Pregnancy Story #2 Marta Vargas
From Spain, living in Sweden
When did you get pregnant? Was it a premeditated decision?
I got pregnant at the end of April. It is still hard for me to believe it. It was indeed a premeditated decision. My fiancé and I had been trying to conceive for over a year and a half and we had actually decided to do IVF. Five days before starting the IVF treatment I felt a bit sick and we realised my period was late, so we decided to do a pregnancy test. Not in a million years could we have imagined that it was going to be positive.
What was your reaction when you found out?
Pure disbelief. After trying for so long you start losing hope. I always pictured the moment of looking at a positive pregnancy test as one of those happy and celebratory memories. But it wasn't like that for us. We just couldn't believe it. We ended up doing six tests. The line was there, but it was so faint. So we decided to go and buy a digital one, then it was clear: "Gravid", pregnant in Swedish. We were so happy.
Has the pregnancy been what you had imagined?
Overall I would say so. I'm very happy to be pregnant and I've been enjoying it a lot. Something I did not expect was all of the worries and aches that come with it. But other than that I am having a smooth and healthy pregnancy and I'm extremely grateful for it.
What have you been worrying about?
The thought of miscarriage or something going wrong during the pregnancy, specially in the first months. I felt so vulnerable. I was so tremendously happy. At the same time, I felt scared it was going to be taken away from me. You are extra aware of everything that's going on in your body, so if something feels off the immediate reaction for me was to worry.
What is your approach to Motherhood?
So far I'm taking everything as it comes. I am not preparing myself too much or reading books or others' experiences. I don't know if that's the right approach, but I don't want to have expectations. Anything I could imagine now will probably not be how it will end up being.
Could it be that your intuition has grown during these past months and you trust what comes naturally?
That is a nice way of putting it. I think so. My relationship to my own body has changed so much. I think it's amazing that it is capable of doing this, creating life, so I chose to fully trust it and surrender to the unknown.
What do you feel about giving birth?
I feel very excited. I will probably look back at this and think I was being naive, but I just can't wait to meet her and share that moment with Graeme. As with motherhood, I have decided to not prepare too much because, again, I don't want to have any expectations or disappointments when the day comes. I am reading a book called "Confident Birth". I'm enjoying that approach: having tools to be able to manage what happens in that moment, but go with the flow and let things be. I trust my body will know what to do. Having the support of Graeme and the midwives makes me feel calm and secure.
How is the birth situation in Sweden now with the COVID-19?
Graeme hasn't been allowed to come with me into check-ups, scans and midwife appointments. He will be allowed in the hospital during birth, as long as he has no symptoms. So we will be quarantining two weeks before the due date to be safe.
How have you faced all the changes that usually happen during pregnancy?
I felt very sick during the first trimester and I did not feel like myself at all. I was vomiting every single day for a couple of months. That was tough, but I knew it was temporary. Graeme was a great support, taking care of everything while I could not do anything but lie in bed and feel sorry for myself. Once that was over, I have been enjoying all the changes that have been happening in my body. I have developed a very strong connection and love towards this baby. I love to feel that she is always with me. I'm curious to see how my relationship to my body will be after birth, for now I feel extremely grateful.
What has been the best about being pregnant? What would you consider the worst?
So many positive things: feeling her kicks and movements, seeing her in the different ultrasounds and sharing this whole experience with Graeme. As I mentioned, due to COVID-19 he hasn't been able to join me to the midwife appointments and scans, but he has come with me to every single one of them and waited for me outside. We have had two private scans so that he could see her. To me those have been the highlights of the pregnancy. Also buying her clothes and preparing how our life will be when she is here. I will forever cherish these moments.
The worst, probably, all the worries that come with it. At the beginning of the pregnancy, the IVF clinic offered us a very early scan. Even though we ended up not having to do IVF, they wanted to check that everything was okay. They told us that it was likely that I was going to have a miscarriage. That day was one of the worst days of my life. We had to wait ten days to see if the embryo was actually growing. They told me to be prepared to experience heavy bleeding during those days. We rented a cabin on an island and went off grid for ten days. When we came back, we did a second scan. There was a heartbeat and a growing embryo. We were so relieved.
Could you put your feelings of that particular blissful moment into words?
I was shacking when I went into the ultrasound room. Graeme was waiting on a bench outside. I held my phone to text him as soon as I knew something. I lied down and the doctor put the gel on my stomach. I couldn't even look at the screen. I was so nervous and scared. "Tum-tum, tum-tum" she said. Then I turned around and the embryo looked bigger than the previous time. "We have a growing embryo with a heartbeat, everything looks perfect". I texted Graeme immediately: "Everything is good, baby". I cried. We also felt very disappointed at the doctors, because we later learned that is actually quite common to measure behind in the first weeks. This was during weeks 6 and 7. Having to go through this pain and worry was completely unnecessary.
Has your relationship towards your mother changed during these months?
I think we have become even closer. Even though she is in Spain and I'm in Sweden, we speak every day. She has bought a lot of cute clothes for the baby and I've been sending her weekly pictures of my belly growing. It's been very beautiful to share this process with her. I'll never forget the day she felt the baby kicking for the first time, she screamed of pure joy. I just want to be an amazing mother as she is.
— Photos: Marta Vargas.