Thanks for passing by to read all about my first born.. my little boy.. Baby Jai Jai.
January 2014. I was working in Pret A Manger at the time, as an assistant manager in the Euston Piazza branch. Samir and I had been trying for a baby for a few months prior to me starting this job in December. Once I had started the job, we decided to stop trying for a while until I was settled in, so I started taking the pill. But fate had other plans…. and the moment we stopped trying, little baby Jai was formed.
January 6th 2014. It was a normal day at work and I had finished at about 4pm. I had a weird feeling that I was pregnant. I can’t exactly remember why as I don’t think I was late on my period, but I just had a strong feeling about it! I grabbed a couple of tests from Boots, just some cheap ones, and stopped of at my best friends place of work in Queensway. She was working at Pizza Hut at the time and I would stop off sometimes for some free pizza 😍😂
I told her that I may be pregnant and I went into the toilets to do a test. It immediately came back as invalid. Fuck. The suspense was killing me. So Resha came back to our flat in Shepherds Bush. At this time I hadn’t even let Samir in on the fact I thought I was pregnant. I guess maybe because deep down I thought I wouldn’t be. Samir was in bed watching TV and Resha and I went into the bathroom and did the test. Low and behold it came back positive very quickly, although the lines were very faint. So we snuck out of the house and popped to Boots which was literally across the road from the flat. We grabbed a clear blue test and made our way back. On the short walk there and back we discussed the actual possibility that I was pregnant and what that really meant. I felt excited, scared, overwhelmed.
As soon as we got back I somehow was able to wee again. And there is was in black and white as clear as day – PREGNANT.
Resha and I went back upstairs together and I told Samir. He was shocked. It suddenly dawned on him that we were going to have a baby. A real life baby. Resha went home and we discussed it in detail all night. Our fears, our excitement and everything in between.
12 week scan
We saw him – although at the time we didn’t know he was a him – but he was perfect. This little life I was growing inside of me. Being a mother was truly all I’ve ever wanted.
We were offered the combined screening for Down syndrome which consists of a blood test and the scan. We went for it. One day I was at work and I received a phone call that no one would want to receive, asking me to come in and discuss the results of the test. When? Tomorrow. I broke down in the office and in front of all of my colleagues. I told them what had happened and they all were lovely and supportive. I went home and dreaded the appointment.
Samir and I went to the appointment at the hospital together. We were called into a large room, with a big round table and seats all around it. It didn’t look like a usual doctors office, more the type of room were bad news is delivered in a “comfortable environment”
The consultant explained everything to us, and told me that our risk of the baby having DS was 1 in 25. Apparently for my age that number should be something like 1 in 250000. We were both devastated. Don’t get me wrong, I know that DS kids are gorgeous, loving kids. But I also know the type of life that would be ahead of them. Nobody wants to hear that anything is “wrong” or “different” with their kids. No one wants their child to face extra challenges in their life. We all just want healthy, happy children and everything just to go to plan.
We were offered the CVS procedure to give us a definitive answer if he had DS or not. After a long hard think we decided to go for it. My mum questioned what difference it would make as she knows I would love the baby regardless, but I couldn’t go through the whole pregnancy not knowing – I would need to mentally prepare.
I laid down on the doctors examination table and the consultant who was carrying out the procedure introduced himself to me. Samir and I had realised immediately he was from Bangladesh (Samir is Bangladeshi) and we had a brief conversation about it. There is always that unique bond between people I meet who are Bangladeshi. They may only know me for a few minutes but they are so caring, supportive and treat me as part of their family, like they appreciate and respect me as part of their community.
I had told him my fears about the procedure and the known statistics (apparently there is 1-100 risk of miscarriage.) He explained that there is no way to prove that the 1 in 100 miscarried as a result of this procedure, it could’ve happened anyway.
He looked me in the eyes and promised me that he would do everything he could to ensure our baby stayed safe. In that moment I felt so relieved. I knew there was no way he could promise that the baby would definitely be okay, but I truly believed that he would do everything in his power to ensure the procedure was carried out in the safest way and that he had our best interests at heart.
The first part of the procedure is a large needle right through the tummy to administer the anesthetic. Ouch! I can’t really remember how painful this was, I’ve had two kids since then! But I do remember that at the time it probably was the most painful experience of my life. The needle that followed after, which takes a small bit of the placenta to test, was not as bad as the first needle but still not comfortable. On top of all of the pain and discomfort the worry was still there, worse than any of the physical pain.
The phone call
I think the worst thing about this whole process was the fact that you had to call up yourself for the results. It took around two weeks for them to come back, and we were given a date to call up after 12pm. It was horrible waiting all morning just staring at the clock. I even called at about 11am pretending I was unaware that I had to wait until 12 – but it didn’t work and I was told to call back at 12.
