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Depression Teenage Pregnancy Uncategorized

The black dog of depression – Sunday 29 April – 30 weeks and 1 day

The dogs’ scratching on the laundry door wakes me.  I do not want to wake up.  I don’t have to go up to the hospital.  Jay was discharged two days ago because her cervix had not dilated any further and her tightenings and contractions had calmed down.  She is, as far as the doctors are concerned, stable.  Jay is really happy to be home.  I am happy for her to be home.  That journey was starting to get to me.  Now I don’t want to get up.  I want to stay in bed.  Asleep.  I am seriously not a morning person.

The dogs aren’t giving up.  Finally, I haul my obese frame out of bed and stomp through to the laundry.  I burst open the door.  The dogs are really excited to see me.  They wag their tales furiously and jump up my legs.  How can I stay angry at such happy little beings.

“Come on then angels, out you go.”  I let them outside to do their morning constitutional.  I climb back into bed.  Five more minutes, just five more minutes.  Two minutes later, H is barking.  His sign he wants to be let in.  They are total indoors dogs.  For a moment, I wonder why we decided to get dogs.  More barking.  I know my neighbours are not going to love me at letting them bark at 9am on a Sunday.  I pad through to the pool room and let them in through the sliding door.  They dash through to my room and jump on my bed.  This is a luxury they are not normally allowed but Dee is on his usual Sunday cycle.  I snuggle into bed and the dogs jump all over me.

Eventually, I know I have to get up.  It is days like these I wish I could be allowed the luxury of just curling up in bed and not doing anything.  I know this is a symptom of my depression, but I try to fool myself that it is only because I am tired and just need a bit of rest.  The truth is I “rest” a lot.  I rarely venture out of the house (except to visit Jay) and when I do, it is to go to the shops.

Shopping malls are the depressed person’s friend.  They afford us the company we crave without any of the anxiety that comes with the fear of rejection or the energy required to maintain a friendship.  The internet provides exactly the same thing.  Lately, I have been favouring the internet greatly over venturing outside into a shopping mall.  My body and mind are tired and staying indoors with my laptop on my lap (funny that) enables me to indulge that exhaustion.  Let’s face it, plunking away on a keyboard that is situated on your blanket covered lap requires little effort.

I am in this position when Dee returns from his cycle.  “Wow, what a tough ride,” he says.

“Really?”  I try to sound upbeat.  This requires a lot of effort.

“Yeah, we did rolling relays all the way up the one hill and then intervals down the next.  It was pretty intense.  There isn’t much juice left in my legs I can tell you.”

I envy Dee his energy to cycle 80 or 90 kilometers, never mind doing rolling relays.  I know what these are as well as well as other cycling terminology.  It is Dee’s passion and he passes it onto me.  It is not my passion, but I like to hear him talk animatedly about his antics on his various cycles.  I live vicariously through his passion.

He goes to shower and I return to my laptop.  I search the internet for while, googling nursery bedding, writing courses – wherever my mind takes me.  I decide to write my blog.  It has been five days since my last entry.  I am slacking off.

“What to do you want to do today, Sarah?”  Dee has emerged, clean but unshaven.  He doesn’t like to shave on the weekends.

I ponder the question.  I want to spend time with him, but I know he wants to do the gardening.  “Shall we go into the village and get a few bits and pieces that I need for the house?”

“We can do that.”  He smiles at me.

I smile weakly.  What I want to really do is curl up inside my blanket and not move, but Dee’s gardening will make me feel guilty at not keeping my end of the housework bargain up.  Us shopping is a way to negate that guilt.

We arrive at the shopping centre.  Dee heads for the supermarket, I head for K-mart.  I am in need of pyjamas and they have some for $9.  I also have this idea of sorting out the spare rooms, so I buy some hanging shelves and drawers for the cupboards.  I tell myself that I am going to sort out the study and spare rooms tomorrow.  I don’t know if that is true, but I like to keep my intentions up.  I try not to be a defeatest.

Dee and I meet at the coffee shop.  He has a large soy cappuccino and I have a pot of tea.  We talk about his folks and my dad.  We worry about them both a lot.  “Are you okay?” Dee says, “You seem funny.”  I have been waiting for this.  All too often I am unable to keep up the supposed cheeriness for too long.

“I’m okay,” I say, “Just a quiet day today.”  This satisfies Dee and we make our way to the car.

I haven’t spoken to Jay since she was discharged on Friday, so I send her a text.  Hi darling.  How are you today?  It doesn’t take her long to respond.  I’m okay.  Just watching TV on the couch.  What are you doing today?

Not much, just some shopping, then relaxing at home.  How is the new couch?

Comfy, really good.  Soo good.  The cat is playing all over me.  When in hospital, she really missed her cat.

I’m glad.  I can’t wait to come round and see it.

“Shall we take JC to see The Avengers?” Dee asks me.

I smile.  “Yes, that sounds great.”  I don’t really want to go to the movies, but I have been lamenting the fact that JC never leaves his room so don’t feel I can tell them to leave me behind.  JC would want to stay behind too.  Dee books the movie.  It is at 4:30pm.

