Writing this, I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant and as much as I'd love to say I'm glowing, I'm throwing up most mornings! But it's the smallest sacrifice for our dreams to be coming true and I'm so excited to be a mum.
It's been a heartbreaking journey for my husband Bevan, 36, and I to get to this happy place. Last year, we were eight weeks along when we found out we'd lost our already-much-loved baby.
'I'm sorry, but your baby has no heartbeat,' are words that have haunted me. In that moment, I couldn't speak, I couldn't breathe and tears flooded my eyes as I tried to compose myself enough to put my clothes back on post-scan. I remember Bevan asking the sonographer, 'Are you sure? Is there any chance you could be wrong?'
There was no chance she was wrong. We were left shocked and grieving – the car ride home was silent apart from my sobs. When we finally parked, we just sat there. I remember turning to Bevan and saying, 'What do we do now?'
With both of us still sitting in the car, I called my mum and broke the news. Then his. Then his brother Clint. We finally went inside and I just sat in the middle of the floor. We'd been here only a few hours prior, excited for our first scan, telling our families we'd send photos of our baby.
Clint cooked us dinner that night, and my niece and nephew Cammy and Ty kept hugging me because, although we didn't tell them what was really going on, they knew that 'Aunty Bex is sad'.
I've never held them as tightly as I did that night. It really hit home what a miracle children are and I promised myself I'd never take that for granted again. Clint's wife Jaime came home from work later that evening and showed me the tiny baby clothes she'd already bought our little love. It was surreal. I was sad and angry, and everything felt unfair.
The next morning, I woke early and my heart broke all over again. Bevan held me for hours, until finally we needed to get up and get ready for work. I knew I couldn't call in sick. We were filming Shortland Street's 30th birthday episodes and changing the schedule would mess up everything.
I walked in the building, avoiding eye contact with anyone. My friend Courtenay Louise, who plays Monique, found me in my dressing room hyperventilating. She tackled me into a hug as I broke down and told her everything.
I didn't know what to do. I went to makeup, where the girls wiped my tears as they tried to apply foundation, eye shadow and eyeliner. Rescue remedy was administered and I took a breath, thinking, 'I'm strong, aren't I? I can do this.' But as my scenes drew closer, I knew that as much as I'd tried to learn my lines, I didn't really know them and I couldn't walk onto set.
I could hear Ben Barrington [Drew] and Sam Bunkall [Boyd] laughing in the dressing room next to mine. They were both in my scenes for Damo's stag do, so I made the decision to tell them what was going on. I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on their faces. They were so sorry.
Michael Galvin [Chris] walked in and I blurted out the news to him too. He put his arm around me and walked me downstairs to the producer's office. I didn't know what I needed at the time, but I'm so glad Michael did. I told the producers and although I needed to finish filming the 30th birthday episodes over the next four days, they promised to rewrite my storylines to give me two weeks off.
I don't know how I got though that day – I was pretending to be drunk at a party when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and hide from the world. What I do know is I couldn't have done it without the support of my castmates and crew.
Bevan and I had meetings with the early-pregnancy clinic to talk about the physical miscarriage and how that would take place. We had planned to induce the miscarriage with medication on my first day off work, but it was towards the end of my last day on set when, all of a sudden, I was in excruciating pain. The miscarriage had started.
I don't know how I managed to drive myself home, but I did and spent most of that night lying on the bathroom floor with my beautiful, doting husband next to me.
Grief isn't linear, no matter how you try to dress it. We took flowers to our favourite spot at the beach. Mum and Dad planted a kōwhai tree for our baby on the farm. Friends checked in and offered their condolences, but strangely I've never felt so alone in my life.
When someone loses a parent, aunt, uncle, sister or brother, everyone understands. Everyone can relate to that. When you lose a small unborn child, you have all those same emotions, but unless you find people who have also been through it, it can be really isolating.
I lost a part of myself that I've struggled to get back. Bevan was incredible – although we grieved differently, he never once made me feel I should just get over it. He wiped my tears and held me up more times than I can count.
Every month was a milestone. Every pregnancy announcement triggering. It was the first time in my life I felt like the world was unfair and no matter how hard I tried to move forward, it felt like a hole in my heart constantly tortured me. I wanted that baby so much – we both did – and to have that just suddenly gone, nothing can prepare you for that.
The next chapter in our story, although still grieving, was the decision to start trying again. I knew that I wanted a baby, but putting your heart out there with the chance it could be broken once again came with its own new form of anxiety.
We conceived relatively quickly the first time, so my expectation was high, but as we tried and tried, month after month after month, I grew angrier at my body and the world for betraying me. I remember calling Bevan one morning in floods of tears and frustration at our situation.
Being open about all of this is hard. Anyone looking at me from the outside would just see the bubbly Bex who is happy-go-lucky on social media, but in real life, I never missed an engagement, was never late for a call time and always functioned at a high level – you don't ever really know what is going on in someone else's world.
As the months passed with still no luck conceiving, I decided I wanted some help. One of the makeup girls at work asked me if I had heard of a clinic called Mother Well. I liked that they seemed to have a holistic approach to woman's heath and specialised in fertility.
I booked with Rebekah Paddy and walked out of our first appointment beaming. Bevan had come with me for support and, for the first time, it felt like someone professional had listened to all my concerns – we had gained a team member. It was only three months after our first appointment, on our summer holiday, that I fell pregnant once again.
Bevan and I had a pact that if I were to take a pregnancy test, we were to do it together. I was a day late, which, to be fair, wasn't unusual post-miscarriage, but something felt different. It was a Thursday, and I came home from work and told Bev he needed to come upstairs as I was going to take a test.
When it retuned positive, I burst into tears of happiness and relief. We were both so over the moon. I took a second test just to be sure and it felt like we spent that evening on cloud nine.
I think I had only just got my head around the pregnancy when the morning sickness kicked in – I had experienced this with our first pregnancy but not to the point I was vomiting. The silver lining was that 'every spew was a good spew'. I knew that as long as I was feeling this sick, it was a good sign of my body doing everything it should.
Don't get me wrong, there were absolutely days where it has got me down. Bevan has been an amazing support, sending me to bed early when I'm miserable. He also rubs my back as I vomit into a bucket that permanently lives next to the bed!
However, holding this baby in our arms is going to be the best day of our lives and I'm truly grateful for this gift. I'm also thankful for the journey we have had as it has made the hard days just a little bit easier. We aren't finding out the gender as all we've ever wanted was a happy, healthy baby, so boy or girl, we'll be stoked."
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