could see her but not touch her. I couldn't breastfeed because I was starting chemotherapy immediately and the weeks after her birth while she was still in hospital and I was in and out are just a blur.
But we were so separate all the time. The other two had not left my side from the moment they were born. I breastfed them and did everything for them. But with Hattie it was very very different. Even after she came out of hospital, I was tired and sick and unable to be the mother I had wanted and expected to be. I was still in hospital for periods of time, and last October when I was in for 3 weeks, I barely saw her because I was so ill. I remember crying and hating everyone who had looked after her for me because they knew her and I felt as if I didn't.
All this was so hard but at the time I got through it pretty much one day at a time. I think it's now that I'm really mourning for my lost last months of pregnancy, for the birth I wasn't even able to attempt, for the feeding I wasn't able to do and for the presence for her I wasn't able to be. And I can't do it again. That hurts. That's a pretty brutal end to my fertility.
Amazingly really, considering we were so separate, I never had a moment's difficulty loving her. I adore her wholeheartedly - there have been times when I've questioned how connected she's been to me in the middle of those times, but I've never questioned my connection to her. We couldn't help being separated when we should have been together - but that doesn't soothe my sadness nevertheless.
What I am sure about though is that the implications of my diagnosis - not only what it was but also coming when it did - continue to have reverberations up to the present in all sorts of unexpected ways.
It was on the... 18th January, actually
23 hours ago