Dee announces he is going to do some gardening before the weather turns.  I look at the looming clouds and feel it is the perfect excuse to crawl under my blanket.  The washing up from last night’s dinner can wait.  I lay under my blanket and let my eyes close. I opt to ignore the voice in my head telling me that I should be getting up and doing all the work that is begging for my attention.  It reminds me of the massive dust ball that I spotted walking into the house.  I put the voice in the box I have specifically built for it and breathe in and out.  An old meditation trick that enables me to quiet the voice and allow sleep to take me.  It works and once again, I am in a land with no depression and no anxiety.  Bliss.

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Uncategorized

Rain, rest and patience – Tuesday 24 April – 29 weeks and 3 days

 

Today is pouring with rain.  Winter is on its way in Melbourne and I have the heating on to prove it.  The rain is torrential.  I wake up to the sound of the torrential rain on our blue colour bond steel roof.  I don’t like driving in the rain.  Two car accidents in the rain has made me a nervous “rain” driver.

I text Jay.  I’m not going to come in today, Jay, because of the rain.  If it subsides later, I might come then, but I found it really stressful driving home from the hospital in the rain yesterday.  I love you.  I feel a twinge of guilt but tell myself that she is 19 and one day isn’t going to make a difference.  Of the 25 days she has been in hospital, I have missed four days of being with her.  I hope she isn’t too lonely.

I take JC to school.  I am really loving that this term he is not giving me any problems about going to school.  Week two and we haven’t had one day off school.  This is major progress.  I come straight home.  I sigh, it is so good to be home in the quiet.  The house isn’t in too bad a state either.  I managed to give it a bit of a tidy up when I got home from the hospital yesterday.  I am feeling quite tired so I settle myself on the sofa.  My dogs curl up on my favourite mohair blanket.  They keep my feet warm.

I upload all the pictures from the baby shower.  The quality is not that great.  I had forgotten my camera and had to use my phone.  It isn’t great in low light.  Still, the photos are a good reminder of the day.  I resolve to make a scrap book for Jay, for posterity.  Just not now.  I am too tired.

My exhaustion is worrying me.  At 44 I should definitely not be feeling like this.  I can’t believe that this is just a symptom of my depression.  My thyroid perhaps?  Earlier in the week I received an email from my gall bladder surgeon.  The blood tests from my recent hospitalisation have shown my liver tests to be “very slightly elevated” and she would like to see me in her rooms.  I google “elevated liver tests” to find out what may be wrong with me.  None of the conditions fit my symptoms, except gall bladder problems and I was relieved of that organ in January.  I wonder if it is my thyroid?  I must remember to ask her when I see her.

I decide that I am allowed a nap.  I have to give myself permission because I feel guilty at all the work in the house that desperately needs my attention and I am choosing to ignore.  I beg the laundry, hoovering and messy study not to call to me.  Tomorrow is a holiday, I’ll do it then.  Procrastination is, and always has been, my achilles heel.  Right now, I don’t care.  I fall asleep to the soothing sound of the rain and it is good.

I wake up in time to watch “One born every minute UK”.  I love the UK version because it is based in Southampton and I used to live near Southampton.  It is like I have a connection to the people featured in the program.  I may have even passed them in the street!  I am in awe of midwives.  I wonder when Jay’s baby will be born.  I am tired of waiting, as I know Jay is tired of waiting.  This is an exemplary lesson in patience, I must say.

Jay has been remarkable throughout this whole journey.  I have found it stressful – the worry and the travelling 60 kilometers a day have started to take it toll on me, but Jay has handled it really well.  She is starting to get fed up though and I really don’t blame her.  I have even found myself secretly wishing the baby comes early so that we can at least breathe, know what to expect and take the next step.  I know this is wrong.  The longer Baby C is incubated inside Jay the better.  I figure, though, if he did come early, that the technology is there to make things right by him.  Don’t think like that Sarah.  It is wrong.  He needs to be where he is for the longest possible time.  I sigh.  Patience is not my strong point.

Categories
Depression Teenage Pregnancy

A surprise baby shower – Sunday 22 April – 29 weeks and 1 day

I haven’t felt much like writing in the last few days.  This is because I have been exhausted.  The reason is two-fold.  Firstly, I ran out of my anti-depressants and my thyroxin and didn’t renew the prescription for a few days.  Whilst I am sure that it takes longer than a few days for the medication to work out of my system, I start to feel REALLY tired after a couple of days without them.  By day three, I am shattered and a few days after that, I even start having suicidal thoughts.  This is an unfortunate symptom of clinical depression.  BUT, I get my prescription filled and I am slowly starting to feel like I am not wading through thick mud every day.

I know I am naughty for neglecting myself in this fashion.  It isn’t fair on my family, and especially not fair on Dee who gets to the see the really ugly side of me when I start the slippery slide down the emotional roller coaster.  I don’t like the ugly side of me.  It isn’t pretty.  It used to be that I would ignore my medication and try to pretend I didn’t need it.  The truth is I saw it as a weakness.  Now I don’t.  It is just what it is and I manage it pretty well.  Except this week, when I forgot.

The second reason is because I haven’t had much to say.  Which is weird because I ALWAYS have a lot to say.  I look at the screen of my lap top and can find no words.  I imagine this is what writer’s block is like. If I was a writer.  Which I would like to be.  One day.