11.58 I called yo and got straight through. I have my name and asked for our results. She asked me to wait one moment. She came back and told me the results were all normal. The happiness must have come across in my voice. I had read hundreds of forums about the test and DS, and lots of women said that they found out the gender from the test (as it looks at the chromosomes and DNA, so can show if the baby is a boy or girl) but that didn’t matter to me at all. In that moment my baby was healthy. And that’s all that mattered.
20 week scan – boy or girl?
As a child and a teenager, you have a plan of how you think your life will be. It never turns out that way but you go along hoping for certain things and even sometimes feeling sure it will actually turn out that way.
I always had the plan of three children. A boy first and then a girl (the third didn’t ever matter to me!) I always wanted to have a little boy first so he could protect his little sister. However, when I was pregnant I actually wanted the opposite. My original thought was that I was having a girl. I had even bought some pink outfits! The clothes are nicer and that mummy and daughter bond… it just all seemed lovely. I would never have been upset to be having a boy, but at that time I was just swayed towards having a girl.
At the scan we were offered to find out the gender and we said yes! I’ve never liked a surprise. I like the idea of one – but I’m just too impatient and excitable. I used to find my Christmas presents hidden away every year! It never ruined it for me. I would hide it back away and in the lead up to Christmas I couldn’t wait to receive it and play with it.
We were told “it’s a boy!” In that moment we were so happy. Nothing else mattered. I didn’t even think about my previous thoughts of wanting a girl. I now knew it was a boy and that’s what my heart became set on, a little boy I was going to love, cherish and protect for the rest of my life.
I still remember seeing his cute little nose!
The rest of the pregnancy continued as it should. We did need to go for growth scans as he was slightly small at the 20 week scan but all of them showed him growing well.
I continued my job at Pret all the way up until about 37 weeks. Looking back on it now, I was crazy. I was working 12 hour days, commuting 2 hours a day, hardly any breaks and lifting heavy things. I resent my boss for how she treated me. She was about 35 years old, no kids and I guess absolutely no idea of how hard pregnancy can be. No consideration at all was taken about the health and safety of me or my child and looking back on it now it was so unacceptable. I was only 19, in a new job and I just didn’t feel like I had a voice. My job meant so much to me, and I didn’t want to risk losing it.
One memory that sticks into my mind from my job was when I was about 7 months pregnant, we had a last minute visit announced to us for the following day, where all of the cleanliness etc would be checked at the store. My boss allowed me to stand in a walk in freezer for two hours cleaning it from top to bottom. What a bitch.
Naming the baby
How did the name Jai come about? Here is the most simple baby naming story: I googled names of half Indian half white babies (Samir isn’t Indian but he’s Hindu so the Indian names were more suited than searching Bangladeshi names which were mostly Muslim)
The name that I kept seeing everywhere was Jai. Some mums on forums stated that they pronounced it as Jay, some said Jai (rhyming with hi!) I loved the latter. Jay for me is a name like Bob so I wouldn’t be going for that 😂
I just think it suited our unborn baby down to a T. It wasn’t too Indian like.. Rajesh but it wasn’t too English like…. Robert. It was just perfect for us.
Reduced fetal movements
Towards the end of my pregnancy, on occasions I felt Jai moving less. Both times I went to the hospital, Queen charlottes, and Jai was monitored. He seemed well and all checks were fine so I was sent home. I was always told to come straight in if the movements were reduced.
I was just under 37 weeks and the same thing happened again. It was a sunny August day and we had just moved into our new flat (a 2 bedroom making way for our little man!) and I noticed that the movements had slowed down or almost stopped completely. I wasn’t overly worried as it wasn’t the first time it had happened and I know that being busy with the move could have meant I didn’t feel him moving.
I told Samir to stay home home and that I was going to pop in for monitoring, and off I went. I went to the ward and was hooked up on the monitor. After about ten minutes of monitoring I heard the midwife on the phone on the other side of my drawn curtain. She was explaining that it was her third time of reduced fetal movements and she will need to go up to Labour ward. This rush of fear and excitement came over me. Was she talking about me or someone else? It quickly became clear that she was talking about me! The monitoring showed a clear and healthy heartbeat but only one or two small movements.
A doctor came and took me for a scan. I can’t remember exactly what was said but it was along the lines of the baby appears okay at this point but they weren’t sure about how well the placenta was working. They didn’t want to deliver before 37 weeks and I was a couple of days off of that. The decision was made to start the induction process off. Then it dawned on me..
Oh fuck. I hadn’t even shaved.
To be continued on my next blog post – Jai’s birth story.