It would be nice to think I wanted to talk to my mother, as I was teetering on the edge of this new motherhood journey. But no, I was more wrapped up in my future unfolding. I suppose that’s the way I coped ever since Mum died when I was 16. I just moved forward into the next space. In a way that was my heartbeat. Up until this part, it had really been all about me.

But now, I was off to hospital. After my check-up at the Doctor’s that morning, he’d decided I should be admitted straight away. Was he over-reacting? Time would tell, we figured.

It’s happening, I thought. Soon I’ll have that baby in my arms. And this will be over.

Machines, Tubes, Bells and Whistles

We arrived at the hospital, and before I knew it I was in a bed with my swollen belly wrapped in a rubber strap. My contractions had kicked in over the past few hours, and things were definitely moving along. The monitor had sensors to measure the baby’s heartbeat, and the strength of each contraction. The equipment they used didn’t phase me, thankfully. Just the year before, I’d graduated with a degree in Applied Science degree and I knew how my body worked, and what the machines were doing. The equipment measured the electrical impulses from the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. For me, the equipment was not confronting, or even scary. And the hospital staff were stellar.

To get things going properly, the nurse induced labour with a drip via a needle in my arm. This is an artificial way of going into labour, and it really felt like it . . . instense and messy. Thankfully my blood pressure stayed quite normal. But the pain, that was something else – like such incredibly bad period pain I could hardly bear it. And I wasn’t even labouring properly yet! It was only the very early stages. The nurse told me after I while I had an “irritable uterus”. In other words the contractions felt bad, but weren’t very effective. While all this activity was going on, in reality, nothing much was happening to get this baby out.

NQR: this is doing labour “Not Quite Right”.  It was a sobering thought.

Watch that Heartbeat!

So I was dealing with a lot, just with all that news. However, the big concern was the baby’s heartbeat. The print-out from the machine showed each contraction, with its big increase in the tightness of my muscles – a contraction; while the baby’s heartbeat took an opposite dive. That part was all pretty normal really.

The worrying aspect was that the baby’s heart rate was not recovering as quickly as it should have been. After each contraction it stayed low. Too low and for too long. Something wasn’t right. My doctor had not been too hasty. My weight loss in the past week definitely showed something was amiss.

Still, I was in a blur. It didn’t feel like this was really happening to me. How could it when I had been so well and had healthy all pregnancy long? Minor morning sickness. A little bit of indigestion. Hardly any cravings. Some cramps in my legs – which made it difficult to drive our car with its heavy clutch. Overall I’d had it easy compared with what other women suffer.

But now, I could hardly believe it! How come I was suddenly in this space of ‘difficult’? I lay on the bed trying to come to terms everything. But all I could do was manage the next contraction, trying to recover before it mind-shatteringly and bone-crunchingly happened once more. Yet again, I saw my baby’s heart-rate dip. Her heartbeat was there, but obviously struggling.

Couldn’t it only get better from here?

Actually no, it could only get worse.

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