The week has been long.  JC returns to school and Jay remains in hospital.  She is lonely and feeling very depressed.  Em has been off colour and has decided not to visit her for fear of her getting an infection that will bring on an early labour.  I visit every day, but I am, sadly, not enough.  I know this, accept this.  I can’t bear, though, to see my daughter so down, so lost.  I decide to do something to lift her spirits.  But what?  She cannot leave the hospital.  I decide to organise a surprise baby shower at the hospital.  It is risky.  Baby C may arrive early, be sick and yes, heaven forbid, actually not make it.  Do I let this risk prevent me from throwing a shower that should be every first time pregnant woman’s right?  I don’t think so. I speak to the nurse running the Medihotel and ask if I am able to do this.  She thinks it is a brilliant idea.  We can have the patient lounge.

I contact Tee and she agrees to help.  She contacts the women in her family and I contact the women in mine, plus a couple of friends that are still in contact with Jay.  We decide to hold in on Sunday (three days away) just in case Jay doesn’t make it to 30 weeks.  I send out email invitations and only one person cannot make it.  We have 14 people coming.  I wonder how many people the lounge can accommodate and hope it will be big enough.

Dee and I go shopping for balloons, decorations and a baby shower gift.  For a while I am feeling free, not constrained by the stress of the threat of a premature baby that has filled every waking moment (and some sleeping ones) since this ordeal began.  Dee doesn’t see what all the fuss is about.  Men!

The day of the shower arrives.  I make a carrot cake (Jay’s favourite) and some triangle sandwiches.  I collect the helium balloons I have ordered and make up the thank you gifts for everyone.  Dee and I make our way to the hospital (I have roped him into helping me set up).  Tee is waiting for us.  “The lounge is busy.  There is a doctor in there with a patient.”  I immediately think the worst for the patient.

“That’s okay, we can wait a while.” I say.

We wait outside the ward.  We don’t want Jay catching us out.  After ten minutes it occurs to me that the doctor and patient could be an hour.  Everyone is due in 15 minutes.  My phone rings.  It is Jay.  “Turn it off, turn it off!  She will hear it!”  Dee says.  I frantically try to silence my phone.  Where is the silent button, dammit.

I make a snap decision.  “Let’s just surprise Jay in her room.”  Everyone picks up their stuff and we make our way to her room.  I am carrying the 16 balloons I have ordered.  I knock on the door and walk in.  “Surprise!” I say.  “We have organised a baby shower for you.”  Jay looks surprised, but not as thrilled as I had hoped.  “Mum, I am in a lot of pain.”  Bloody murphy’s law.  On the day of the shower she would be in pain.

I place the balloons down.  “How bad is the pain, love.”

“Really bad, Mum, worse than when I ended up in the birthing suite.”

“Typical,” I say, “just our luck.  You will probably give birth in the middle of the shower.”  We all laugh, but I wonder if that is going to happen.

Jay is more buoyed.  The patient and doctor have emerged from the lounge.  “You just relax whilst we decorate the room.”

Em arrives and Jay and he hug.  It has been five days since they have seen each other.  It is so cute, I can’t avoid doing the mother thing and taking a photo.  “Mu-um!!” Jays exclaims.

We decorate the room and let Em and Jay in to sit down and relax.  Everyone arrives and before long the “party” is under way.  The food is lovely and the presents are amazing.  Jay and Em are clearly chuffed to bits and I feel good to have this opportunity to make Jay feel a bit better.  I am grateful to Tee for helping me make it possible.  Photos are taken to mark the occasion.  Funny baby stories are told – Em’s aunt’s story of her delivering a neighbour’s baby on the front lawn is my personal favourite.  We all laugh and chatter and I can see Jay is really enjoying herself.

By the time the shower is over, Jay’s pain has subsided and she is back to being in good spirits.  She retires to her room, pretty exhausted.  Tee and I clean up the room and leave it as we found it – a clinical looking tv lounge for patients of the medihotel.  We decide to leave Jay and Em to enjoy their time together and to ponder their stash.

I arrive home.  Dee has cooked dinner but I am not hungry – too much cake!  I sit down and curl up to watch TV.  Dee curls up next to me.  He leans over, “You did a good thing for our daughter today.”  I smile.  It was a good day, yes indeed, a very good day.

Categories
Autism Teenage Pregnancy

One mother of a day – Tuesday 17 April – 28 weeks and 3 days

Today is the first day of second term.  JC is up and ready by 6:15am.  He wants his iPod with its promise of fan fiction and knows how to get it.

“What about a shower?”  I ask.

“I already showered last night after my hair cut and dad said I can shower tomorrow morning again.”  I groan, without opening my eyes.  Why does Dee promise these things without discussing it with me?

“Okay,” I say.

Urgh, back to the routine of the school term – up at 6:45am (which in reality is closer to 7:45am), get breakfasts, make lunch, take JC to school (silent trip), do housework (yeah, right!), pick JC up from school, silent trip home, make dinner, eat, tv and bed, and then start it all again the following day.  God, my life is boring!

This time, of course, I have to visit Jay in hospital.  I take JC to school and he listens to his horrible white-noise music whilst I listen to the radio.  I want to say something to him, but can’t think of anything that might inspire him to hold a conversation.  I wander how he is feeling about returning to school, but choose not to enquire.  I drop him off a full 25 minutes before the school bell.

“Good bye my boy.  I love you!” I yell as he walks away from the car.  He doesn’t even acknowledge me.

I have read many books on autism.  In most of them they concentrate on getting a diagnosis when the child is young and the importance of an early intervention.  Most of the case studies used are children that are young or pre-teen in age.  They don’t mention what it is like to bring up an adolescent who is on the spectrum.  Well, frankly, sometimes it sucks.  You want to connect with your child, especially at this time when they are starting to begin to understand adult concepts, but not only do you have the autism to deal with, you also have the prepubescent teenage hormones to contend with as well.  It’s not a great mix, I can tell you.

