I didn't want to tell people I was pregnant with Oli, I had a feeling I was going to lose the baby. Having been exposed to a number of tragedies in my nursing background my mind always shot to worst case scenario. It was a combination of those experiences accompanied by something a little deeper. A gut instinct that was holding me back from being completely excited. I put it down to being a first time mum and the fact that no one really knows what having a baby is going to be like until it actually happens.
Well it turns out perhaps my instincts were protecting me. The cystic fibrosis diagnosis of my unborn babe hit me like a tonne of bricks. Suddenly I was plunged into a pool I didn't want be in. I was invited to a party that nobody wants to attend. A club that has a life long membership with NO opt out plan! Those two little words that I had used many a time in my nursing life were now in my personal life. Nurse Elli can deal with that, I can deal with horrific stories and experiences when I'm in my scrubs. When I pull them off and get in the shower I can cry and wash all of those horrible feelings away. I put on my clothes and switch back to home mode. When CF came into my life as a mother, there was no washing that away. It became my intrinsically weaved into every facet of my life. It impacted my marriage, my relationship with my family, my siblings, my parents, my friends, my colleagues, even strangers! For a long time it was the elephant in the room. But there was a catch. We were dealing with a diagnosis with no baby, I was still only 28 weeks pregnant. Cue the anxiety!
Before I even met Oli he had a label. I don't know whether that's harder to deal with than giving birth to a perfect baby and then getting a diagnosis - I'm not sure. What I do know is that suddenly this baby who was safe and protected deep in my womb suddenly became public property. I felt as if he was now the hospitals property. I know that may sound odd for some to comprehend but that's the only way I can describe it. In my belly he was mine but the moment he was born I handed him over to the professionals who specialized in 'him' They knew my baby better than I knew him. That really hurt.
Being a first time mum and a 'cf mum' as I like to refer to myself was a whirlwind roller coaster ride. Being in hospital I felt as if I handed over my badge and I suddenly became the emotionally unstable mum who I once felt sorry for. After giving birth we are the most vulnerable yet primal of our entire lives. At the end of the day we are animals and we do anything to protect our young. But I couldn't protect Oli, the situation was completely out of my hands. I was dealing with the diagnosis, a premature birth, major surgery, separation and THEN when all of that eventually settled...the diagnosis still remained! I wanted to just leave it at the hospital with the box of gifts kindly delivered by CFWA. No thanks, you can stay here. I'm finally taking my little baby home now...but unfortunately life doesn't work like that. As much as I would like to ignore, not mention or hide the fact Oli has CF I can't. It would only end in more pain and suffering. I much prefer to say hey yes, Ol has cf but right now, and hopefully for a long time into the future that doesn't rule our lives.