Jonny and I, got married in June 2011. In that time, I have thoroughly tested his staying power with the “In sickness and in health” wedding vow.
First up, was a very complicated twin pregnancy, Hyperemesis Gravidarum and Symphis Pubis Dysfunction. But I couldn’t leave it there could I? No, I developed Pre-Eclampsia and then alongside haemorrhaging several times, I nearly died of HELLP Syndrome.
Just as we are beginning to recover emotionally from the birth trauma, I go and get diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Needless to say, I think Jonny is getting over his fear of hospitals now. He has been my rock and has been there through everything, holding my hand and not losing composure.
I spoke last year about being on the UKNeS Advisory panel – a group who research into serious complications of pregnancy and birth, or “maternal near-miss” incidents. I joined the panel as a LAY Representative out of curiosity, after my own near-miss, when my organs started failing in labour, because of HELLP Syndrome.
I went again last week to meet with the panel and see where their research is going. Amongst many other projects, they’ve contributed to the Pregnancy & Children module on the brilliant website Health Talk Online. There’s a section on Pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome, a section on conditions that threaten women’s lives during pregnancy and childbirth, amongst everything from critical care, hysterectomy, and family impact to breastfeeding and support. Please go and check it out – it’s a brilliant health resource.
But the bit that inspired me the most – on the website and at the latest meeting, was a section on fathers/partners. How many of us women, who have traumatic births, or even straightforward births, consider how our labour, has effected our partner? I know that Jonny confided in friends, when things got too much, and I was so thankful that they were there for him, but we’ve never really talked about how he felt about my illness.
There are some truly inspiring videos on the website, including one, from a father, who says that no matter what his wife has to go through now, as a result of her illness… she is alive, and they have to be thankful for that. That is often how I feel, but sometimes in the thick of things, that message can get lost.
Somebody asked me at the meeting, if I find it difficult going to hospital, after experiencing the trauma that I did, giving birth to the twins?
My answer was, “No, the birth trauma got pushed aside when I was diagnosed with Cancer”. I shrugged it off and laughed. What else can I do? The NHS saved my life, as they have many times before and I’m hoping my current treatment will do the same.
I am alive. I might have Cancer, I might not be able to have any more children, I might be pushing the “in sickness and in health” vow to the max, but I am alive and my incredible husband is still here holding my hand and helping me to raise our beautiful children. It could have been so much worse, for all of us.
PS. Jonny… I love you. xxx