According to the widget on my phone, I have 35 days to go; I don’t because I know this baby will be arriving before its due date but even so I can’t help feeling that 35 days sounds simultaneously an eternity and an instant. In fact I have roughly the time between now and Xmas Day, which doesn’t feel very long at all.
Physically, this pregnancy has suddenly become very tough; I’m struggling miserably with hip pain through the night, which means I can’t lie on one side or another for more than half an hour at a time without waking up and through the day I’m having pubic bone pain I don’t recall ever having before. I think 6 pregnancies has just been ‘enough’ and two relatively close together pregnancies on top of age and that mean my bones and ligaments are no longer really on speaking terms 🙁 The worst of that is I wake up hurting, can’t get back to sleep and then I lie wake and fret until I cry, trying to second guess every last thing, frantically listening inwards to check I believe Marmite is still alive and okay and worrying about how to survive the next few days and weeks.
Emotionally I’m just shattered. I can’t really believe all is well for longer than he’s kicking about. I play through endless cycles of ‘did he just trap his cord?’ ‘Is that hiccups or a fit?’ and ‘when did I last feel him move, was that the last time ever?’ It is just utterly exhausting. I think the main problem is that, up until this pregnancy, I always believed that inside me was the safest place for my babies to be and that I COULD keep them safe. But whatever happened to Freddie happened while he was in me; I no longer feel like a safe place to keep a baby. I don’t trust myself to spot the problem happening again. Everything I ever believed about me knowing best, about normal pregnancies and normal birth has been undermined by what happened to him. I don’t know what happened to him and I feel like I am fighting an invisible monster. How do you make sensible judgements if you have no information at all on what might or might not be right or wrong?
In the end, someone missed something about Freddie. Either I did, the antenatal carers did, or a midwife or consultant did. Realistically, unless I am truly delusional, he didn’t die because of a straight-forward normal birth. If he didn’t, he died because of something that happened while I made him or while I carried him. How can I possibly assume this one is okay when I don’t know what that was?
It’s true Marmite is a feisty, happy, strong feeling baby. It is true, definitely true, that he doesn’t flop or move oddly. It is definitely true that when I was asked if I had any concerns while I was pregnant with Freddie, I could say yes immediately. It is definitely true that if I was asked this after Marmite was born, I would have to say no. Paranoia aside, Marmite doesn’t make me cringe when people talk about him being a living baby, I don’t find myself nervous when Josie kisses my bump, I don’t find myself worrying he will die or need a shroud. If something is wrong, I didn’t see it coming this time. That doesn’t stop me from worrying I’m making a mistake.
Having reached the end of my emotional tether, I rebooked my section date this week, not because I want to do it that way, but because I can’t go on being pregnant much longer and I want it over. I want it over at a time which should just about be safe for Marmite and which I can’t just about hold out till. I’m not convinced it wasn’t a selfish date choice. I am worried about it, I do not want a section and I’m miserable thinking about it but my options are incredibly limited and I need a time when I know we will have a familiar midwife, surgeon and paediatrician on hand. And someone caring for the girls. And someone there to be a third pair of hands if one or other of us fall apart.
Surprisingly, having managed to get in the door of the delivery suite and into a room, I didn’t really feel like I could do normal birth there either. By the time I arrived in a small, cosy, couch and pool room for Freddie’s birth, I was well and truly in a zone of my own. This room was clinical and frightening and the thought of being there for 10-12 hours of fear and being poked and monitored and fretted over and fretting nearly undid me. It was a nice room, but it was all beds and resus units and scary stuff and I don’t think I can manage to do that. In fact, I just cried and said “I don’t really want to have a baby at all”. The operating theatre was less dreadful in some ways, until I go home and remembered about regret and bleeding and recovery and all the other things that I hate about doing it that way.
I think I have to try and make my peace with the fact that, barring an early arrival on its own account, this is not going to be a birth I remember with awe and elation and pride. I just have to get through it. Max is very worried about the emotional impact of it and that I’ll go through the same misery I did after Josie. my gut feeling is there will be some of that but that I’m not the same person I was then and once the bar for success is as low as “no one dies” then – well…
I can wish for a spontaneous early, quick baby (dream on) who breathes and lives and is out before we know what has hit us, but I don’t think it will happen. Part of me wonders if I still do really believe I’m compromising both of us here for my emotional state. part of me knows the only way to really lay my guilt to rest is to have another normal birth that results in a living and healthy baby (and me, let’s not forget me). That is true, certainly, it would be the best and greatest and most wonderful outcome, but am I still just being pigheaded to hope for that? How many warnings does the universe need to give a girl after all? Marmite is a person, not my personal right to emotional recovery and smug one-upmanship on the world and medical profession. Really, what matters is that he gets to grow up in one piece.
All of those seem to be good and sensible reasons. of course, since then Marmite has got firmly head down and is now battering the exit with his head. And my head is thinking “but if he’s ready and able and clearly in so much better condition than Freddie was….”
And there goes my sanity for another day.