It’s 4am, and I can’t sleep. I had a strange dream, and that led to lots of thinking, which is never conducive to getting back to sleep. I dreamt about hospitals. Being in one, visiting people I knew who were there, and the trickiest part, dreaming that my dad was visiting me there. That part was the most real. I remember my hand on his arm, feeling the warmth of his skin, and the strangeness of the vibration of his fistula (he was on dialysis for many years).
Last week, I was given the eviction date for my baby boy. I’ll be having a c section at 38.5 weeks. It’s a strange thing to know in advance the exact date your baby will be born. Of course I knew there’d be a c section happening, and let’s face it, there’s not really any fun way for a baby to come out! That said, it’s got me thinking a lot about hospitals, my last two c sections, and wondering what it will be like this time.
My first was born via emergency c section, 26 hours after I had been induced. It was surreal and dramatic, full of fear and confusion (perhaps it is always a bit like that the first time?). I remember the slowness of the induction. Waiting for things to “happen”. Wanting to be shut away alone as the contractions increased. It felt quite primal, despite the medical intervention that got me there. I remember my sister and my husband trying to entertain themselves through the long, and rather boring hours (for them, anyway). No iPhones back then! Arguing with my husband about whether he was allowed to video the event – no bloody way, as far as I was concerned. Then suddenly things got very serious very quickly. A whole bunch of people rushing into the room, strange faces telling me what they were about to do to me, being rushed down a corridor to the operating room, the terrified look on my husbands face, and that painful wait to hear my baby cry, and know that he was ok.
I spent the next few days shell shocked, while I tried to process exactly what had just happened. As I lay there in pain post surgery, doped up on morphine, I thought of my dad, and how brave he was to have so many operations, so many times. Despite what people say about mummies who are “too posh to push”, a c section is really bloody painful. I know it isn’t always like this, but I couldn’t walk upright for weeks. Getting out of bed, out of chairs, pretty much everything, hurt for months. I still have a numb section on my stomach from the nerve damage. After that, I was pretty nervous about the prospect of baby number 2.
My second c section was very different. I had a date booked at 39 weeks. At just over 36 weeks, my daughter decided that was too long to wait, and I went into labour. 10 minutes after I got to the hospital, the spinal was in, and I was off to the operating room. 30 minutes later, she was out. It was all so calm and civilised. While I was in recovery, I chatted to the nurses about their holiday plans. Then up to my room for the first proper cuddle. It was surreal, in that it was so fast and calm, but had none of the terror of the first time around! The recovery was painful, but no where near as bad as the first time.
I am expecting (hoping?) this time will be more like the second. It’s still hard not to feel fearful though. Scared of the procedure, scared of something going wrong, scared of the pain and recovery. I won’t be able to take as many painkillers (I can no longer tolerate NSAIDs), and that makes me nervous.
This time around, I also have two older children. I think they will be helpful, and love their little brother. I also suspect they will be a bit cranky and resentful of the amount of time he takes up.
All of the contemplation and waiting of pregnancy is a great motivator for creativity. When pregnant with my son, I painted about 70 watercolours. With my daughter, I took up knitting and did lots of abstract acrylics.
This time around, I’m making endless flowers. Watercolours, pen drawings, collages and embroideries. It’s like there is a surge of ideas, and an urgency to get it all out NOW, while I still have the chance. I kind of like that while my body is performing the ultimate act of creativity, my artistic self is on such a roll.
Here are some of the things I’ve been making…