Groundhog Day and the imperfections of motherhood – 33 weeks and 3 days

By the time I wake up at 7am, my body knows it does not want to get out of bed.  Despite a good 10 hours of sleep, it is not ready.  I force it to get up.  I need to get JC off to school and get on up to the hospital to see Jay.

Jay is dressed, made up, sitting on the made bed and looking much better when I breeze into the hospital.  She is in bed 26, which is the exact same bed she was in when she was first admitted some 7 weeks ago.  The irony is not lost on her.  She smiles and points to her bed.  “The exact same bed!”  I nod and laugh.

“How are you feeling love?”

“Yeah, okay.”  Her voice still shows her disappointment, more at not being able to go home, than not having a baby, I suspect.

“Did the girls come to see you last night?”

“Yes, but they got told off for coming to visit after visiting hours.  I was so annoyed.  I only got ten minutes with them.”

“Did you not explain about them being from the UK for this week only?”

“I didn’t get chance.  She just told us off and then walked away.”  I could see Jess was upset.  Angry that someone could actually tell her friends not to be there, especially after the day she had just been through.

We talk some more.  I can hear babies crying in the next room, but thank heavens there are no babies in the room that Jay is in.  Two of the beds are empty.  However, not for long.  A young girl (woman) is brought through in a wheel chair.  Judging by the pink balloon and flowers she is holding, it is obvious she has just had a baby girl.  She is put in the bed opposite Jay.

“Congratulations,” I say.

She beams.  “Thank you.”

“When was she born?”

“At 8am this morning.  She arrived very early – at 35 weeks.  So she is in the special care nursery.”  Jay and I look at each other.

“Jay had that yesterday.  She is 33 weeks and went into labour but then it stalled.”  We all laugh.  I’m not sure why, but we do.  “Have you given her a name yet?”

“Yes, Abby Georgia.”

“What a beautiful name.”  Jay and I nod.

She looks so young.  I have to know.  “How old are you?” I ask.

“I’m 24.” she says.

I’m surprised, but I hope I don’t show it.  “Jay is 19.” Jay looks at me.  I feel like I shouldn’t have said anything.  “She is under the Young Women’s Clinic.  They have been fantastic.” I say quickly.

“Oh, I am also under a team.  I’ve had an eating disorder for a number of years and they have supported me really well.”  I love her honesty!

“Was your mum with you when Abby was born?”  She nods.

“You know, I didn’t even know I was pregnant until I was 27 weeks.  Because of my disorder I don’t have periods.  I was feeling really sick and tired and they sent me for an ultrasound and told me I was 27 weeks.”  I am dumbfounded.

“So, you only had 8 weeks to get used to the idea?” then, before she could answer, “Didn’t you feel the movements of the baby?”

“I did, I just didn’t put two and two together.  Yes, only 8 weeks.  I have nothing at home.  I have yet to do the nursery.  I thought I had time, and then yesterday I went into labour, five weeks before the due date.”  She is a lovely girl.  She leaves the ward momentarily.

“I’ve just made you a friend,” I say to Jay.  Her look says she is not impressed.  The girl returns and asks one of the nurses to take her to the nursery to see her baby.

“Here,” I say, “do you want to borrow my camera?  I can email you the photos.  It’d be nice to have something of her on the day she was born.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet.  I was going to use my iPhone, but a camera is so much better.  Thank you.”  she heads off with my camera.

“That is a bit trusting of you, Mum.”  I am beginning to feel like I’m in an episode of Modern Family.  My child is clearly exasperated with me.

“Well, where is she going to go with it?” I ask.

“I don’t know.  It’s just very trusting.”  The penny hasn’t dropped and doesn’t until I get home.  Jay is upset that this girl has got her baby, gets to cuddle her, with me giving her my camera to witness the happy event; and Jay doesn’t.  All I say is, “Well, what have I lost in the end?  A $300 camera?  If she stole it, the karma would be on her, not me.”  I’m hoping that Jay sees that sometimes we need to see past the mistrust of society and just be kind.  Kindness over stuff.  Instead, I should have seen that this is painful for my daughter.  A seemingly never-ending loop of events that never seems to end in the product of a baby to cuddle.

The girl returns.  “Did you get some photos?” I ask.

“I did,” she says.  We all look at the photos.

“Oh look, Jay.  Isn’t she cute?”  Could I have tortured my daughter any more?  How could I have been so cruel?

The girl decides to go for a sleep and Jay and I chat.  “I want to go home tomorrow,” she says.

“I know love, I know.”

“Will you still take my friends to Mornington tomorrow, mum?”

“Where should I take them?”  I don’t really want to go without Jay.  Whilst I know the one girl as she went to school with Jay, I have never met the other.  Plus I have no idea what two 19 year olds from the UK would like to do.

“Maybe take them to the hot springs, like you said.”

“Yes, that was when you were going to be there too.  They won’t want to do that with just me.  I don’t want to do it without you.  How about I take them to the market, then up to Arthur’s seat?”

“Oo, that’s a good idea.  Yeah, do that.  Then, you can pick me up before you go.”

“If you are discharged.”

“I will be discharged.  I can’t stay here another day.  Please don’t let me be in here for another few weeks.”  Even I don’t want her in there for another few weeks, but we do these things for the safety of our children.

“Let’s just see what the doctors say.  If they release you, I will come and pick you up.”

I head home after lunch.  I am tired and my brain feels foggy.  I ran out of my antidepressants two days ago and I can feel a dark cloud beginning to settle.  By the time Dee arrives home I am really beginning to feel down, especially as the full realisation of my cruelty to Jay hits me.  The house is a mess and I am in no mood to deal with it.  Yep, the black dog has arrived.

I write.  Writing helps me to clear my mind.  I ignore Dee for most of the evening.  I don’t intend to ignore him, but if I am writing, downloading, then I can’t think about all of my inadequacies and all of the guilt that that brings with it.  I write furiously and we barely speak.  Tiredness is my enemy.  It is the root of all the demons inside of me.  It has gripped me these past two days and it has unleashed the black dog.  Why did I have to force those photos on Jay, engage that girl to talk about her baby?  What was I thinking.  Just write, keep writing.  Let it all go.

When Dee has turned off all the lights, the TV and I find myself writing alone in the dark, it occurs to me that I need to be with my husband.  I need to moderate this new-found passion.  I need to learn to write and keep one foot in the land of the living and loving.

Just as I am about to retire to bed, my phone buzzes. I look at the clock.  10pm.  Is this it?  I look at my phone. Can you pick up my friends at 10am tomorrow at my house, pick up some jeans and if they release me, pick me up?  I smile.  The threat of a premature labour is not going to stop my little girl from spending some time with her friends.

I text back.  Yes. then decide to join my very neglected husband in bed.

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