Family dynamics

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Hello London, I'm pregnant

KIRIN
Kevin Stent
BIG CHANGES: Kiran and her family have moved to the UK.

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Our little family's big adventure is getting bigger. We've jumped over the biggest hurdle of our relocation from Wellington to London, and now we have news. Yes, that news. I'm pregnant.

We're feeling exceptionally lucky and grateful and amazed, and we still can't quite believe it. But at the end of July, all going well, Milin will have a little brother or sister. Our little family of three will become four. In London.

(London is amazing by the way - but more about our smooth flight and safe arrival here another time - I'm too excited about that news to get into the details of how it took us an hour to get out of the gridlocked carpark at Heathrow airport. Rest assured, we made it, Milin was an angel and slept through most of the night flight, and seems very, very happy and more settled.)

But, getting back to that news. There will only be 18 months or so between our two little ones. It's not long, and it's almost as if I only just got over being pregnant with Milin before getting pregnant again. I hadn't lost all my weight... sigh... I'd only stopped feeding a few months earlier... and I was just figuring out how this new life with a baby worked.

So far this pregnancy has been very different to the first time round. And over the coming months, going through the British maternity system will no doubt be a different experience to its equivalent in New Zealand.

With Milin, I had terrible morning sickness until 14 weeks and then again to a lesser degree in the final trimester. Thankfully this time, I've been spared the constant nausea. There has been no repeat of jumping off the bus in rush hour and throwing up in the gutter on Taranaki St. Or not being able to stop myself from being sick on the kerb in Newtown early one morning.  As I said, I'm very, very thankful for this.

There has, however, been incredible fatigue, which I don't remember from the first time. I can't remember ever taking afternoon naps before, but over the last couple of months, I have really needed them. Then again, it's possible that having a one-year-old and moving half way across the planet has had something to do with me feeling tired.

Most of all though, there has been fear. I didn't have a straightforward pregnancy with Milin and perhaps that is why this time round, I can't shake the worries. In my first pregnancy, the umbilical cord between Milin and I had one artery instead of the usual two. It happens in less that five per cent of pregnancies and it means the baby is watched closely. It also meant I learnt quickly never to use Dr Google about the significance of a two vessel cord.

Milin too was very small, and we had to have scans every two weeks to monitor his growth rate. I used to lie on that hospital bed reading the numbers on the screen, checking what percentile they put my baby in. Was he up or down on last week? Had I not been eating well enough? I'd spend the night before each scan wondering what I could do to make that line climb up the graph.

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I developed pre-eclampsia too, and at 36 weeks was admitted to hospital. I will never forget the terror that went through me when I was told I would be induced the next day. I wasn't ready to have my baby, I cried. (In the end, I wasn't induced, and Milin held on until 38 weeks - but more about that and pre-eclampsia another time.)

It wasn't the worst pregnancy, I know. It was far easier than many, many women go through every day. And in the end, my baby was born healthy and happy by emergency c-section. We spent only a week in hospital and one month later, were both medication free.

But this time round, I can't help but worry about things I had no concept of the first time round. I'm worried about what the 20-week scan will show. I'm worried about pre-eclampsia. I'm worried about Milin  - how can I best prepare him for his new role of big brother?

Of course I know not to worry, and at just 15 weeks, I still have a long way to go. Then, at the end, our little family will have grown. We will be delighted, and amazed, and feel like the luckiest people in the world.

I have my first UK doctor's appointment later this week and it's just dawning on me what a year this will be. When we decided to switch our life in Wellington for a life in London, it was as a family of three. Now, life is changing in more ways than we thought it would -  and our journey is shaping up to be even more exciting than we imagined. I'll keep you posted.

- Essential Mums

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