A Stitch in Time: 16 weeks
In the second instalment of Jane’s story, she’s now entering week 16 of her pregnancy, week 2 of her bed rest.
On the way out of the door this morning, while I was still half asleep, my husband reminded me that we were 16 weeks pregnant today and that we needed to read the weekly update on our baby from babycentre.co.uk, which we’ve been doing every week since we found out at 4 weeks pregnant. I was a) impressed he’d remembered as it’s normally me driving this and b) shocked that I’d so easily forgotten.
My husband said to me a couple of nights ago that he was worried that I wasn’t bonding with our unborn baby. For him, this was an amazingly sensitive and astute thing to say, and he’s right. Until a couple of weeks before the op, I was so excited thinking about the baby growing inside me, planning its future, thinking about the three of us, getting excited about when I can start nursery and clothes shopping. But all of a sudden I’ve stopped. I knew this, but don’t think I’d really admitted it to myself.
I believe there are a couple of reasons for this:
1. Four weeks ago I was told I would needed this operation to put a stitch in my cervix. My normal reaction to any kind of big news that will affect me is to get my ducks in order. So that is what I did in the run up to the op. I tried to get as much done at work as possible, and get everything tied down as I didn’t know how long I’d be out for. As I said, I love my job and did not want to let anyone down. This meant long hours in the office. I went shopping for a couple of basic maternity pieces as I didn’t know when I’d be up and about again. I got things ready for the hospital, and let all friends and family know what was going on. I remembered that I was having a baby, but my focus was on the operation and being as prepared in all areas of my life as possible. It left little time to get excited about actually having a baby.
2. The last few days with the operation and recovery, I was really focussed on me, not the baby. I knew that what I was doing was for the baby, but the physical aspect of going through the op and how I felt afterwards was all about me. I struggled again to be an excited mum-to-be when I was bed bound in hospital, linked to a drip and catheter, in pain and unable to move my legs.
3. Self-preservation. Let’s face it, I’m scared. This procedure works in 80-90% of cases. Everything that was mentioned in the hospital was an ‘if’. ‘If’ we make it to 24 weeks, we’ll review the bed rest situation. ‘If’ this procedure is successful for this baby, we’ll do the same for the next; however, if it doesn’t, we’ll have to try something else next time. If, if, if…Wow, isn’t it human nature to be cautious when you’re being told ‘if’? I want to sit here and plan the nursery, spend hours browsing the internet for cute baby things and list out everything we need to get. The problem is I can’t. My husband and I have both agreed we can’t put any planning into action until we’ve passed the 24-week mark, and even then, we have to be cautious. So how can I get excited about meeting my baby when I’m not allowed to plan for it? At the same time, imagine starting that planning and then losing the baby. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
So there we go, on the one hand I have to try and bond with this baby, talk to it, think about it, plan for it, get excited, but at the same time not put anything into action and not get too excited. Talk about a contradiction in terms. I know I have to try and do something, I just have to work out what and how.
I will start here. Today our baby is 16 weeks old. It is 12cm in length and its legs are finally longer than its arms. It can respond to light and dark and is growing taste buds. Today I am going to spend some time just picturing my baby as it is now (not in the future) and not worrying about what the future has to bring. Just being me and my baby today. Bring on week 16…