Wow, where have the past 4/5 months gone?! So much has happened and there’s loads to update you all on. Where we left things last time was around mid Feb when we (finally) got the keys to Wyverne. We had been living with Ben’s mum for a few weeks and were looking forward to doing up the house without having to live in a building site at the same time.
And so that’s what we did. If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ve probably seen the countless decorating updates that I posted while Ben did most of the hard work. One thing seemed to lead to another and before we knew it, we had new electrics, some new plumbing, a fixed roof, skimmed ceilings, painted walls, a newly painted kitchen, new tiling, new lighting, a new fireplace, new carpets, new furniture and a garden which was no longer one giant square of turf. It was exhausting and praise God, wedding season had not yet kicked in. We had the luxury of time, space and a bit of extra cash to get as much done as possible before we moved in at the end of April. If you missed the updates, you can click on my ‘Wyverne’ reels of Instagram highlights on my account: @mrszwheeler, starting with #1.
And God really did provide for us during this time of renovation and redecoration. Not only did He bring us wonderful contractors but He also helped us re-establish several past connections such as with ex-clients who owned a building company and Ben’s uncle who helped him create the most beautiful mantlepiece. It was lovely to have friends and family come and help out with digging up the garden, cleaning, pulling carpet staples out of the floor, chipping away at ye olde fireplace, collecting our earthly possessions from the various family garages they had been left in and helping us get everything into Wyverne plus much, much more besides. It was a team effort, headed up by the most faithful, determined, motivated and dedicated man I know. I also happen to be married to him. Thank you, Ben. Your hard work and selfless attitude towards our family home fills my heart no end. I am truly blessed.
And by the end of April, we were all moved in and wedding season descended upon us with a vengeance. Before we could really sit back and enjoy our new nest, we were shooting one or two weddings a week and getting back into the swing of running our family business from home. As we looked forward to the rest of 2018 and started to take bookings for 2019 and 2020, we knew that the next few years would fly by and we felt that it was about the right time to start trying to expand family Wheeler. With our biggest corporate job already booked for October half term, which included two long haul flights, we knew that by ‘not-not trying’ to get pregnant from May onwards would mean that if it did happen, I would still be able to fly late October. And so we did. We reminded ourselves that it would probably take some time, if indeed it would happen at all, and to try not to think about getting pregnant too much, trusting that the Lord was in control and giving Him all our hopes and fears of parenthood.
For us, we used a certified app that tracks my cycle using an algorithm based on body temperature to help us understand what was going on physically. That probably sounds like too much detail but it was important to have some idea because I had been on a combined pill for 7 years so had no clue what my ‘normal’ was at all. But be warned, even though we find this particular app helpful, it is not helpful for everyone. A dear and trusted friend of mine pointed out that these apps should come with a health warning: only use this kind of technology if you are willing to put yourself through a daily onslaught of a rollercoaster of emotions. If it starts to consume you, for your own sake, delete it. So please be aware of this if this is a path you choose to take.
You might be asking by this point, why all the detail, Zo? I’m just being open and honest with the hope that it will encourage others to do the same. We appreciate that our story is not the same as everyone else’s and vice versa. But I do believe that we grow by learning from each other and by opening up the conversation to those who have felt excluded from it in the past.
So by now, it’s the end of May/early June and we are continuing to photograph one or two weddings a week. After a day of feeling a bit strange and, as my app reminds me, I’m late in my cycle, it seems that a pregnancy test might be a good idea. So I walked to our local Sainsbury’s, bought a cheapo own brand test as well as a posho digital one and decided that I would take it later that day – there was no way I could wait until the next morning. Ben was away the whole day on a corporate job so it was just me in the house so I took the digital test and waited. I left the room while it was ticking over and came back in, took a deep breath (I didn’t realise how nervous I was!) and peered down at the screen. And there, in little letters, were the words ‘Pregnant 1-2 weeks’. WOW! Flipping heck. I couldn’t believe it. I remember just having the biggest grin on my face… and then I cried a bit. Well, a lot. Happy tears, mind you, and tears of being completely overwhelmed. Who knew I could feel like this? My brain was going all over the place. So I sat down, got my phone out and filmed a ‘first reaction’ piece addressed to our baby to try and capture some of the emotions that I was feeling. To be honest, I pretty much cried through the whole thing. I had no idea that all this love, excitement and anticipation was within me, just waiting to come out. I also started writing a little diary to our unborn child that evening, before Ben came home to the news, and have been writing in it ever since, recording family and friend’s reactions as well as tracking the pregnancy and all the changes that have happened.
So there you have it – we are expecting and will be due mid Feb 2019. We’ve just had our booking in appointment with the midwife and soon it will be time for the 12 weeks scan. We have decided to tell folks and share the good news for a couple of reasons. 1.) It’s good news! We are excited and we hope that our loved ones are excited too. 2.) It’s real, it’s true and it’s what we are going through right now, so we didn’t feel the need to hide it. 3.) We believe in the power of prayer and knew by sharing our news, many of our Christian friends and family would pray for us to have a healthy pregnancy and be a support network for us come rain or shine. 4.) The results of any tests or screenings that we may have will not determine the outcome of this pregnancy. Unless my health is drastically threatened, and both baby and I are unlikely to survive (i.e. ectopic pregnancy), then we won’t be ending this child’s life. They are ours and God has blessed them to us as a gift. Whatever health defects or problems may occur, we trust our child to God and ask for his wisdom and grace to help us deal with what is to come. 5.) By ‘coming out’ earlier than most expectant parents, we hope to encourage others to share their news when they feel ready to and not necessarily when the world tells you is the right time. To be frank, there is no ‘safe time’ to announce pregnancy as risks can develop at any point. If the worst were to happen, we will need all the support and love we can get. We would want people to know and journey with us through grief and pain. How much harder would it be to do it alone?
This is, of course, our choice based on our own opinions and beliefs, we don’t want to bully anyone into anything – only to make you stop and think about how and why you make your decisions. Think about it, if folks were encouraged to share pregnancy news during the first trimester, how much less of a taboo would the whole subject of miscarriage be? Having read and heard many stories of parents who have miscarried, there are a few common themes and the main ones seem to be around the feeling of being alone, feeling as if they had done something wrong and also the feelings of ‘Why me?’ It’s heartbreaking. Did you know 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages? That’s one in five. Which is probably way more common than you thought it was. How many people around you have suffered in silence because they thought they couldn’t share with others? In this day and age, isn’t it time that we allow ourselves to be open and honest with each other, even with intimately personal heartache over miscarriage? That is my prayer, that more support is given, that parents are not bullied into stuff that they don’t agree with, that parents are given the freedom to do what they think is best for their children (which begins during pregnancy) and that miscarriage is not a taboo subject anymore.
There, I’ll get off my soap box. But I am serious about this, and so is Ben. We’d love to open up this discussion so please talk to us when you see us. And let us know your story. We are interested, we want to know; we want to get to know you better. And any advice we can glean from it (good or bad), we will (hopefully) be grateful for. In truth, no one really knows what they are doing as first-time parents and we are pretty comfortable with that. All we ask is that you don’t judge our decisions against your own. Just because you’ve done things one way, doesn’t mean that everything else is wrong. Thank you friends, we appreciate you, we love you and are so excited about this journey. We hope you jump on board for the ride as we are going to need all the help and support we can get.
Lots of love, Zoë, Ben & mini Wheeler (who, at the time of writing, is about the size of an olive)