I drive away heavy hearted.  I decide to improve my mood by spending money (how else?).  Jay needs some new underwear so before heading off to see her I pop into K-mart.  I wander around and eventually decide on some panties, a bra and some socks.  I also decide on some fruit for her and some games for us to play in the hospital – card games, chinese checkers, dominoes.

I arrive at 10:30am.  Jay is still very depressed after last night’s ordeal.  She ended up in the Pregnancy Assessment Unit because she had quite regular tightenings and some painful contractions.  After a 45 minute wait she ended up having an internal examination that showed she was still only 2cm dilated and that her cervix was still long (despite being open).  She was embarrassed and felt that she had caused a fuss for nothing.  She phoned me at 10pm in tears.  I managed to talk her through it, but arriving at the hospital now, it is clear she is still feeling really down.

“Are you still feeling down, love?’

“I feel stupid.  This whole thing is stupid.  I’m never going to give birth early.  Why can’t they just let me go home?”

“Well, if you make it to 32 weeks, they will let you go home.”  I begin to think that after two weeks of being 2cm dilated and nothing happening, that there is a real chance of her going to full term.  I secretly start to get excited even though I know it will be a long 12 weeks.  “And if you make it to 32 weeks, Jay, that will be absolutely amazing!”  The look on her face tells me that she doesn’t share my enthusiasm.

It must be difficult to see past being stuck in bed – to when she will get to hold her son, healthy and well, and know that it is because she remained on bedrest, that she carried him to where he was safe enough to be born.  I know she cannot see that far ahead.

“I bought some stuff for you.”  I plop the bags of goodies on her bed.  She looks at them unceremoniously and I feel a little hurt at what I perceive to be ingratitude.  “Have you had a good look?”

“Yes.”

“I bought you some nickers, bra and socks, plus some games and some fruit to keep your energy up.”  Just in case she missed something.

“Thanks, Mum.”  I can see she isn’t impressed, and why should she be really.  She is fed up, bored and most of all stressed out from not knowing when her baby son is going to arrive and what the outcome of that might be.  God, I’m selfish sometimes!!

“How about we play one of the games?”

“Okay.”

I haul out the tin with the four card games – Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Go Fish and War.

“I don’t know how to play any of those, Mum.”

“That’s okay love, they will have instructions and I used to play these with Gogo and I am sure it will come back to me.  These will be great for you to play with Baby C as well.”

We decide on Old Maid first.  We deal up and start playing.  Before long, the events and depression of last night are gone and we are having a good laugh at who is winning and losing.  All four of the games keep us entertained and in good spirits for a good hour and a half until Jay’s lunch arrives.

“We have a spare lunch, Sarah, would you like it?”  The nurse says.

“Yes, I would.”  It is some veal concoction, but I am hungry and it does not taste too badly.  I like the vegetables – pumpkin and potato.

After lunch, I wheel Jay downstairs for some fresh air in her wheel chair.

“Why can’t I walk?”

“Because you can’t.”  Sometimes, the mother response is the only one that is needed.

We order hot chocolates and talk about what we need for the baby.  We have had this conversation before but I want to start getting things on a more regular basis.  I would like Jay and Em to have everything they need for when Baby C comes home.  I write the list down in my note book.

After the excursion I take Jay back to the ward and notice that she is sleepy.  It is time to go and let her have a nanna nap.  I kiss her goodbye and leave.

I drive home.  I have an hour to kill before I have to pick up JC.  A friend of mine has emailed me about a program for children on the spectrum who are at risk of disengaging from education.  I wonder if JC is disengaging from education or if he is just disengaging from society, or even just me.

I drive to pick him up.  He keeps me waiting a good 15 minutes.  “Where have you been? ” I say, trying not to sound too irritated.

“Just walking around the oval, listening to my music.” If you can call that music.

“Okay, in you get.  I thought I would treat you to a Red Rooster meal today.”

“Is this because you want an ice cream?”  Damn!  He knows me too well.  Next door to Red Rooster is Hungry Jacks and I love their 50c ice creams.  I feel ashamed that he thinks that I want to treat him just to satisfy my own needs.

“No, it isn’t, it is because I’ve spent all holidays up at the hospital with Jay and I thought it would be nice if I treated you since I haven’t had chance to do that.”  This is, in part, true.

“Fair enough.”

We drive in silence for a bit.  “I am very mature, you know,” JC says to me.

“Are you?  In what way?”

“I just use big words in context.”

“Can you give me an example?”

“No, not really, but I can use words that other people don’t know what they mean.”  I don’t doubt this, but I haven’t experienced very many “big” words from him recently, although he says things that blow me away all the time.

“So, about the holidays…”

“Fiji, I want to go to Fiji.”

“Well, yes, I know that, but I am thinking of July.  Where would you like to go in July?”

“Fiji.”

“We can’t go to Fiji in July.  That’s January’s trip – maybe.  How about the Worlds, would you like to go to the Worlds?”  I am referring to the adventure parks on the Gold Coast.

“Nah, maybe another year.”

“What about Disney World in Florida?”  I have no idea what makes me say that. “Not for July, but maybe in January.”

