Fluids

A clump of cells with no heartbeat yet. Blood on my underpants. Tears. The fluids of potential motherhood. Doctors examining my uterus with a camera. You were still there; the size of a kidney bean.

A leap of faith.

Now, you, the size of a lemon. A heartbeat that contains the primal rhythm of the universe. Nails. Nasal bone. Ten little fingers.

A boy.

Twenty weeks later I felt you move, but you didn’t do it often enough. The Internet said a glass of cold water would make you kick; my friends said hot chocolate. Old wives tales from back home mentioned chili.  My online mothers’ group suggested orange juice—I tried them all but you never kicked.

I had daily nightmares. In those sweaty nights I would close my eyes and when sleep finally came I would see you trying to leave my uterus. You would move slowly, like a snail, working with the blood flow to get to the main arteries and crawl out of my body through my left ear, like Gargantua.

Another leap of faith.

You barely reached the size of a cantaloupe. A man held my shoulders. A nurse told me not to move. Then it hit. The anaesthetic entering my spine, travelling through my legs, numbing my lower body. Was your heart still beating? They placed me on a bed and wheeled me to surgery. Hands and familiar voices told me I would feel pressure on my abdomen. They blocked my view with a blue curtain. The obstetrician was talking about his son. I tried to find the reflection of my insides on the walls, on the surgical lamp… somewhere, but they had made sure no mother could see her own blood and fat and waters.

And then you cried.

Someone wrapped and placed you in my hands. There you were, covered in blood, vernix and hair. A boy with black hair. I caressed your red cheeks while the doctors stitched my uterus.

They wheeled us out of the surgical theatre. You in my arms. I didn’t want to drop you. I held you a bit tighter and you cried. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. They snatched you and took you away. They unwrapped you, held you by the legs, and weighted you. Please give him back.

A midwife placed you on my belly, still stained with our blood. Where they supposed to do that? What was the plan? You couldn’t move, but you did—a primitive crawl. You moved like a wounded soldier—swollen, purplish, hungry. You latched to my engorged breasts and you drank my milk—the fluid of life

Bring it on

Canwest News Service/Wikipedia
Canwest News Service/Wikipedia

During the past seven months, I’ve read heaps about pregnancy. What to expect when you are expecting has become my bedside companion. I’ve read every page and still go back to the bits that explain what happens every week. I also spent many hours reading Essential Baby blogs and forums, Fit Pregnancy articles, Marie Mongan’s Hypnobirthing books, and other resources. All this is preparation for my big date with whom is already the centre of my world.

But I think that all those hours reading about pregnancy and birthing haven’t done anything to prepare me for the imminent arrival of the tiny person who won’t be able to tell me what he needs or wants. So off I went to the bookshops. This is what I’ve learnt:

For the past 32 weeks, my baby has been quite comfy in my uterus. He’s all cosy in there, protected from extremely loud noises and other nasty things. There are no pungent smells or people pinching what I picture as the most adorable cheeks in the world. But in six or seven weeks, things will change. Soon his movements won’t be confined by the size of my body, and the rhythmic pumping or my heart – which occasionally misses a bit – won’t be his sole companion. He’ll be scared.

My voice won’t be muffled, and he will finally hear his dad’s voice clearly. Chirping birds or the TV might scare him, and the bright lights may hurt his developing eyes. He will see and hear the world, but all will be new and a potential source of stress. My arms will be his comfort and I can’t wait to carry him around and kiss his perfect head. He will need to hear my heartbeat to feel safe, and I’ll make sure I hold him close to my chest.

He won’t have a constant supply of food and will be VERY hungry. I have to make sure I feed him constantly and when he wants to. If right now I need to eat every three or four hours to make sure we don’t get dizzy, chances are it’ll be the same once he’s outside.

Although babies are resilient, I’ll have to be extra careful. Any false movement and my little one will feel that he’s about to fall or that he’s in danger. I’ll have to be gentle.

He needs to sleep, but he needs to be comfy and monitored. I’ve found amazing resources here.

I can’t remember what life was like for me when I was a baby. Mrs M says that I was a horrible baby because I cried all day long. She also says that the only thing that would keep me calm were my father’s arms – there are pictures in which he’s holding me so tight to his chest that I’m sure it was his heartbeat what I wanted to hear to feel safe. She also says I wouldn’t eat at set hours, which I think is normal as babies don’t have an agenda; they just cry when they need food and that can be at midday or at 3pm.

I have stopped dreading the sleepless night, the sore nipples, and the pain that my body will feel once the little guy is out and everything needs to shrink back to its normal size. I know I’ll do everything in my power to make my little person feel loved and safe. He’s so loved, and we have been waiting him for so long, that I would be silly to think that the lack of sleep will make me or my husband love the baby less. If a few weeks of almost madness are the price to pay for having a family, bring it on. We’re ready