There’s nothing like a sleeping baby – not just because ahhhh, the silence! and the not having to be in action mode for the moment but also the complete peacefulness that sits across their face. It’s pretty hard not to fall in love all over again when gazing at my sleeping baby. But it’s made me realise the truth of the phrase “sleep like a baby”. It’s not hur hur hur, up and down every two hours crying all through the night. It’s the utter peace and innocence, the complete dissipation of any concerns or worries.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the quote by Nelson Mandela that no one is born racist. That’s such a huge responsibility looking into this completely divine face and know that she learns about the world through me. And there is something divine about her face – this lack of awareness of anything else in the world allows her to be happy or sad in the moment, no baggage from before or to take with her (at the moment) forward. She knows only of – hungry, sated, cold, warm, wet, dry, love. And mummy.
I posted before about how it breaks my heart sometimes to look into this, smiling face, and know at some point I’m going to have to explain things to her about the world. But I’ve also been thinking about the converse of Mandela’s quote – that no one is born knowing their place in the world. The baby comes in with just the id – she cries for what she needs and she knows not to be embarassed, ashamed, sorry or unworthy. The baby doesn’t know that in this world we have a hierarchy, that we decide, have decided and continue to decide who is entitled and who is not. Who is worthy and who is not. And what utterly kills me when I look at this face, this unreservedly smiling with her whole body face, is that every baby comes out into the world crying the same – for their needs to be met. And that what we do, individually or as society, is systematically squelch some people, and not others, raising some, and treading others into their place. Because … I don’t really know why.
Tags: adventures in babyland
I’m guessing this will be the first of many in this series.
Up front I’ll say that there is a happy ending to this story.
Thursday night, we had a bit of a bub scare. I’ve pretty much clued on so far that this whole gig is rigged so you lose. And when you embrace that, you can kinda let it all just roll off you. I guess that’s the expression I’ve seen a lot on the many mothers I have known. (it could be the same expression for: yeah I’m too tired to fight the power of oppression but I did spit in your sandwich and use two day old tuna).
Anyway. The info I’ve been given is that even at this stage of the pregnancy a baby is supposed to move a certain number of times an hour and a day. And that if I notice the movement slowing, I should follow a series of steps ending in giving the midwives a ring. So we record Galactic Suburbia on Thursday night and I’m drinking lemonade during that two hours. After the episode, I go and hang out on the couch and watch TV and then I’m sewing and whatnot. And after a while, I realise that I don’t remember the baby moving. I think about it, and the last time I remember was with my morning fake coffee. Which is weird cause I’d had that sugary drink and didn’t remember the baby moving at all during the podcast. So I mention this to C and he says, “have some ice cream.” Aside: seriously, it IS pretty cool that a solution to a problem is icecream. Normally, that solution would be inappropriate to apply.
I have a bowl of ice cream. Nothing. *THAT* is really weird. So I say to C, “Nothing!” And he says, “You’re supposed to wait 30 minutes. Have another bowl and wait 30 minutes.” By now, I’m starting to feel a bit ill. And panicky. But I have the second bowl of ice cream. And no movement. After 30 minutes, C comes in and checks on me and then hands me his phone with the number already dialled. I called and had a chat and the lovely midwife, after asking me questions said I should come in because I probably wouldn’t sleep well if they didn’t check it out.
I felt a bit silly about it. But the longer it went with the baby not moving, the more worried I felt. But I felt really bad about dragging C all the way up to the hospital at 10pm when it was probably going to be nothing. Not for the first time was I glad I’d married the right man – I’d gone to the bathroom and put shoes on and when I came out, he’d packed a bag (workstuff and toiletries for him and my laptop for me) and when I apologised about the whole thing he reminded me of a recent example where he had followed the SOP for an incident even though he was mostly sure it was a false alarm and that I didn’t need to explain such things to him.
And so the reality of choosing a hospital an hour drive from home kicked in – 45 mins at that time of night but 1.5 hrs to 2 hrs in peak hour. I began to think I would not like to be in labour and having to make that drive in a hurry. Or on my own. And I got maybe 1, maybe 2, kicks that whole drive in. I felt sick that whole drive up. I tried to make idle chatter but I just felt ill. What if something was wrong? What if we weren’t going to be in, monitored and sent home in an hour turnaround?
We showed up and it’s quite odd to go to a hospital late at night. I think ER makes it look much more exciting than it is. We headed to maternity and the lovely midwife whom I’d spoken to on the phone took me under her wing, busied me into a room and set me up. This is the second time we’ve been there at night (the tour for the birthing class being the other time) and I just kinda expected more noise/activity. C said I meant screaming. And um, yeah. It was basically silent. And it’s not like there weren’t other women there – the midwife said my doctor had been in about 30 minutes earlier to do a c-section so had been informed I was coming in. But we didn’t see anyone other than the three nurses who fussed over me.
They attached monitors to my belly – one to monitor for any contractions and one for the heartbeat – and took my vitals etc. It was a real relief when the heartbeat was located. It wasn’t instantly and I suspect actually the baby was facing inwards and that was the problem. They tracked the heartbeat and baby movements for about 15 minutes or so and whilst I couldn’t feel those movements at all (weird), it was really reassuring to hear that steady heartbeat. I was really glad that they didn’t make me feel silly about coming in – they reassured me that they thought I would feel better if I just came in and got checked out. It seemed like they had never thought there was an issue and maybe I’m not the only person who freaks out about what a friend called later “baby having a lazy day”. And for the 15 or 30 minutes of their time to just put a monitor on and make me feel better, with some kind bedside manner, well I felt much more reassured about coming back for the real deal and also about that long drive.
And then they sent us home.
And we got home at about midnight. And the baby held a jamboree in my uterus for about an hour and a half after that. Course it did.
I did though, nearly get my purple book two weeks early. Though on debate, they decided it better I wait til the pre admission appointment week after next.
(Thank you to everyone who was talking to me on Twitter during that experience. I really appreciated your support.)
Tags: adventures in babyland