“Yes, I guess.  There are hot chicks there.”  I laugh.  The typical 14 year old boy shines through every now and again.  We discuss the likelihood of there being more good looking girls in Florida than in Melbourne, but he remains convinced that the girls will be better there.  We discuss what Disney World is like and I try to give him a picture of when I was there some 20-odd years ago.  He mentions that there is now a Harry Potter land, either in Disney World or on its own, he isn’t sure which, and he doesn’t know if it is in Florida.  I did not know this.  We move on to discuss J.K Rowling and her nett worth (around $1 billion) and how foolish the 12 publishers that rejected the first Harry Potter manuscript must feel.

I am actually having a “normal” conversation with JC.  I am in heaven.  I love the fact that we are laughing together and actually discussing a future trip together and even, maybe, writing a story that might make us rich one day.  Yes, people, we are dreaming together!  Oh, how I wish I could bottle this moment and bring it out every time I feel so disconnected!

All too quickly, we arrive at home.  JC grabs his red rooster bag and heads indoors.  I grab his school bag and head inside behind him.  He walks into his bedroom, closes the door.  He emerges in his boxer shorts to put his lunch on a plate.  I sigh.  Back to our normality.  But I am not sad.  Because I had a moment with him.  And that moment, as any parent of a child on the autistic spectrum will testify, tends to carry us quite far.

No Baby C and a conversation with JC.  Oh yes, today has been one mother of a day!!

 

Categories
Autism Depression Teenage Pregnancy Uncategorized

Birthdays and autism – Monday 16 April – 28 weeks and 2 days

Today is JC’s 14th birthday.  He wakes up this morning at 6am to get his presents.  Despite not showing much emotion, we have fun watching him open his gifts – The Simpsons movie, one of his favourites of all time, and a new gaming computer.  We imagine his excitement even if we can’t see it.

“Do you want to set up the computer now, JC?”

“No, it’s okay.  Dad can help me do it tonight.”  I’m immediately deflated.  Where are those days when he used to get so excited about his presents and would lose his temper when something wouldn’t work or we couldn’t get it put together quick enough?  Am I insane for missing those days?

Dee senses my disappointment.  “How about Mum helps you build it later today?”

“No, I think you better do it.”  An added insult to my injury – now I’m perceived as incompetent.

“It’s okay.  JC wants time with his Dad,” I say.  I tell myself this to make myself feel better.

JC grabs what he really wants, his iPod so he can read Naruto fan fiction, and heads off to his comfort zone – under his blanket in his darkened room.  Dee takes a look at the PC he has bought online and finds a part lose.  He then sets about getting ready for work.  I climb back into bed where my two dogs have made themselves comfortable.  As I cover my body, neither of them move for fear of being moved off.  I don’t want to move them, I need some loving.

I fall asleep and when the phone rings it is 9am.  It is Dee.  “Hey, my love.  About the computer, is the Windows 7 disc with the package?”

“Uh, I’ll just check.”

“Are you okay?”

“I was asleep.”

“Oh, sorry.  Well, can you check for the disc?”

I have a quick look.  “Nope.  No, disc.”

“Okay, I’ll get in touch with them.” And with that Dee is gone.  The dogs have not moved and dare not look at me.

I make myself a cup of tea.  It is cold and I do not feel like getting up.  I return to bed and phone Jay.

“Hey angel, how was your night last night?”

“Oh, hey, Mum.  Yeah, it was okay.  I didn’t sleep until 12, but it was okay.  How is JC?”

“Yeah, he enjoyed his gifts.  In his usual spot now, though.  I’m going to stay at home with JC today love.  He goes back to school tomorrow, so I’ll come then.”  I know that me being at home will make little difference to JC, but I feel at least for his birthday, for the first time in two and half weeks, I should be available to him for the entire day.

Jay understands.  “That’s fine Mum.”  We talk a bit more about how she is feeling.  The tightenings have really subsided.  She is bored and wondering why she can’t come home.  The boredom is relentless.  I try to encourage her, to reassure her  that she is busy incubating her son and that she is doing such a fabulous job.  We talk about staying in bed for the day.  It is dreary outside and seems to be the perfect day for a pyjama day, a frequent event that used to frequent our family calendar when we would shut out the world and just be together.  I miss those times.  We agree on a pyjama day by distance.

I lie for a bit and realise that Dee’s folks are likely to pop round for JC’s birthday.  No pyjama day for me.  I get showered and dressed.  The door bell rings.  It isn’t Dee’s folks but the new part for my dyson vacuum cleaner.  I am excited to get it.  I fit it and am delighted to see my cleaner is operational again.  I whip around the house with it, filling the canister with all the nasty dust that has been accumulating on my carpets for a good couple of weeks.  Don’t be fooled.  I am what I term myself “A housekeeper’s backside.”  I hate housework and any form of domesticity really.  I do it out of obligation, occasionally, when I can no longer get away with not doing it, usually when we are expecting guests because I am absolutely petrified of being  judged an awful housewife, since that is meant to be my job.

I walk into JC’s room.  It is a mess and full of dust.  “I want to hoover in here, JC.”

“No, I’m in bed.”  The noise is too much for him, so he needs to vacate the room for me to do it.

“I know, but I need to clean it.”  I know this is futile.  I will have to do it tomorrow when he returns to school.  I walk out as he says again, “No.”

