Jay is nearly 28 weeks. Despite the doctors being absolutely convinced that she would go into labour at 26 weeks, she has done a wonderful job of keeping Baby C in utero and now he will be bigger and stronger. His survival rate just shot up as well.
It has been a difficult week for Jay. Being in the medihotel has the advantage of a good night’s sleep, but has the disadvantage of not being checked up regularly during the day by midwives. The isolation is getting to her. She is bored and I worry about her depression getting worse.
“I don’t know why I am here. I may as well be at home.”
“The nurse explained love that you could come home but the risk to the baby if it comes early and is a quick labour is high – there would be no-one to resuscitate the baby if he needed it. She said that the biggest determinant for a successful outcome is where you are located at the time of the birth.”
Jay knows this, but I fear it does nothing to ease her boredom.
I go in every day to see her. We go downstairs, have coffee and a danish, and then chat. We go back upstairs to her room and watch TV. After a fashion, I then leave and usually someone else will visit later in the afternoon and evening. On occasion Em has not made it in the evenings and this has upset Jay. I understand. I would not be happy either if my partner did not come to see me every day, but I cannot decide if that is an unreasonable expectation or a legitimate gripe. She texts me I’m teary.
I know love, I will be there in the morning, I text back.
And I do arrive, every morning. We are on this journey together, after all.
Today, I have to take Jay to the pathology lab for diabetes blood test. She is not happy. “Right, Jay,” the nurse says, “I need to take blood, then you need to drink this glucose drink, then I need to take some blood one hour later and then again an hour after that.”
Jay looks at me. “Why do I have to do this, I don’t have diabetes.”
“I know you probably don’t, love, but they have to check and at 28 weeks is the best time, I suppose. It is important to know.” Jay does not like needles.
“Small scratch,” the woman says. Jay winces. She drinks the sickly sweet drink.
We hang around in her room for an hour and go back to the lab. A different nurse takes the blood this time. Again we hang around in Jay’s room for an hour. “Mum, I’m feeling faint I am so hungry, I am sure this is not good for the baby.” No, I wouldn’t imagine starving since 9pm the night before is good for the baby.
“It will be alright love. Only another hour and you can have lunch. My treat.”
The hour passes and we head on down to the lab. The first nurse is taking the blood this time. I feel we are playing pass the parcel with Jay. She attempts to take the last vial of blood, but misses the vein. She digs around. Jay is clearly in pain and appears to be going a bit pale. Eventually, the nurse decides to try another vein. Bingo! She’s in.
I treat Jay to a pizza for lunch. She has lunch waiting for her in the ward, but she prefers pizza. She keeps showing me her war wounds. Four little prick marks in her arms.
We head back to the ward after her lunch. A gentleman wreaking of smoke enters the lift. I wager a guess that he has some mental illness. He is extremely dishevelled, twitchy and his pyjamas are hospital issue. A guess, but having been a nurse in a previous life, they are usually correct. Jay has her phone in her lap.
“Nice phone cover,” the man says.
“Thanks.” Jay keeps her head down. Her back is to me as I have wheeled her into the lift. The man is next to Jay.
“Can I have a look at it?” he says.
“Can I have a look,” he says again, holding out his hand. She nervously hands the phone over. He looks at it and as the lift pings on our floor, he hands it back. I quickly wheel her to the ward, checking slightly over my shoulder to make sure we are not being followed (just in case). We get into the room and Jay gets onto the bed. I can see she is upset.
“Are you okay, love?”
She bursts into tears. “I didn’t know what to do, I just didn’t know what to do.”
“He didn’t mean any harm love and if he had kept the phone, I would have said something.”
She looks at me. “Why didn’t you say No, Mum, that he couldn’t have the phone.” She feels I haven’t protected her. I suddenly feel awful. Did I not protect her?
“Well, in my experience, it is usually best not to provoke people like that. They don’t usually mean any harm. We were in an enclosed space, and I was afraid that if we refused him, it might provoke him. I didn’t want that.”
Jay nods, and I hug her as she cries softly, clearly very shaken up by the experience. This shouldn’t happen in hospital. This whole thing should NOT be happening to my daughter, dammit!! She is way too young!
Eventually it is time for me to leave. Jay is tired. I draw the blinds and turn off the room light, kiss her lightly on the forehead and whisper for her to get some sleep. I know that is exactly what I am going to do when I get home, but not before I stop at Red Rooster and get some chicken for dinner.
Another day and Baby C is still in there. How lucky can we possibly get?