I met my new roommate today through the curtain. Her name is Lisa and she had a little boy named Archie last night. She also has a 15 and 13 year old who came in for a visit today. She went into labour last week and they managed to hold it off for another week and a bit using Panadol – that gives me hope. Though she was 30 weeks pregnant when her waters broke.
I instantly liked her. She’s down to earth and easy to talk to and that stops me from going mad talking to myself, or you or the strange voice in my head that keeps me calm. Her birth story made me laugh, (which made me nervous I’d go into labour myself), and kept my mind on something other than what may inevitably happen to you one day soon. I really don’t want to think about it.
Lisa is under the care of the same high risk team as we are. Yesterday at about 10am she felt a weird feeling in her abdomen. She called the nurse, who called the doctor, (these things take time), and an hour or so later he came and gave her an examination.
“No. Not in labour yet. False alarm. Just stay put as long as you can.”
By twelve she still didn’t feel right, so being completely confident in herself in a way that I am not, (and probably never will be), she gave herself an examination. She called the nurse back.
“I can feel a foot! He’s definitely coming!”
So the nurse got the doctor again.
“No, I promise, he hasn’t engaged, I can’t feel a thing in there!”
So she examined herself again. In the doctor’s presence. The doctor called a more senior doctor, (a consultant), to come and have a look. By now it is almost five. He ordered what’s called a speculum, which is a really horrid and uncomfortable way for a doctor to see what’s going on with a baby in utero. You don’t need the details.
The way Lisa describes it, the doctors face went pale and he turned to the registrar and said – “Order a c section. Now.”
At 6pm little Archie made his earthly debut. Lisa finishes her story with a flourish – “by the time they got him out he was sitting in my pelvis like a swing, both feet dangling down.”
Maybe it’s only funny to someone whose been there, but a little birth humour has made me forget myself. And reminded me that a mum should never, ever ignore her instincts. I can’t explain it still, but I feel even more strongly that you will be okay.
All week you have been asking me about Miss Ruth – when can we go to Miss Ruth? We left Lachie with Nana and Pa and go to Miss Ruth for ballet. You are wearing your Angelina Ballerina Tutu, but you don’t yet have ballet shoes like the other girls. You tell me you’ll behave and throw no tantrums if I buy you some. We make a deal – no tantrums for a week and you’ll have your shoes. You watch Miss Ruth intently and then fly around the room, light as a feather. Moments like this I am reminded of what we could have lost. You’re so perfect.
Later after you are asleep I take Jack for a run and listen to some music. I hear a song by Florence and the Machine – Shake it Out – that I listened to a lot after you came out of hospital. I remember the words so clearly;
“And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me…
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake it out”
It was that second line that always got me. A shot in the dark aimed right at my throat. The doctors kept telling me it wasn’t my fault, but still it felt so personal. Like someone was out to get us. Now, three years later I identify much more with the last line. Time to shake it out.