So it’s 1st January 2018 and our visa has been granted. We’re both pretty shocked as a 3.5 month turnaround is incredibly quick. I was the main applicant and my husband, then ‘de facto’ partner, turned to me and said words to the effect of “I can leave you now, you’ve served your purpose” and we joked about us breaking up.
Fast forward just a couple of weeks and we had gone out for a dinner (to an absolutely superb restaurant in Billericay called Felix). Over dessert, my husband pulled out a ring and asked if I would do him the honour of marrying him. I had been fairly vocal about not really wanting to get married as it was just a piece of paper and as a feminist I didn’t need no man! But with the impending move to Australia we realised that if we were ever going to do it, we would want to do it here with all our family. My husband also wanted to prove once and for all that my purpose had not been served!
In typical ‘us’ style we had it all booked up and ready for early July that year. We planned an entire wedding in just under 6 months and our honeymoon would be in Sri Lanka on the way to Melbourne and our new life. Perfect.
In March, we found out I was pregnant. Which was excellent news except slightly sooner than we had thought it would happen! We then had to agonise over whether we should carry on and move halfway round the globe with me 5 months pregnant or try to move with a baby (and have to get the baby a visa). We went for the latter.
We still flew out to Sri Lanka and Melbourne for our honeymoon, and it was nice that my cousin’s wife was also expecting a boy and was due just a month before me. I was also able to attend another cousin’s hen party (or bachelorette, whatever you choose call it!). I don’t recommend long haul while heavily pregnant if you don’t have to but it was ok and I was only asked to show my letter to say I was fit fly on the last leg from Doha to London.
In November, our gorgeous baby boy Alex was born. And our lives were exactly what everyone’s life is like when they have a newborn. Remember though that we had sold our flat the previous July though so we lived with my parents for the first 6 weeks and then went back to my father in law’s. We had now set our sights on moving July 2019 and booked our one way flights.
Some time in early 2019, my husband became really ill. He had a whole range of symptoms but the one that had the most noticeable impact on the family was horrendous fatigue. He would get up after sleeping for 18+ hour and still be exhausted. He went to the GP who dismissed it as being a new dad, despite the fact I had Alex solo all night while my husband slept in a different room in a desperate attempt to get enough sleep to function.
He eventually got referred to a neurologist who did scans etc and told him he may have multiple sclerosis. At that point everything was put on hold, we knew it would be crazy to emigrate when he could a lifelong debilitating condition and we would be moving away from our immediate family who could offer childcare support.
July came and went, and instead of flying off to Australia, we were buying a house round the corner from my parents. It looked like it was all over.