I make him and I breakfast.  Bacon sandwich for him, a bowl of sultana bran for me – because I want to lose weight, of course.  He devours the sandwich.  I try to broach the subject of leaving the house.  “Perhaps you and I can go and see a movie.  Battleship is meant to be really good.”

“No.”

“Are you sure?  It’s a lovely day and it would be so nice to get out…” before I have finished my sentence, JC gets up and walks away.

“I don’t want to go, Mum.  It’s my day and I just want to be left alone.”  He walks back into his room and closes the door, a little too hard for my liking.  I sigh.  I feel disconnected from my son and I have no idea how to make the connection with him.  Such it is with autism.  Always living in their own world, with no room for outsiders, or anyone really.

I retire to the sofa and turn on the television.  At least the house is dust free for a while and at least I have a day of relaxation to enjoy.  I hope Jay is not too lonely, but I know that I will be there with her for a good few hours tomorrow so try not to feel too guilty.

I spend much of the day watching TV, making lunch, tidying here and there.  It is relaxing, although I find I am tearful throughout the day.  Depression is such a bitch sometimes.  Even when I am relaxed, those dreaded tears sneak up on me.  But I am relaxed and that is a good thing.  I think about Baby C and wonder how he is doing in his little cocoon, blissfully unaware of life outside the womb and the flurry he has caused.  I smile, because I am sure it won’t be long now and a new adventure will begin.  At least JC got his wish, Baby C will not be sharing the same birthday.  Funny how even if you have autism, you don’t want to share your birthday with anyone, you just want it to be your special day.

Categories
Autism Teenage Pregnancy

Trying to juggle it all – Friday 13th April – 27 weeks and 6 days

I have woken up very tearful today.  Not because of Jay, but because of JC.  Yesterday, I came home and he was in his underjocks, lying in bed in his darkened bedroom, reading.  He had not eaten the lunch I had put out for him.  Since I was early coming home from the hospital, I offered for us to go to movies.  He usually loves the movies.

“Nah, I’m good.” his favourite saying.

“How about a walk.”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“Is there anything you would like to do?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

“JC, you have to do something.  You have not left this house since you broke up from school.  Plus you have not really got dressed for the entire holidays.”

“Well, why do I have to, I am only at home.”  Guilt perforates my entire body.

“Well, let’s do something.”

“I don’t want to, Mum, how many times do I have to tell you.  Now, can you get out of my room.”  His room is in fact our other lounge, which he calls his room.  It is his sanctuary and he doesn’t like anyone else in it, unless you are capable of playing Call of Duty with some level of competence and I certainly don’t fit that bill.  I get up, walking out of the room feeling dejected.  Without warning tears stream down my face.  I worry so much about JC.  How is he going to cope in the real world.  I feel I am failing miserably at teaching him the life skills that are going to be necessary for independent living.  I wonder if he will ever leave home.  I wonder if we will be his carers forever, even though he is intellectually capable.  He refuses to do anything and try as we might, we cannot get him to budge on anything.

Communication is almost impossible with JC.  He has no desire to see his sister in hospital and literally lives in a world that is of his own making in a space that is probably nine square meters.  My mind is racing with all the possible outcomes life may have in store for him.  I feel I have neglected him these past two weeks, despite knowing we would not have left the house in that time.  I decide to try again.

“Do you want to go for a milkshake?”

“No, Mum, now leave me alone.”

Dee gets home and I am in tears.  “What is in store for us, what is in store for JC?   Dee he won’t even leave his room now, he is like a vampire sitting in darkened room.”

“I’ll talk to him, but when I am scratching his back, he will be calmer then.”   Dee received a back scratcher for christmas from Jay and it was honestly the best gift.  Now JC has to have his back scratched/tickled every night.  We realised quickly that this a sensory thing that calms him – he is most receptive at this time.

I retire to bed with my laptop to research PDD NOS and adolescent social skills.  A study I find says that around 50% of ASD adolescents are socially isolated, never leaving home and never being invited out by friends.  JC fits this perfectly.  They also are the most socially isolated cohort out of all people with disabilities.  I find this disheartening and not encouraging.

Dee comes in.  “Right I have got him to agree to go on holiday with us.”  Like he has any choice in the matter.

Still, I wake up this morning teary.  I phone JC’s psychologist on the way to the hospital.  “I am deeply concerned about JC.  He has now taken to not getting out bed and reading in a darkened room all day.  He won’t even come out for meals.  All he says is that he wants us to leave him alone.  I am so worried about him and his outlook.”

“I can’t see you without JC, Sarah, because Medicare won’t allow it.”  Damn!  JC refuses to see the psychologist any more and I have been advised not to push it.  “I can refer to you to other services.”  By now I am at Jay’s room and tears are streaming down my face.

“No-one seems to understand.  No-one knows how worrying it is for us and also how isolating it is.”

“I know Sarah and I am worried about your mental health at this point.  You need to see someone.”  No, I need to get support for my child with autism that won’t leave the friggin’ house.  I take the numbers down of the services and smile at Jay.

“What’s wrong Mum.”

“Just JC love, I worry so much about him.  I just wonder what his outlook will be and sometimes I just do not have the energy to fight him all the time.  My own depression doesn’t help.”  Jay nods, but looks worried.  “Don’t you worry, love.  it will be fine.  I’m just not having a good JC day today.  He is so isolated and it worries me so deeply.”

