Nicola’s Story: Stand by your man
It can be hard to figure out how to involve your partner in your pregnancy, especially when it’s such an intimate experience for a woman: your changing body, your increasing connection with the fluttering butterfly in your womb, and taking extra good care of yourself because it’s the only way you can care for your unborn baby. Probably because of all this, you want it to be real for him, too. James was as involved as he could be, coming to every check up appointment (except ironically the one where I was hospitalised), cooking me foods that I could eat, laying in bed at night with his hand on my stomach. He’s definitely the unsung hero of my pregnancy. Today, Nicola writes an ode in prose to her man.
It’s my Husbands birthday and one of his presents is a 4D scan. I will write all about that in my next instalment, what the experience is like, is it worth it and include pictures. But it gave me the inspiration to write a little about how hard it is to include our partners in this experience before the baby is actually here.
Going through IVF (and all the other treatments), I was always concerned about how this was affecting my Husband. How I was putting him out. How it couldn’t be nice to deposit his ‘boys’ into a cup.
He never made me feel like this; I just don’t like putting other people out. I would attend all appointments I could on my own. Perhaps, in my head, I was thinking, “If this isn’t a chore for him, then he won’t mind trying again and again.” Not only that, I was quite happy turning up, reading the most recent OK magazine and then being in and out with no delays.
It got very difficult for me when I’d get my negative results. The disappointment on my Husband’s face was exactly what I was feeling, but it broke my heart that this hurt him, too. The miscarriage we went through was the worst. To see the excitement on someone’s face when you get your positive and then to see the new expression when you say “I’m bleeding” is indescribable.
Now, being pregnant, I try and involve him as much as possible, but, to be honest, I don’t need to. I can only speak for myself, so I don’t know if this is normal, but my Husband has been very attentive. So much so that I need to try and not get annoyed when he asks me to lie down, so he can talk to the baby or he asks me if I have drunk enough or he wants to go for a walk when I just want to sit down because ‘it’s good to keep fit’.
The trouble is I started feeling something I couldn’t share with him: the baby moving. I could feel little bubbles to start with and then more obvious kicks and all he could do is hear all about them. I could see he was desperate to feel them himself. The scans were the only thing that kept it real for him. It was here he could see that the baby was real, could see the movements, and would stare in amazement.
This quickly changed. One night I placed his hand on my belly and said to be patient. Then he felt it. He felt what I had been feeling for the last 3 weeks. He whipped is head around to look me in the eye, a big grin appeared on his face and he said, “Was that it?” I smiled back and said, “Yes, that’s your baby kicking.” He was over the moon and felt part of the pregnancy at last.
A few weeks later I was in the bath and looked down at my expanding belly. Suddenly, I not only felt the baby kick, but I saw it on the outside, too. I called my Husband who came running in. “Watch this,” I said to him. Thinking I was going mad, we stared at my belly for about two minutes and then it happened again. Just under my belly button my skin moved. I could feel it on the inside too and then it happened again, but for a bit longer, like the baby was rolling over and we just saw the whole body shift. I saw my Husband’s face light up.
He will often tell me little facts he has found out on the Internet and I always make the effort to look interested and I am interested. He will read out the new developments of the baby, like how big it should be now, what parts of it are now working and what will be happening the following week.
The week he found out the baby could now hear, my Husband has not missed a single night where he hasn’t spoken to it. The same time every night he has ‘Father and baby time’ and he will chat away telling it what we have done and how he can’t wait to meet it. When they have these little chats, the baby seems to respond with little reassuring kicks, which makes his day. The funniest was when the baby actually kicked him in the ear!
You hear people say that pregnancy brought them closer together and in a way this is true for us. There were no problems before and he is my best friend, but this is something we have made together and it’s a miracle. It’s made me realise I don’t know what I’d do without him and I appreciate having him so much.
He is now on a health kick, seriously looking after his diet and going to the gym regularly. I think he’s concerned the baby is going to run rings around him and he’s not going to be able to keep up. We went into our local city centre to have our eyes tested the other day and whilst walking towards the shops he asks me, “What is it they call Mothers who are very attractive to Men?” Scratching my bump head I say, “M.I.L.F?” praying this is not what he is thinking of. “THAT’S it! I am going to be the Male version of that when I’ve finished down the gym,” he replies. “Is that right, love?” I say indulgently, looking at him like he’s grown two heads, “So you are going to be ‘F.I.L.F?’” When that acronym left my mouth, it sounded like FILTH and he said, “Hmmm, maybe not.”
He really doesn’t think things through sometimes, but he makes me laugh with the things he comes out with, is very supportive in everything I do and still makes my heart melt when he walks into a room. He comes out with some bizarre questions, but that makes him more endearing to me. I can’t wait for him to hold his baby. Something we have made together, even if it wasn’t in the most traditional of ways.