Sixth time around
Antonia is enjoying every moment ...
When you really want it, ‘pregnant’ is a thrilling result to receive. I am currently in the final trimester of my sixth pregnancy and while that should make it familiar territory, I have discovered that the more pregnancies I have the more anxious and uncertain I become. This time however, my instinct served me well. With this pregnancy I was pretty sure I was pregnant even before I took a test. Right from the beginning the hormones felt strong. But, as I am cautious and self-protective by nature, combined with the fact I had been disappointed before, I was reluctant to invest too much faith in my hunch. My husband had more confidence, yet he also took the confirmation of our result in his stride, as we both knew there were many stages to pass before our excitement could run free. After a fraught three months, marked by a series of blood tests, scans and finally the Nuchal Translucency test, I was at the 12-week mark. As each test passed my confidence grew, yet I tempered my excitement, and in many ways still do, probably because, unlike my first pregnancy, I know so much more and therefore I am very cognizant of the fragility of it all.
This knowledge and experience has also altered my attitude to pregnancy. I remember with my first three children, although I embraced sharing my body with them and feeling them grow, I also felt its burden. I focused on the discomfort, I felt awkward and restricted by my pregnant state and to some extent, while I loved the end result, I was looking forward to the whole, seemingly endless, process to be over. In contrast, I now savour every moment, and this is probably because I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be having another baby. I don’t dwell on any of the symptoms of pregnancy: the morning sickness that dogged the first 12 weeks was reassuring and as I enter the final stage I don’t resent the fatigue and discomfort that is a side-effect of our baby growing bigger. One thing that I have always loved is feeling the little pokes and prods inside my tummy and watching it as it rolls and moves about. There is something so surreal about knowing there is a tiny baby inside me, yet in reality it is one of the most natural and common things in the world. The sense of awe and appreciation I feel towards the whole experience grows stronger every time I go through it.
Each pregnancy has definitely been harder on my body ...
I have never taken the miracle of conception for granted. Therefore, I have always felt an overwhelming excitement and, almost disbelief, at the news. I enhance this by keeping the sex a mystery. Sixth-time round these feelings have not diminished. It is because pregnancy stimulates emotions in me like hope and happiness. It means the beginning of another journey for my husband and I and it is also a time for our whole family to bond and prepare for the changes a new baby will bring. Reactions from other people are positive too. They are genuinely happy at the prospect of our new addition.
From experience, I’m not fixating on a due date. I’ve gone to term and beyond for the first four; however, our toddler Nicholas was born five weeks early and although he stayed in intensive care for only three days, at the time it felt like an eternity. Fortunately, both he and I were able to leave hospital together, but the whole experience shocked me and has heightened my awareness of the need to take care of myself this time around. Each pregnancy has definitely been harder on my body, yet unlike a decade ago, I feel very comfortable with my changing shape.
Despite being pregnant in the hot, tropical climate of Singapore, in terms of comfort there are advantages; loose cotton dresses are my staple day in and day out. I am now at the stage where I turn my attention to ‘nesting’ and preparing all the practicalities for our baby’s arrival. Fortunately, in this area my experience and the closeness of the age gap between the baby and Nicholas means there is not too much to do. I’ve always said the happiest days of my life have been when my babies were born and I am so excited that I will have the chance to do it again.