When We Felt Strange

by Anna Parsec
Updated: May 11, 2024
15 minute read
Anna's birthday

What a week! This week could have become one of the happiest in our lives. By the end of it, around now, we are still very happy but we did experience some lows only several days ago. I guess we’ve become very resistant, philosophical and experienced about all sorts of life events. This helps us to go through everything with – dare I say – remarkable strength.

What’s this week about? Well, my birthday, for one. The other matter has defined our mood. You’ll have to read further to find out more as it’s not something you just throw casually into.

Thursday 2 May 2024


I turned 34 on 2nd May 2024. I’m now the age that James was when we reconnected and became a couple. It feels strange to be this age. However, I am happy I am now 34 and not 22, 25, 27 or 30. I don’t think I particularly enjoyed being at those ages. All of them were pretty hard in their own way.

I much prefer being 34 because most of the difficulties are behind and I am finally the person I should have been from the beginning but had been put into boundaries and limitations that have no relevance to me, my abilities, aspirations and plans.

It is crazy to think that at the age of 14 or 24 my imagination was pretty limited in regard to what I can do in life, who I can be with, what I can achieve. I definitely felt hopeless about most things in life. Now I am so much more hopeful and dreamy with confidence that anything can be achieved and there are no limitations. None. I love that. Shame I started with a doomed version of my life but great that I’ve learnt it shouldn’t be that way.

Birthday still life
Thursday 2 May 2024

First scan

To cut the long story short, we had our first ultrasound scan and it turned out to be an anembryonic pregnancy. We felt super on edge and nervous before it. I didn’t have a good feeling about it all for some reason.

Usually I am pretty optimistic but something didn’t feel right even with all the normal symptoms. Was that an instinct? Maybe that’s why I kept asking ‘Am I pregnant?’. Well, yes, I am. At least my body had thought that up until the first scan. When we saw… nobody, that’s when it was a bit of a shock. It felt so strange and disheartening. On our drive home which should take 10 min we had to stop for a 30 min break because we just needed to process this piece of news. Imagine having a birthday on a day like that?!

Birthday aside, our next scan will be at the early pregnancy unit and they’ll confirm everything. We are not waiting for any miracles. We just want this to be sorted, we want to process this event and start again. It’s our first time with everything so we’ll see how it all goes.

Nervewrecking first pregnancy scan
Thursday 2 May 2024

Birthday Prep

James was busy blowing and hanging lots of balloons and giving out presents every 5 minutes. He started giving me presents a week before because he can never wait and starts gifting as soon as presents are in his hands. I was in charge of making a cake which is my mum’s recipe and you can see me eating a cake like that since I was about 3 years old.

James made some wonderful vegetable curry.

A slice of birthday cake
Thursday 2 May 2024

Birthday messages, decorations, presents and flowers

After the morning scan revelations, all the balloons were reminding me of the song ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’ by Lesley Gore. it was all bittersweet. It was quite helpful that pretty much most of our close friends knew about pregnancy so when they were messaging me and asking about the scan, I could share this burden of sadness. I didn’t need to pretend to be all super cheerful on my birthday.

Nobody was saying ‘hope you’re having a great day’ or ‘what are your plans for the celebration’. It would have actually been quite hard to answer questions like that.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to but rather have received lots of support and people’s personal experiences of a similar nature. One of my presents from James was a projector. We are yet to find the perfect spot for it but we quite enjoyed using it and watched Jules. I liked it while James snoozed a bit.

Projector film night

Thursday 2 May 2024

Birthday walk

Needless to say, we were happy we didn’t have any plans and could do what brought us most comfort. We decided to go on a walk which was very calming and therapeutic. We were just repeating how strange this all is and hugging.
Monday 29 April to Friday 3 May 2024


Every day apart from Thursday when it was my birthday I was at the lab. It was especially helpful to be there on Friday. At 9am I was pouring tears at home but at 1pm I was already absolutely ecstatic about being all dressed in the clean room (I looked like that but I didn’t have my phone to take pictures). Here is an example of how I looked like.

Our tips to MSSL were tricky as usual because of the road works. Sometimes there are truly road works but most of the time it’s just a warning for insurance purposes. On one of those occasions I had to get off and walk the rest of the way because James couldn’t drive me further. It was actually nice to walk and I had hot tea in a take away cup with me.

A few times James and I walked through the MSSL grounds before I got to the building. James played football a little (so sexy!) and I showed him my allotment.

James playing football at MSSL
Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May 2024


Growing, planting and repotting was a big activity this week. It’s all started with purchasing berry bushes on Monday morning and then spending half of Monday taking care of my plot at the MSSL allotments. I planted gooseberry and raspberry bushes. Later this week I planted blackcurrant bush in our house garden and repotted a couple of indoor plants. The older I become, the more enjoyable and therapeutic I find it all.
Anna in the garden centre buying berry bushes
Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May 2024

Nature therapy

We definitely needed quite a few walks this week. We didn’t do that enough lately but it was a necessity now. We had a walk along Shelley Route in the neighbourhood, we had a walk to the Warnham Spring Fair. We both expected the Chelsea Flower Show so were a little disappointed but flowers in people’s gardens on the way were very lovely. On Sunday we had a quick walk around the house and saw lots of footprints of deers that we usually see from the window.

Anna on the walk in West Sussex
Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May 2024

Still life

Noticing life, light and nature is the theme of this week. We absolutely should have had a sunrise walk on Sunday morning which was also Russian Easter. On Saturday many of our windows were fixed in time for next winter. Now the exterior side of all our windows can be professionally washed that I cannot wait for.

In the evening I made a very spontaneous decision to watch Poor Things which we both really enjoyed watching. It made us talk about choices and life events of the main character Bella, which events of our lives formed us, which mistakes or experiences were necessary to shape us and lead to where we are right now, who we would be if James and I met, let’s say, when I was 18 and he was 22 and we were together since.

We didn’t come to any conclusions. We only know that we are now people we want to be and we were not like that when we were younger. Many of my life events were incredibly challenging and I am not sure I’d want to go through those again.

Sunrise in Warnham
If you are curious, here are our living costs for this week 18 of the year (29 April to 5 May 2024).
29 April – 5 May 2024
One week of rent of a one bedroom house in West Sussex but near Surrey Hills
No bills for a change which almost confused us. They are all coming out soon
Paid for parking at the Horsham Hospital
Shopping for the week
Anna’s birthday presents mainly
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