THE FIRST THREE MONTHS OF THE REST OF MY LIFE
Updated: Jan 28
My baby is now 3 months old... 3 months since I gave life to a new human being. 3 months that we are trying hard with the Chef, sometimes awkwardly and unconfidently, to satisfy our daughter's primary needs and to keep her happy. 3 months that she makes us feel incredibly happy to know that we actually did it! But this story began a lot earlier, some 10 months ago...
3 + 9 = 10
Those of you who like to count, will be extremely surprised now because... wait a minute... 3 months of life + 9 months of pregnancy... where are the other 2 months? Well done you, but in life things happen unexpectedly, which is why I fell pregnant without willingly trying and had no clue for the first month. I rewind back and find myself without a job (I had just been asked to leave the - much hated - office at the end of the working day and not to come back) and with a determination to start a healthy new life, meaning without contraception pills... Having read a lot of literature on the internet about this subject, I am convinced that it takes a few months for your body to start producing the same hormones all by itself. Surprise surprise, it takes me about just 10 days! But as I said, I had no idea and was all into our planned vacation to Brazil (see my article "Brazil My Dream"). Once there, I become a bit paranoid about my periods being late, but the pregnancy test's one stripe reassures me and I continue happily drinking caipirinhas alternating them with beers. When I arrive back to Paris, I go to see the gynecologist for a planned normal check and he tries to calm me down, saying that without a pill, your body might need up to six months to get back to a normal cycle. I am not that easy to convince though and insist he does a check, which is how I finally get to know I am actually pregnant.
Okay, so that's where I "lost" one month from the classical calculation, but where did another month disappear? No, it's not that I did not realize again that I was pregnant during the last month of pregnancy (believe me, when you feel like a whale, it's hard to forget it), but this last four weeks just never happened as I gave birth at 8 months of pregnancy. Our little shrimp Anna was born exactly one month before the due date, on the 2nd of August, as a result of a pregnancy complication called Cholestasis, a liver disease only happening in pregnancy. This disease, while it provokes severe itching to the mother, is harmless for her, but can be dangerous for the baby, which is why in most Cholestasis cases, the labour is induced before the due date. Before then, the mother and the fetus are closely monitored.
How a Parisienne became a Grenebloise...
I had always wanted my little one to be what I could only feel like - a real Parisian, born in the capital of France. Moreover, I preferred to come back home after giving birth and not to my parents-in-law' place, even though I feel very much welcome there. Thus, even though my mother-in-law proposed numerous times to come give birth in Grenoble, in the maternity clinic where she worked, I always politely declined her offer. I still hoped when we were leaving for our planned vacation despite the risks that I would have time to go back to Paris before my little one is born. I hoped but was ready - mentally and physically as I came to Grenoble with my hospital bag - to give birth at any moment and in any place. To be honest, by the time I left Paris I was ready to go anywhere just to escape from the hell I was living in. I was imprisoned in my apartment, sick of the heat wave, back pain, horrible itching, constant trips to the toilet and lack of communication and activity - in order to keep the baby in as long as possible, I had to stay quiet, very quiet... Not that leaving Paris would suddenly solve all these problems, but I hoped at least to be outside the city and enjoy the calm of the mountains.
To make the situation even more complicated, my mother came to Grenoble at the same time for what was supposed to be a week with her pregnant daughter, followed by another one in Paris. Although my mother doesn't say a word in English or French, I sold her this project by saying we would hardly even spend time at my in-laws' as we would be traveling around Grenoble to different cities. It turned out however that any bump on the road was provoking contractions in me so we stayed quite waiting for the big day to come. Add to this the constant anxiety about my baby and you will get the emotional cocktail I was in.
So I was monitored every second day and my analyses started getting much better than they were back in Paris. Everyone was positive that on Saturday we would go back to Paris, as planned. And we were looking forward to it by then, because as nice as it was to be well taken care of in the lap of nature, the fact that my mother was socially and linguistically speaking handicapped was starting to be heavy for everyone around and especially for her.
On Wednesday though the results suddenly went down again - a bad development that did not leave me much choice - I had to come to the clinic the next day in the morning to get monitored throughout the day with a high chance to get induced. I remember I got the news while swimming in a beautiful swimming pool. And exactly at that moment I felt a bit of a stomach pain. I did not know what was the cause of it - intestins or contractions - but just in case I asked the Chef what the date was. It was August the 1st, so I told myself that he baby would be born on the second of August in Grenoble. And this is exactly what happened...