For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.
Tuesday, December 12th, 2017.
I’m standing, finally, by the window of my new temporary room. It’s been my room for three days now. I haven’t had the time to think of whether I like the room or not, there’s so much else going on in the world around me. I stare out the window to see that the harmattan haze is here. How did I miss it this time? Harmattan was one of my favourite seasons of the year. I hated the dust, the dryness, the nosebleeds and the cracked lips that came with it. But it smelled like Christmas and that was enough to look forward to.
But a lot has gone on in the last few days and maybe it’s only right that we should be in a new season. After all, our family has grown to three people now…
Thursday, December 7th
Everything is going well, seemingly. It’s one of the busiest weeks at work but I’m winging it. Maybe a little more than winging it even because I’m getting carried away and starting to think I can pull anything off, including a few late nights. Strangely, I have a conversation with my friend and I’m telling her I’m not worried about having this baby. Every day the baby grows is a plus and I’m just grateful that with each passing day, his odds of survival outside are increasing. Maybe I’ve just learned not to ask for too much from life. As it were, I think I’ve gotten more than I deserve with a husband and a baby on the way. Is life supposed to be this easy? I’m 33 weeks and 2 days gone at this time.
Friday, December 8th
You know that nonsense people do where they lie that they’re at your doorstep when they are really a mile away? A dispatch rider does it to me this morning. The worst part is I don’t come downstairs with my phone so after standing and waiting a few minutes, I have to go upstairs to get the phone. Then call him and find out he’s still far away. In the next one hour, I have to go up and down the stairs two more times. Then I get upset with someone and end up being breathless. Then I pack my bags in anger and leave work. It’s looking like a long evening at home too. My husband is preparing to head out of town for a wee bit the next morning so I ask my mum to come to stay with me for the weekend. By the time everyone is settled in and ready to crash, it’s about 11 pm. I try to rush a bath and go to sleep.
If you’ve ever watched The Boondocks, you’ll remember the episode where Tom keeps having nightmares that he’s in jail and he dropped the soap. When you’re pregnant, it’s something like that too. Everything that falls to the ground stays there, except you’re lucky enough to find someone to help out with it. Anyways, I go back into the bedroom and complain to my partner that I’ve dropped the soap again and we laugh about it. I’m about to sleep when I suddenly feel like I’m peeing myself. This isn’t exactly a big deal in pregnancy so I just go into the bathroom to change underwear. Now because actions like peeing and flushing are reflex, I don’t think much about it. But when I’m washing my hands, I look back and see a lot of blood on the toilet seat. Whose blood? When did this happen? In the next few minutes, my partner jumps out of bed while we grab our bags (I had packed since I was 27 weeks) and we call my mum and head out. At this time it’s about 11:48 pm. We get to the hospital at about midnight and when I’m really chatty all the while I’m in the consulting room and while I’m doing my Ultrasound. The only thing I recollect is being continuously asked if I suffered any trauma to my abdomen.
(Sidebar: About this time, my partner’s YouVersion app sends a Verse of the Day Notification: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2nd Corinthians 4: 17))
The next few minutes are a breeze. I get a bed and I’m told they’re keeping me for the night. There are oxygen tubes and IV lines and all of that. And then there’s the nurse with the Doppler every thirty minutes for the rest of the night. My partner and mum have to head back home now since I haven’t been assigned a private ward.
Saturday, December 9th. 5:45 am
“We think your baby may have gone into distress,” says the fresh-faced morning shift doctor. I don’t know if I’m numb but I’m certain I don’t have much of a reaction besides asking what we can do to fix it. He mumbles something about bringing the baby out but says to wait till the Gynae arrives in the next few hours. When my Gynae arrives, he just reiterates what the previous doctor has said – Baby’s heartbeat is getting weaker and baby may have gone into distress. But there’s also good news. For a 33 weeker, the baby has good weight and his chances seem better on the outside. In any case, they’ll be keeping me till Monday. My husband and I make a quick, albeit reluctant decision to bring the baby out. The next few hours are a blur of emotions and preparations – preparing for surgery, meeting with my anesthesiologist and just praying and struggling to stay calm. There was my mum calling every Pastor she knew on one hand, and me just wondering why I chose to eat noodles the previous night, seeing as I wouldn’t be able to eat real food for a while.
“You will feel pressure, but you won’t feel pain… Knife on skin at exactly 3:33 pm”
Prior to having my Baby F, I had only ever had a minor lumpectomy. I had local anaesthesia and wasn’t supposed to feel any pain, only pressure, but I did feel pain, a lot of it. But that was in 2010. This is 2017.
I feel a lot of pain this time too. I can’t describe the kind of pain I felt, seeing as I am supposed to be awake during the surgery, but it is enough to make me groan at any tugging. My anesthesiologist asks me to “hang in there” till they bring the baby out so they can fix the anaesthesia and make me more comfortable. Sure enough in a few minutes, baby is out. He doesn’t need announcing though, he comes out screaming his way into the world. “Your baby is so cute”, a nurse whispers as she brings him close to me to show me his face. Afterwards, all I see is a kaleidoscope of colours. It feels like tunnels and tunnels of colours. I can hear everything through it all – the baby’s weight and how they’re getting the staples in. Everything.
When Surgery is finally over and I can speak, all I can ask is “Is my baby okay?” It feels surreal, my own baby. My life is about to change forever.
I just have no idea how much in a short time.