Riley was in every way a surprise.
He wasn’t exactly planned but he wasn’t prevented either. Matt and I have always wanted babies, however, the timing was not ideal for Riley; but we were going to make it work. We had just moved into Matt’s mum’s house to save to buy a house together. I had just started studying to become a childcare worker and started a new job working nights at a petrol station.
I didn’t even realise I was pregnant until I was eight weeks. We had spent quite a few of those nights during the eight weeks drinking and partying because we didn’t have any bills to pay while living with Matt’s mum –it was kind of against the point of saving, I know! But we didn’t have any bills to pay for the first time in a long time and we decided to have a little fun.
I had no signs of being pregnant. I never had morning sickness, I never had any nausea and I even had a period come during those eight weeks. The only symptoms I had was that I was extremely angry especially towards Matt and I was trying to lose weight but couldn’t. It wasn’t until I had got a UTI that my friend told me I might be pregnant.
I went and bought four pregnancy tests just to be sure. It was about 3:00pm and no one else was home. The first test was one of those digital ones and came up with ‘error’. What?! I didn’t even know that could be an answer! The second and third tests were the plus and minus ones and both said ‘pregnant’. Before I could even process what I was seeing on the tests Matt came home from work. He came inside and was talking about his day or something, I don’t really remember I was still in shock I wasn’t really listening.
“Babe, I’m pregnant” was all I said. Matt immediately shut up and just stared at me. I showed him the two positive tests and he stared at them.
“Fuuuuuuuck” was all he said. I both stared at each other in shock and disbelief. Then the question came that always comes when an unplanned pregnancy happens, “so, what do you want to do?” I immediately knew I wanted to keep this baby. There was no question in my mind about it and even though Matt had asked the question, he later told me he was hoping I would say I wanted to keep it.
I always regret that we weren’t happier when we first found out.
Once we had confirmed the pregnancy with the doctor we told our parents. I was so scared to tell my mum and step dad. For some reason, I felt like I was a teenager still and that they would flip out on me for being so irresponsible. Their reaction to the news of their first grandchild was the complete opposite to what I had predicted. My mum jumped out of her seat with excitement. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen my step dad so happy. Mum was so excited to become a nanna and my step dad couldn’t wait to become ‘Grumpy’ (he didn’t want to be grandpa or poppa so he came up with ‘Grumpy’). My mum’s first words were “now I can buy a pony!”
We spent the four weeks until our twelve week scan worrying that I would miscarry because of us not knowing he was there for so long. Of course, once we passed the twelve week scan we thought ‘phew! We’re in the clear now’ little did we know we could lose him later on.
“It’s a boy!”
All the way up until we found out the sex, I was sure we were having a girl. Matt wanted a boy first and secretly so did I, but my pregnancy symptoms were the same as my mum’s when she was pregnant with me so I was sure it was a girl. Then Riley surprised us again by being a boy! It was one of the happiest times of my life being in the ultrasound room and the radiologist telling us he was a boy.
Our twenty-week scan went great. He was growing two weeks ahead of time and I was told he was going to be a big boy. We had no worry in the world after that ultra-sound.
Our visions for his future all started to come alight. He would be a little mummas boy. As soon as he could walk we would get him on motorbikes. Matt and Riley would be working on cars together when he got older. During summer he would be a little beach bunny playing with the sand and water. Matt is dyslexic and he worried Riley would inherit it so we started collecting books for him to read to start him off young. He was going to be the smartest little boy.
My next midwife appointment at 28 weeks went well. I heard his ‘strong’ heartbeat as they described it. I got my whooping cough and flu shot. Then two days later I was back in the hospital for his biggest surprise yet. His heart stopping was the worst surprise.
I always pictured him as a mini look a like to Matt when he was younger. During my pregnancy, I kept looking at Matt’s baby pictures to see what my future son would look like. But the he surprised me again when I saw that he looked exactly like me.
Our newfound love
The next surprise Riley gave us is that from losing him, his dad and I are so much closer. Although Riley leaving us has been the worst possible pain Matt and I will ever have to endure, his life has taught us a newfound love for each other. Both of our lives have changed because of Riley and it’s like we are starting back at the beginning of our relationship again. We are meeting and getting to know the new us. We are forever bound by the love of Riley and the loss of Riley.
I didn’t know it was possible that I could love Matt even more than I already did. Matt is the strongest person I know to go through losing his dad three years ago and then losing his son. I am so thankful for his strength because whenever I feel weak, I look at him and I know that I can conquer anything.