50 days

So here I am at 5am in my kitchen, listening to the wind howling around the house like it’s trying to get in and wondering how I am going to get through the next 50 days. Let me explain…

12 months ago my beautiful daughter Charly Jade was stillborn at 36 weeks. It was horrific and sudden and out of the blue. I had been in the hospital for a checkup on Wednesday and 2 days later she was gone. “Cord accident” they said. The poor little angel was wrapped up in her cord, it was 5 times around her neck, it tightened cutting off her oxygen and she went to sleep and didn’t wake up.

That was 12 months and 5 days ago. Today we went and got a 4d scan of our next baby, another girl. She is beautiful and healthy and perfect, but instead of being happy and excited the scan just made both of us more nervous and feel kind of sad and strange. Why? We couldn’t answer that question.

Because of what happened last year the hospital are bringing me in at 36 weeks this time for monitoring and will be doing a c-section at 37 weeks. That’s 50 days from now. Just over 7 weeks. 50 days, 1200 long hours, 72000 minutes…. ugh now it seems even longer than before. I want the baby to be born right now, but I know that wouldn’t be good for her. I want the time to go fast, but I hate living like that; living for a time in the future which might not even come. I would like to be able to go to sleep and wake up in 50 days with the baby born, healthy and safe, but that’s not possible. So what I want doesn’t come into it at all I suppose.

How about what I need? List time.

  • I need to stay healthy
  • I need to manage the gestational diabetes thats cropped up this trimester
  • I need to go to my hospital appointments
  • I need to go to physio appointments for pelvic girdle pain
  • I need to exercise as much as I can within my limits
  • I need to manage my mental health
  • I need to sleep

Sleep…that’s the one that is evading me. For the last 6 weeks I haven’t had a good nights sleep. This means I need to sleep during the day. That’s fine and all but gets very wearing after a while and being a night owl during the Irish winter means you miss what little daylight there is. Plus everyone else is asleep when you are awake so it can feel isolating.

Watch a movie, play a game, go online, write a blog, knit…all good suggestions, short term. Getting up after tossing and turning and fretting about baby’s movements for 4 hours the last thing you want to do is something creative or anything that requires any effort at all. All you want to do is sleep, but it is out of reach like the proverbial carrot. And we all know how important sleep is; how it changes your perception of things when you don’t get it and how everything is harder when you are exhausted.

So I think my problem is cyclical. I am worried about this baby so that makes me unable to sleep, which effects how I perceive things and makes me exhausted, which makes me more worried, which prevents me from sleeping and so on. Hmmm, what to do? I don’t think I am going to be able to turn off worrying. When you have lost a baby any following pregnancies have the joy and wonder sucked out of them. You are all too aware of all the things that can go wrong and this is what fills your mind. You are afraid to get excited, to make plans, to buy that outfit for your new baby, just in case. It’s terrible. People keep asking us if we are excited and we say no. Then you feel like a bad person and a worse parent. Not because you don’t want the baby, it’s the total opposite. You want it so badly that you are terrified of losing it. So easier not to plan or get excited. Easier to deal with each moment as it comes and keep your hopes and dreams secret from the universe in case it is feeling spiteful and rips them away from you again.

Is it healthy to do this? I have no idea. Probably not. I should probably be trying to come to terms with what happened and not let it effect this pregnancy or my feelings. To leave the past in the past and be able to move forward with hope and happiness. But I cannot. All I can do is to try and get through each and every minute that I am awake. And with the insomnia that is a lot of minutes. Not long after Charly was born someone said to me live from one cup of tea to the next. I liked that one. It means focus on now and don’t worry about the future. Focus on right now and drink your cup of tea. When it is finished wash the cup, dry it and put it away. Then in a little while have another cup of tea and focus on doing that. Make it with love as we say in my family. Take all the time in the world and do nothing apart from make the tea, drink the tea and tidy up afterwards. It’s a form of Mindfulness I suppose. Maybe that is how I get through the next 50 days.

I feel like I am at the bottom of a big big hill and I need to get to the top where she is waiting for me. The hill is very steep and covered in grass. There is no path. I really want to sprint up the hill super fast to get to meet her quickly, but I am old enough and wise enough to know that that won’t work and I will run out of breath and strength less than half way up. Then I’ll have to stop for a while, puffing and panting and it’ll make the rest of the climb even harder. What I need to do is to plod; plod slowly and methodically up the hill. Take one step at a time and remember that every step I take is making a difference. Maybe I should stop and admire the view on my way up too. Pausing every now and then to turn around and look back over the way I have come. Marvelling at how far I have come might make the bit of the climb left seem a little shorter.

I could do this with photographs, looking back over photos of the last year. Organising them, printing them, getting photo albums and putting them in order. Finding a place for them all in the house and selecting ones that I want to get printed big and hang on the wall. It will kill time, but more than that it will remind me of what I’ve done, where I’ve been and who I am. Maybe it will help with perspective. Maybe it won’t help at all. Worth a try though I think.

Well this has certainly been a useful 40 or so minutes! I actually feel lighter and it is good to get things out of my head and on “paper”. I didn’t write this for sympathy, or to moan and complain. I wrote it to help me make a bit of sense of what is going on inside my head and heart. I wasn’t expecting to come up with an idea to try but there you go, the subconscious really is the most remarkable thing.

The baby is kicking away right now so I know she is fine. I am going to go to bed and see if sleep comes for a few hours. Then tomorrow (today) I will have lots of cups of tea, get some fresh air in my yard, knit a bit and start organising photos to print from the last 12 months. And then 50 days will be 49 days and I’ll be a little bit further up the hill.

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