This day last year, when I was in hospital having given birth to Evie, I'd only just started blogging. And I wanted to write a post about how I'd felt at Evie's birth. But then, two days later (when I had the strength and opportunity) hormones, emotions - call them what you will - intervened, and I sunk into a anxious/depressed state. And it didn't seem as if I'd really felt the way I had.
For me, it's 3 days after the birth that the surge happens. I don't know whether it's a decrease in the elation you ride after giving birth - all those natural endorphins leaving the system. Or whether it's the progesterone waving goodbye. I am well aware now of the 3 days, mainly because of Evie. With Lily, I was already anxious - I just got worse. Same with the twins. With Evie it was different, which is why I now know to expect to feel sh*t on day 3 after this one is born, but also why I will be aware that I don't need to ride the surge of fear all the way down into a place where I no longer know myself. This time, I will be ready...
Anyway, a year on, I'm going to write the post I should have written back then.
I've watched 'One Born Every Minute' and I've seen mums give birth, have their wriggling bundle placed in their arms, and watched the happiness flood over them.
I'd just never felt it... not really.
Believe me, no-one could have been more wanted than Lily, Timmy and Joe - IVF babies each and every one. But the stress of my first IVF pregnancy (Lily) together with a move to France and the emptiness I felt after leaving work meant I was riding on a wave on anxiety throughout. I was enthralled and full of love when Lily was born... but I was also scared. And that fear marred the experience for me.
Then with Tim and Joe, I was in such a state that nothing felt "real", even when I got to the hospital to give birth to them. I couldn't see a day into the future - I'd been through such a rollercoaster of depression and anxiety (partly, I now know, due to hypothyroidism - which is probably why I couldn't get a grip on it) that I just didn't imagine I'd ever escape. Cradling their tiny forms, I loved them with all my heart, but I didn't feel joy. Just the fear that I would somehow lose them.
With Evie, possibly because I'd done it all before, possibly because I'd got my thyroid under control, and possibly because I hadn't undergone the stress of IVF first, it was different. I went through pregnancy calmly and positively... and when she was bundled into my arms and snuffled into my shoulder, I felt a rush of pure love and joy - unadulterated by fear or depression. I felt how I feel about all of my children: unconditional love; but there was nothing stopping me feeling it completely.
It was wonderful.
Now, it's a year later. Evie has coped amazingly with the perils of being No.4 in a busy, young family. She is rarely without a smile. She doesn't flinch, despite nearly being trodden on several times a day by well-meaning, trampling feet.
She is quite simply a joy.
There are times still at the moment, when I wonder how I will manage with this next one.
But all I have to do is look at Evie.
Then the question is: how could I possibly manage without?