This time last year I was sitting in an airless waiting room, waiting. Waiting. Waiting. A second set of steroid jabs were on the cards. An hour on the CTG, a pre-op appointment. Then home. Home, to spend a last night with my family of five. To take my toddler up to bed for the last time as the baby of the family. To read a bedtime story ahead of a huge change in their little lives.
It wasn’t to be.
There had been too many instances of reduced movements. Today’s CTG was not the same as all the others. Not quite so reassuring. They were not happy to send me home.
And all of a sudden, everything flashed before me. All those weeks of waiting, and seeing, such a waste. They should have taken her out at 34 weeks, like the original plan. They should have listened harder when I told them over, and over and over I don’t feel her moving!
They should have ended this pregnancy before it ended itself.
And though I tried to be ok, I wasn’t. I went to the desk to collect my notes and it was like the ground was moving beneath my feet. More women and their partners sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting and I wanted to tell them all. My baby might not make it after all. She still wasn’t moving much, what if the steroid jabs had harmed her in some way? Was it the medication I took when the sickness was so bad? Was it something else I did? Was there something in the last 37 weeks I could have done differently? Was there anything I could do now?
I was taken into a little side room so that the midwife could speak to me calmly. She told me that they needed me in for overnight monitoring because they needed to know that all was ok with baby. They needed to know they had done all they could. I mumbled something ridiculous about needing to read a story to my kids, but I knew I had to go.
And so began a night of watching numbers dip and rise. A heart beat filled the room and each time it sounded, I knew she was still there. Al night, people came and went, stuck needles into me, took my temperature and sighed over my CTG reading. All night my thumb poised on the button, pressing down each time she moved. Not enough. It wasn’t enough. They still weren’t happy.
So preparations were made for an emergency c-section and slowly my heart began to falter. To break away. To crumble. Not again. Not this time. After all those weeks of nurturing and protecting and urging her to be ok… after all of that it will end like this.
Baby is IUGR.
The readings aren’t great.
I’m not happy to leave the baby in there any longer.
But Elsie Rose had other ideas. As the hours wore on, her readings improved and we were given one more night together. The CTG was taken away and we were left to rest. And with my hand on my belly I made her a promise. I will take care of you. I will be here for you. I will protect you.
Today my baby girl is poorly. A raging temperature all night, reminding me of how fragile her life really is. And then those flashes of her, when the calpol kicks in and she shows me in no uncertain terms: she is a fighter. She is here, going nowhere. She is amazing.