We change the subject.  “So, off to the clinic.”  I notice a heat pack on Jay’s tummy.  “Have you had pain today?”

“Yes, I have and some major tightenings.”

“Well, let’s keep an eye on them and then we can let Bec know.”

I take her downstairs.  It is still hot and stuffy and absolutely heaving with pregnant women.  Bec keeps us waiting quite a while.  Eventually she calls us into her office.  “You look well, Jay.  Nearly 28 weeks, who would have thought?”  Jay nods.  She does look well.

“Jay has had some pain today.  Should we be worried?”

“I don’t think so.  If baby is going to come, it is going to come.  You are in the best place possible.  But you do need your anti-D injection as you will be 28 weeks tomorrow.  Once you have had that, you can go back to the ward and I will see you, hopefully in two weeks time.”  Bec smiles and hugs Jay.  She is really fond of her.

Jay has her anti-D injection,  which she is surprised to report is painless, and we make our way for lunch.  It is not very nice.  I take Jay back to the ward and we watch a bit of TV.  I start to get tired and decide to head home.  JC is still in his pyjamas when I get home. It is 3pm.  Dee’s dad has brought JC lunch, so at least I know he has eaten.  I sigh.  I clearly have some acceptance skills to work on.  I contemplate ringing the referral people, but decide against it.  I am way too tired to retell our life history to yet another professional.  It can wait until Monday.

I am unable to sleep.  My mind is racing all over the place. JC wants to stay up late (again) and Dee is tired, so I again agree to stay up.  I don’t mind.  I cannot sleep.  Eventually at 2:08am I go to bed.  I realise that Jay has finally made it to 28 weeks.

As I fall asleep, I wonder if there is reincarnation and if there is, how it is that I got such a hectic life between all the death, alcoholism, autism and teenage pregnant daughters I have had to contend with.  What kind of action brought about this karma and am I clocking up good karma for the next life?  I am feeling sorry for myself, I know, but hey, it is 2am!!

I close my eyes and sleep finally comes to me.  Please, please let Baby C make it to at least midday tomorrow!!

Categories
Teenage Pregnancy

The diabetes test – Thursday 14 April – 27 weeks and 5 days

Jay is nearly 28 weeks.  Despite the doctors being absolutely convinced that she would go into labour at 26 weeks, she has done a wonderful job of keeping Baby C in utero and now he will be bigger and stronger.  His survival rate just shot up as well.

It has been a difficult week for Jay.  Being in the medihotel has the advantage of a good night’s sleep, but has the disadvantage of not being checked up regularly during the day by midwives.  The isolation is getting to her.  She is bored and I worry about her depression getting worse.

“I don’t know why I am here.  I may as well be at home.”

“The nurse explained love that you could come home but the risk to the baby if it comes early and is a quick labour is high – there would be no-one to resuscitate the baby if he needed it.  She said that the biggest determinant for a successful outcome is where you are located at the time of the birth.”

Jay knows this, but I fear it does nothing to ease her boredom.

I go in every day to see her.  We go downstairs, have coffee and a danish, and then chat.  We go back upstairs to her room and watch TV.  After a fashion, I then leave and usually someone else will visit later in the afternoon and evening.  On occasion Em has not made it in the evenings and this has upset Jay.  I understand.  I would not be happy either if my partner did not come to see me every day, but I cannot decide if that is an unreasonable expectation or a legitimate gripe.  She texts me I’m teary.

I know love, I will be there in the morning, I text back.

And I do arrive, every morning.  We are on this journey together, after all.

Today, I have to take Jay to the pathology lab for diabetes blood test.  She is not happy.  “Right, Jay,” the nurse says, “I need to take blood, then you need to drink this glucose drink, then I need to take some blood one hour later and then again an hour after that.”

Jay looks at me.  “Why do I have to do this, I don’t have diabetes.”

“I know you probably don’t, love, but they have to check and at 28 weeks is the best time, I suppose.  It is important to know.” Jay does not like needles.

“Small scratch,” the woman says.  Jay winces. She drinks the sickly sweet drink.

We hang around in her room for an hour and go back to the lab.  A different nurse takes the blood this time.  Again we hang around in Jay’s room for an hour.  “Mum, I’m feeling faint I am so hungry, I am sure this is not good for the baby.”  No, I wouldn’t imagine starving since 9pm the night before is good for the baby.

“It will be alright love.  Only another hour and you can have lunch.  My treat.”

The hour passes and we head on down to the lab.  The first nurse is taking the blood this time.  I feel we are playing pass the parcel with Jay.  She attempts to take the last vial of blood, but misses the vein.  She digs around.  Jay is clearly in pain and appears to be going a bit pale.  Eventually, the nurse decides to try another vein.  Bingo!  She’s in.

I treat Jay to a pizza for lunch.  She has lunch waiting for her in the ward, but she prefers pizza.  She keeps showing me her war wounds.  Four little prick marks in her arms.

We head back to the ward after her lunch.  A gentleman wreaking of smoke enters the lift.  I wager a guess that he has some mental illness.  He is extremely dishevelled, twitchy and his pyjamas are hospital issue.  A guess, but having been a nurse in a previous life, they are usually correct.  Jay has her phone in her lap.

“Nice phone cover,” the man says.

“Thanks.”  Jay keeps her head down.  Her back is to me as I have wheeled her into the lift.  The man is next to Jay.

“Can I have a look at it?” he says.

She hesitates.

