My wee man, my beautiful boy, the son I never thought we’d have.
After Grace was born, I came to the conclusion she would be an only child.
My pregnancy with her was gruelling, marred by unrelenting morning sickness that most certainly was not confined to the first few hours of the day.
I planned to work until just before my due date but by the time I got to 34 weeks I was starting to flag.
I started maternity leave the following week on the orders of my midwife – “your body isn’t coping”.
She wasn’t wrong – a few days later I was rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke after losing my speech and vision.
Then, at a check-up the day before my due date, my body started to show signs of pre-eclampsia.
Grace was born by emergency caesarean section less than 24 hours later and within hours, the postnatal depression started to take hold.
I remember a doctor coming to my bedside before I was discharged from hospital and telling me I didn’t necessarily have to have a caesarean section next time around.
My husband and I laughed, it seemed like a perverse joke to even suggest there would be a next time.
This was followed by months of dealing with a baby screaming with the pain of silent reflux.
It was far from the perfect start to parenthood.
And yet, we got through it.
The dark fog started to lift and I discovered a love for my daughter I never knew was possible.
This incredible, amazing little human being that I’d created became my best friend, my closest ally, my everything.
It was hard to imagine loving anyone as much and I was content with our little family.
The turning point came in the autumn of 2015 – I was asked to write a story about fertility treatments which involved having my AMH levels tested.
I don’t remember arriving at the clinic to get my results but I vividly remember sitting in the car outside afterwards, sobbing my heart out.
Apparently my AMH levels were through the floor for someone my age, I was at risk of going into early menopause at any stage.
It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach.
It was in that moment, faced with my rapidly failing fertility, that I realised I was prepared to endure the nausea, sleep deprivation and even the possible return of pre-eclampsia and postnatal depression for another child.
Given what I’d been told by the doctor, I was aware that getting pregnant might be a challenge – I knew it might not happen at all – so we were delighted when we found out I was expecting just a few months later.
It wasn’t meant to be, however, and I had a silent miscarriage at 10 weeks.
This was followed by another devastating miscarriage five months later and I became convinced my body was failing, that I’d missed my chance to have another child.
By some miracle, I got pregnant a third time, but this time I didn’t dare believe it was real.
I looked at the positive test and actually scoffed.
Slowly, week by week, I allowed myself to trust in my body and the baby growing inside me, but I never really relaxed until he was finally in my arms.
And so, two years ago today, I felt like I was finally able to breathe again when our desperately longed-for rainbow baby, Ethan, arrived five weeks early – I told Grace he simply couldn’t wait any longer to meet his big sister, and he has continued to rock our world ever since.
So, how would I describe him?
Quite simply, he’s his daddy’s double in looks and personality.
He’s cheeky, mischievous and a bundle of fun, he has a fiery temper and can throw the tantrum to end all tantrums.
He loves eating, dinosaurs, making animal noises, jumping in puddles, growling as loudly as possible, and Sam, the donkey that lives at the bottom of our lane.
He’s rambunctious and uncompromisingly stubborn (I’ll admit that might be one of the qualities he inherited from me) and he can feign an injury better than any Premiership footballer.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to kiss his head better when it was actually his hand or his arm he has bumped.
At the same time, he has a tendency to ignore danger, thinking nothing of scaling furniture and leaping into my arms, or attempting audacious escape bids from our garden so he can go and visit his beloved Sam.
I’m not sure there is anyone else in the world, with the exception of his daddy, who can drive me more crazy, and yet he has captured my heart totally, utterly and completely.
This boisterous little boy who can send my blood pressure through the roof one minute and make me melt the next when he stops whatever he’s doing just to get a cuddle from me.
His sister got me through all the trauma that came before him, and it is Ethan who has mended my broken heart.
After all we had been through, it was sometimes hard to see a bright and positive future, but when I look at Ethan now, I know that anything is possible.
Happy birthday wee man xxx