The Things We Do

I have exactly nine minutes to get into my costume. Wardrobe assistants are flapping around backstage carrying my wings, another assistant is unzipping a dress which I swear is so short it should be worn as a top and my hairdresser is close to drawing blood as bobby pins are shoved into my head in an attempt to secure a wig which weighs close to a tonne. The clock is ticking but the two pairs of fishnet stockings are proving very difficult to get in. Red lips, dancing shoes buckled up and we’re on.  I’m ready to go. I am now –  Beyoncé.

It’s the AFL Grand Final footy show 2017. A huge television production and once again the audience is packed to the rafters of Rod Laver Arena. We’re into the last half an hour of the broadcast which always ends with a dance spectacular. AFL players including the hosts (unfortunately) get down and boogie. This year I was playing the part of Beyoncé, dancing (attempting to dance) to “Run the World.”

I’m nervous and terrified I’ll forget the steps. I am not a dancer so my heart is pumping, I’m also feeling sick, very very sick but I simply don’t have time for that now.

The adrenaline takes over from the nausea for ten minutes and we do our thing, it’s tremendously fun and the crowd love it. We wave farewell to our loyal footy show audience for another year and as the curtain comes down, I quickly retreat to my dressing room.  I collapse into a chair, wipe the sweat from my brow and smile. I glance down at my tummy and say to myself, “We did it.”

I was 9 weeks pregnant that night, dancing in front of 15 thousand people with hundreds of thousands more watching on their TV’s around the country.  Little did they know I was holding onto the most exciting secret of my life.

Like many women, early pregnancy for me consisted of feeling nauseous and having to soldier on through that feeling of extreme tiredness, which unless you’ve been pregnant, you will never understand.

For the month of September, I had endless dance rehearsals to attend, a reminder here, I’m NOT a dancer, on top of my normal TV work schedule and feeling unwell 24/7 made my first trimester tough.

I never complained though, not once, as my pregnancy was extra special. I would even go as far as to say, a little miracle.

I fell pregnant the day I turned 40. Sounds terribly romantic doesn’t it? Well it was (thanks husband) but the 2 years before had been hell. I’ll give you the short version.  After several failed IVF attempts and my egg reserves very low, my chances of falling pregnant were almost non-existent. I switched specialists after many rounds of IVF and my new doctor told me he was prepared to give it one more go. After that though, I’d have to go overseas for an egg donor. I was devastated. Tears and then more tears and then even more tears but eventually I had to pick myself up and start to come to terms with the fact that motherhood was not going to be for me.

But then, completely out of the blue, I fell pregnant, naturally! So many years of trying and so much heartache, so many tests and procedures and needles and specialists, you name it, I’d had it, after all of it, I was going to be a mum.

I remember the exact moment I saw the double lines on the home pregnancy test kit. It was a Thursday and I was on my way to work to host the weekly AFL footy show. I don’t know why I did the test then, I just felt different and thought I may as well.

It came up positive. I was so excited I burst into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. It was surreal. Unbelievable in fact as this technically, couldn’t happen.  I remember saying to myself out loud, probably loud enough the neighbours heard me, “I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it” followed by several shrill squeals of pure delight.  Of course, I immediately rang my husband to tell him our brilliant news. A doctor’s appointment a few days later and the blood test confirmed I was in fact pregnant. Pregnant with our little princess who was born the following year on April 12.

A girlfriend asked me the other day as were flicking through pictures of Ruby’s first birthday party “Can you believe you’re actually a mum?” I replied, “I can’t imagine my life not being.”

Article by Wattle Health Brand Ambassador, Rebecca Maddern.