That’s our first ever “family” photo taken on Melbourne Cup Day 2000. Eric had been born on the Friday before. Today is his ninth birthday which makes us parents for nine years.
Nine years since we did everything in our power to fall pregnant and stay pregnant. I was diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries in 1998 and at times in the ensuing months it seemed as if our dreams of parent hood would never come true. We had seven cycles of IUIs (inter-uterine inseminations) and by December of 1999 we were pregnant but sadly not for very long. We went back in early 2000 to try again thinking that we’d be in for another series of failed attempts but it seems our wonderful dr had got the “mix” of drugs correct and we fell pregnant with Eric.
Everything went swimmingly with the pregancy until 24 weeks. I had no morning sickness but I took a long time to realise that this could indeed mean our dreams were coming true. I remember one Saturday afternoon while dh was playing Bowls I drove to Spotlight to look for baby curtains and when I got to the roundabout at Indooroopilly I turned around and came back home again without even going into the shop. In fact before 24 weeks I’d bought about six singlets and we’d decided on a theme for the baby’s room – Bananas in Pyjamas.
Then on a Monday morning in August I awoke to bleeding and as I drove to the dr’s office the cramping beagn. I had an “irritable uterus” and it stayed cranky for the next 10 weeks. Dh took me from the dr’s to hospital that morning where I was confined to bed, allowed up to use the toilet or have a shower and that was it. If I left the confines of my room I had to go by wheelchair. After three weeks I was allowed home but I think I only lasted there for one night. The Sydney Olympics were on. I watched the swimming finals. I got all excited. I started having contractions again. Back to hospital. Do not pass go.
So there I stayed for the next 7 weeks with contractions every 2-3 days until finally when I reached 34 weeks the dr decided to deliver Eric via c-section. It was about 6:00pm at night and no cameras were allowed. I remember asking “what is it? what is it?” and the dr saying “it’s a baby!”. We never found out the sex of the baby until he was born. The dr got him out and promptly dumped him on my face and I was left with no uncertainty as to whether we had a boy or girl! He weighed in at 5lb 3oz which was a very good weight for 34 weeks. All the weeks of ventolin, steroid injections and bed rest had paid off. He was soon whisked away to the SCN and a humidi crib where he had oxygen till midnight. After a couple of nights in the humidi crib he graduated to a plastic cot and from Special Care 1 to Special Care 2 where he would spend the first 4 weeks of his life – floppy and tired and not interested in feeding.
His name was decided when we were engaged and Anthony’s Uncle Eric passed away. We sat having dinner one night and somehow decided that Eric James (the James for my Dad Jim) would be a great name for a baby boy. Even though I had a scan every week that I was in hospital we never found out the gender. The scan people used to see us coming in the end and say “we know, you’re the people who don’t want to know whether it’s a boy or girl – you just want to know if it is alright.” The girl’s name was still being discussed on the day Eric was delivered so we know he was “meant to be”.
I got sent home on day 7 and while it was wonderful to go home it was also one of the saddest days of my life, driving away from that hospital with our little Eric still there. He was finally home with us in early December wearing a newborn sized huggies with the whole waistband folded over and 0000 clothes falling off him.
From then on he progressed very well and was always a very contented baby who was easy to care for. The whole saga was very challenging and still challenges me to a certain extent even today. I remember being asked once about what hadn’t gone to plan with Eric and I could truthfully answer absolutely everything. We learned to not have an expectation about anything set in stone and to accept what life dished up for us. I wouldn’t change any of it because out of it we were gifted with Eric – a truly wonderful human being.