Jay has made it to 26 weeks! According to the internet research we have been doing, at least 70% of babies born at this gestation survive until term. That has to be good doesn’t it – two thirds make it to go home?
I wake up early, get ready and let Dee know that I am off to the hospital. I grab a quick slice of toast to put something in my tummy.
Jay is sitting up in bed when I arrive.
“Are you okay?” She does not look comfortable.
“I’m getting a lot of pain today, Mum. That and a fair few tightenings.”
“Just take it easy. Lie back and relax.”
She lies back but it is obvious she is not comfortable. The ward is busy and there are a lot of visitors all celebrating the three little lives that have made their appearance.
“I won’t be able to take mine home.”
I stroker her hair. “I know love. But we will come and visit him every day.” Seriously, universe, this is the way it works? Putting a 19 year old through this?
“What about bonding Mum? Will he bond with me?”
“Of course he will angel. He has heard your voice and he will hear it when you speak to him in the incubator.”
One of the midwives arrives. “I’m sorry, Jay, the doctors from the NICU are so busy that they can’t make it today. They will try to make it tomorrow.”
Jay is clearly upset. “Mum, I need to know what to expect. I want to see how small he will be. Em and I need to see the unit.”
I try to explain that in a unit that can accommodate only 50 babies, they are heaving with 58 but that it will happen.
The midwife returns to give Jay her second steroid injection. She looks panicked. “It’s okay baby girl. Deep breath and it will be all over.”
The midwife does a terrible job. Jay cries out in pain and tightens her buttock. I glare at the woman in a way that a mamma bear does. She inserts the viscous fluid really slowly and Jay starts to cry. She digs her nails deep into my arm. I glare at the midwife even more. I hope she can feel the glare boring into her!
Later, Jay is calm, but bored and I notice her mood is indicative of the depression that has dogged her in the past. “Do you want to play i-Spy?”
“No, mum, I don’t. What are we going to spy? Curtains, beds?’ She is fed up. “Can you please tidy up all this stuff? I have way too much stuff!” It is true, we have overcompensated for her incarceration. I tidy up.
“Okay, you’re right. I-spy is a bad idea, what do you want to do?”
“What can I do? I’m stuck here.”
Em eventually arrives and I feel it is my time to exit. I need to get back to see Dee and JC. Jay understands. I kiss her softly on the cheek. “I’m very proud of you Jay. You are coping so very well and managing to keep Baby C in the place he needs to be.”
She smiles. I cuddle her and leave.
After paying the $16 parking fee, the drive home is a quick one, thankfully. Dee is happy to see me although I notice he is tired and has clearly been on the go all day. Nevertheless, dinner is waiting for me. Dee’s dad has brought us roast lamb and I realize just how hungry I am.
I relay the events of the day – quick story.
I wonder if I am going to receive a phone call in the night to say that Jay has gone into labour. I think about the babies and wonder what Baby C will look like. I wonder if it is okay to hope that he will survive and be absolutely normal. As I drift off to a fitful sleep, I just wonder and wonder at all the what-ifs of this unfolding drama.