Today is a historic day. Nothing to do with blue passports or going to war with Spain. It’s the last day I’ll be truly alone. I’m sitting on my sofa at 8.44am debating what to do next. I got up with my husband to take our furry first born son to doggy day care. It’s the last time we’ll take him there together for a while. It’s the last time he’ll go there as an only child. Tonight he’ll come home, then later we’ll drop him off with grandparents and when he next comes home (as long as everything goes to plan) he’ll have a brother or sister.
I’m listening to the final 15 minutes of the Today show on Radio 4. I need a poo, which I plan to enjoy. I imagine having time to enjoy a relaxed poo goes out the window with the time to debate what to do next or think about having a relaxed poo. Then I might have breakfast, or more realistically, I think I’ll get back into bed. I still have a pre-baby notion of tiredness, which is I’m not perfectly rested, therefore I’m tired. At some point I need to shower, shave my legs, wash and dry my hair, and moisturise. I’ll give my feet some much needed tlc.
It’s raining outside, but I’ll plant some sweet pea seeds in the garden at some point and collect cushion covers (now baby worthy and free of dog) from the dry cleaner. I thought I’d be structured over mat leave and catch up on the French lessons I missed through pregnancy and read the English books for my MA that baffled me on my first attempt. I still have all that to do. Rewatching the entire TV series of Sex and the City took priority. I’ve surprised myself by not wanting to read the novels I never prioritise, either. The arrival of Runner Bean has been too distracting. I wonder if my plan of reading these aloud to Runner Bean pans out…
I have my pre-op at midday. I think they do the normal midwife tests: blood pressure, Doppler for RB’s heartbeat, urine sample for infection (all the stuff that reassures me RB is okay in there). Plus there’s operation prep. I get told what will happen tomorrow, I sign consent forms (I imagine saying operations carry serious risks), have tests for MRSA. And I start to get even more nervous before reminding myself, “My mind and body are strong, I’m not going through 9 months of pregnancy to not survive the final challenge well. Breathe, fucker, breathe.”
This afternoon I’ll do some more debating about what to do. I’ll enjoy having the time to think about nothing and breathe. Put away the last things around the house that aren’t in their homes. I’ll finally wash the Bumbo my sister gave me, though we won’t need it for a while. I might debate reading something, try a few pages, get distracted by Twitter and Trump and Brexit, go back to my book to realise it’s time to collect our furry first born from doggy daycare. He’ll stink and be filthy. My husband will shower him, I’ll dry him. If he has an ounce of energy after legging it round a field for 10 hours we’ll chase him round the table a few times, throw some tennis balls around the front room. Then he’ll curl up, exhausted, like a little fox. He’ll have dinner and we’ll have dinner. We’ll snuggle with him on the sofa. Tell him how much we love him and promise he’s not being replaced. He’s still our beloved boy. Then we’ll take him to his grandparents til we’re home from hospital.
My husband and I will spend the rest of the evening in a strange limbo. Nerves and excitement will mingle. We’ll probably sit thinking a little while before blurting out a fear or hope or dream. We’ll discuss it, then finish the conversation with either ‘this is nuts’ or ‘so surreal’ or ‘shiiiiiitttttt’. We’ll keep feeling Runner Bean in my tummy. Feeling him or her push his or her bum out on one side, and his or her heel out on the other. We’ll imagine feeling his or her body tomorrow without the wall of my skin between us. I’ll imagine holding the powerful little feet that have caused Toblerone shapes to protrude from my body. I’ll imagine seeing how small and delicate yet strong they are and I’ll marvel at nature and biology. We’ll do the motions to go to bed at some point. Then we’ll lie there. I guess at some point we’ll fall asleep.
Tomorrow we’ll wake up. We’ll shower, dress. My husband will have breakfast. I won’t eat or drink in line with my pre-op fast. We’ll put the bag in the car, get in the car and drive to hospital. We’ll check in, try and get a private room (first come first served) then we’ll sit and wait. The nerves and excitement of the night before will intensify. We’ll probably internalise more than we externalise. At some point, we’ll walk to the theatre, I’ll lie on a bed, my husband by my side, and it will all begin.
The ending I’m projecting is our son or daughter is raised in the air, healthy and happy, as am I. After the initial checks he or she is handed to my husband for immediate skin to skin while I’m stitched back up. A few hours pass of us taking it all in. My toes start to tingle. We keep staring at our child, amazed, in love, overwhelmed, the fear still there, and we start to take in our new life, new responsibilities, new adventures.
While I chose a c-section over a vaginal birth as it’s more predictable and controlled, of course there are multiple ways the next few days might pan out. Not all of them we’d choose. That’s the adventure of parenting. It’s the adventure of life. As much as we like to believe we are, we’re not in control. There are forces greater than us, whether you believe that’s a god, fate, karma, luck, or just nature. The only thing we can do is our best, and hope that it’s enough. And when it isn’t, we figure out the problem we face, and we think about how we might solve it. Then, hopefully with luck on our side, we give our chosen solution a go. And we hope for the best.