I never expected my life to turn out this way.
I got married at 24, to Mark – the most marvellous Welshman, with the most gorgeous smile. We had 3 glorious years together, and then found out we were expecting our 1st child. After an easy pregnancy Ethan Alexander was born on the evening of 17th March 2012. Rather than my planned water birth (after all, I’d actually been doing yoga when my waters broke – I was totally water birth material!), the 3 days preceding had seen induction, all of the drugs, forceps, an emergency c-section and a serious post-partum haemorrhage fixed under general anaesthetic. I nearly didn’t make it.
But we were besotted with our little boy. He was beyond gorgeous, and our little family bumbled along happily until July 2014. My beautiful Welshman had been feeling run-down lately, but had ignored my constant suggestions to visit the doctor. Finally he gave in. Unexpected anaemia led to a referral, many tests, a biopsy of a stomach ulcer, and the revelation, on the 1st of August, that he had Stage 4 stomach cancer, which was probably inoperable. A later oncology appointment, with a woman who had been late to class the day they taught bedside manner, gave us 18 months. In the end, after many complications, a round of chemo, and move to a hospice, he died on the 31st October that year.
I was left with a confused 2 and 1/2 year old boy.
A lot of the following 2 years are a blur. Not a lot of sleep, too much wine, a complete re-evaluation of everything I was and believed. But also incredible friends, wonderful family, and the often smiling face and insistent chubby hands of my little boy.
I have always been a practical person. Things need doing: so you have to do them. Life continues to move on and, while you never forget it and are forever changed by it, you cannot live in the past. Especially when you have a preschooler to think about.
Eventually some of my wonderful friends convinced me that I needed to do something for myself. And a wine-filled evening led to a dating profile. Rather unexpectedly, after 2 false starts, I ended up on a date in a local pub with a kind, thoughtful and hilarious man, and 6 weeks later we were completely in love.
Reader – I married him! Eventually, anyway. After he’d met Ethan, and my (somewhat intimidating) family, and my very protective friends, and become such a part of all of our lives that we couldn’t imagine it any other way.
We are a tight little unit, the 3 of us. We talk about Ethan’s Dad regularly, there are pictures of him all over the house, alongside pictures of Nick and Ethan together. Nick has now known Ethan for longer than his own father did – a weird and sad fact that pops into my head every now and again. And, as far as Nick is concerned, Ethan is his son. He has brought him up alongside me for the past 3 years. He has done the disciplining, and the getting up in the night to get glasses of water, and the making fancy dress costumes at short notice.
And now we are adding to that unit. Baby no.2 is on it’s way. Ethan is the most excited I have ever seen him, which is lovely. I am a little terrified. And doing all this for a 2nd time with a different husband feels a little weird. Obviously it’s fairly common, but the added complications of widowhood (extra in-laws, different surnames, etc.) mean there is always something new to think about.
So if you’ve got this far – congratulations! I’m hoping that this blog will chronicle all the ups, downs, complications, and cock-ups through pregnancy and beyond. I’d love for you to join us on the journey!