Scan day. The excitement of seeing four different white walls to this one is slightly overshadowed by the fact that I have to get out of bed again and into a wheelchair for the scan. Prof Morris comes in first thing and says hello, how are you, to which I answer “Still pregnant.” He smiles and tells me I’m doing a great job. Dr Bland, who I haven’t met before comes in to see me. His best friend works with Dad at work and he heard I was in here so he came in to cheer me up. He’s come in a few times to see me; someone he didn’t even know existed until a few days ago. People are so completely awesome sometimes. It does cheer me up, and he wishes me luck for the scan.
Dad comes in to see us. He’s visibly exhausted and carrying the weight of the world. I can see he’s being pulled all over the place, and I want him to know he’s doing a great job holding it all together, but somehow words seem pretty meaningless in this context.
The sonographer takes the scan, laughs at you dancing around my tummy like a little butterfly and tells me you are doing perfectly well and are totally healthy. There is enough fluid. Then she frowns and cocks her head. “Hmmm.”
Dad and I exchange glances – worried, curious, what the hell does that mean, type glances. Every scan we’ve had between you and your brother there is a moment where the sonographer goes quiet and all you want them to do is tell you what the blobs on the screen mean. Their silence is unnerving, but usually we are sure there’s nothing to worry about. In this case I’m not so sure.
She smiles again, and shakes her head. “Sorry, you must hate it when we do that.” I exhale just a little.
“Is everything okay?”
“Yes it is. It’s just you are less dilated than you were. That’s not really possible.”
“Less?” Dad asks hopefully.
“Yeah. You’ve gone from 3cm to 1.5. I can’t explain it.”
“What does that mean?” I’m sceptical and don’t want to get my hopes up.
“Not much really. Just that you’re not in labour and don’t look like going into labour naturally. But-“
She’s forgotten herself a little bit and realised she may have been giving us false hope.
“It doesn’t really change much. The membranes are still bulging and that won’t change. At some point the pressure on the baby will force your waters to break.”
“Do you think I’ll make 26 weeks?”
“I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it.” Your Dad’s crestfallen face is worse than the prognosis.
“Look, you just never know. You don’t. I don’t know how you are still pregnant but you are. All my training says you should be in labour right now. You’re not, you’re still here. We just don’t know what’s going to happen. But if I was to give a professional opinion it would be the same as before. I don’t see how you could last another day, let alone a week. But don’t lose heart. You keep proving us wrong!”
Everything is quiet for a while when we get back to the room. Dad stays with me a while so I can take my mind off what’s going on with some rubbishy television. One of his millions of jobs as he sees it, other than selling the house, looking after your brother and the dog, getting the house ready for inspection and visiting me, is to keep me relaxed so I can give you the best chance. What he doesn’t realise and could never understand is that I can feel you fighting inside me. I know that you’ll be okay. (He definitely wouldn’t understand the voice in my head, I haven’t bothered to tell him. It might make him laugh, it might make him terrified, it might make him call the doctor and tell him I’m delusional. I’m not ready to take that risk. I just have to remember not to talk back to the voice while Dad is with me).
Halfway through a substandard crime drama Lachie comes bounding in for his daily visit, reminding us all that he indeed does own every room he enters. He breathes light and life into the room and suddenly the sterile white seems shades of cream. He giggles, chats loudly to me and shows me a new dance he’s been working on. Then he begs Dad for a wheelchair ride and I hear the nurses giggling in the distance as he squeals with laughter down the hall. He is completely infectious and spreads smiles like a wave down the ward. People just can’t help but grin when they see him. His exuberance is juxtaposed against the dourness of the hospital and I am smiling just listening to his special brand of chaos from a hundred metres away.
It’s the first time the three of us have been together for almost two weeks. I am refreshed.
We took a drive down to Canberra today for your cousin’s birthday. You are beside yourself with excitement. You love babies, (I think in part you like anything smaller than you), and especially Baby Liam. New surrounds are such a treat and you can’t wait to see the hotel. It’s exhausting being near you sometimes, you give off an energy that is irresistible. You flutter around the cabin with glee while your brother “sets up”, putting all his clothes and toiletries away. Wanting to keep some momentum, we are swiftly out to Questacon in the pouring rain. You delight in rain, (unless your hair has been neatly done – in which case you don’t like to get it wet), and mud and all things childish and refuse an umbrella, preferring instead to jump in muddy puddles wherever you can find them. After a dinner with Grandad, Ma and the rest of our family I expect you to fall asleep in the car, but instead you both have a second wind and stay huddled together under your bed sheets like two little conspiring thieves. You giggle until almost midnight. It’s always heartwarming to see the closeness between you both.