“Can I have a look,” he says again, holding out his hand.  She nervously hands the phone over.  He looks at it and as the lift pings on our floor, he hands it back.  I quickly wheel her to the ward, checking slightly over my shoulder to make sure we are not being followed (just in case).  We get into the room and Jay gets onto the bed.  I can see she is upset.

“Are you okay, love?”

She bursts into tears.  “I didn’t know what to do, I just didn’t know what to do.”

“He didn’t mean any harm love and if he had kept the phone, I would have said something.”

She looks at me.  “Why didn’t you say No, Mum, that he couldn’t have the phone.”  She feels I haven’t protected her.  I suddenly feel awful.  Did I not protect her?

“Well, in my experience, it is usually best not to provoke people like that.  They don’t usually mean any harm.  We were in an enclosed space, and I was afraid that if we refused him, it might provoke him.  I didn’t want that.”

Jay nods, and I hug her as she cries softly, clearly very shaken up by the experience.  This shouldn’t happen in hospital.  This whole thing should NOT be happening to my daughter, dammit!!  She is way too young!

Eventually it is time for me to leave.  Jay is tired.  I draw the blinds and turn off the room light, kiss her lightly on the forehead and whisper for her to get some sleep.  I know that is exactly what I am going to do when I get home, but not before I stop at Red Rooster and get some chicken for dinner.

Another day and Baby C is still in there.  How lucky can we possibly get?

Categories
Depression Teenage Pregnancy

Moving to the medihotel – Wednesday 10 April – 27 weeks and 3 days

My phone rings before I have managed to get out of bed.  It is Jay.

“Hi love, how are you?”

“I’m okay.  They said that they are going to transfer me to the medihotel today.  I said that if they can transfer me there, can’t they just let me go home, but they said no because if I deliver early, and they said I will deliver early, there will be no-one to resuscitate the baby.  I guess I get that.”

It is hard for her.  She is 19 and having to remain on bedrest for what may end up being weeks.  Not likely, but it could be that long.  It is boring for her and I worry about her frame of mind.

“It is good news that they are moving you love.  It means that the imminent danger is over and we may even get a couple  more weeks yet.  This means you will be closer to 30 weeks which is brilliant!”

I know she doesn’t see it that way, such is the “I want it now” teenage mind.  “Yeah, I guess.  What time are you coming over?”

“I’m just getting ready and I will be over soon, okay.”

I hop into the shower.  A dull headache is brewing but I choose to ignore it.  JC and I have our breakfast.  He wants plain bread only – easy to eat, doesn’t have to stop what he is doing.  I refuse.  He has to have something on it – vegemite or peanut butter.  He chooses vegemite.  I break my own rule and allow him to eat it on the settee.  I’m too tired to fight so don’t even start it.  He says “Yay!”

I make JC lunch, left over sausages, baked potato and vegetables.  I cover the plate, place it next to the microwave and tell him that his lunch is there, to put it in the microwave for 2 minutes for lunch.  “Okay, Mum,” he says.

I make my way to the hospital.  My headache is getting worse, but I ignore it.  I have decided I am old way to before my time.  I have a plethora of illnesses that someone my age shouldn’t have – hypothyroidism, meniere’s disease, spinal stenosis, gastric problems, not to mention depression, alcoholism, extreme fatigue all the time and obesity.  Oh no, this just has to change.  I need to be here for my grandchild and for my children.

I arrive at the ward and Jay is all ready and waiting to be transferred.  She has packed her things into bags (of which there are way too many) and is eager to move.  We are told that she will not be moved until after 2pm, so we head downstairs for a coffee and pie.

“I am a little scared of giving birth, Mum.”

“I know love.  But it will be okay.  Hopefully with them moving you to the Medihotel that means that they don’t expect it any time soon.”

We haven’t spoken about what happens after the baby arrives.  I guess there isn’t much point until he makes his appearance and we know what his chances are.   The not-knowing just looms over all of us like a black cloud.  I think that we will all be relieved when he arrives so we know what we are dealing with.  It is difficult because we don’t want to wish his early arrival, but want to know what it is we will have to cope with.  Catch 22.

We make our way up to the ward and Jay eats her lunch.  We pile up her belongings are taken over to the medihotel ward.  It is a 10 bed unit on the same floor.  It is for people who are at too much risk to go home, but aren’t sick enough for ward care.  Jay fits the profile perfectly.

We are greeted by the ward clark who shows Jay to her room.  She has her own room with bed, tv and ensuite.  It is really nice.  “All meals are to be taken in the dining room.  You help yourself to breakfast and lunch and dinner is brought up from the kitchen.  Please put your dishes into the dishwasher when you are done.”  So this is a self-help, self-care ward.  Fair enough.

We return to Jay’s room.  “This is really nice, Jay.  Finally, you will be getting some decent sleep.”

“But I am going to be lonely.”  I sigh.  Her frame of mind is really starting to worry me.

“I know love, but between Em, Tee, Dee and me you will have plenty of visitors to keep you entertained.  Make the most of the rest love.  When Baby C comes there will be no rest, you know.”  Jay looks very tired.  “How about a cup of tea.”

“Rooibos tea?”  It is Jay’s favourite, a taste from our old South African days.

“Of course,” I smile.  I grab two tea bags and head to the kitchen.

“Here we go.  One rooibos tea for you and one for me too.”  Jay smiles.

My headache is steadily getting worse and is that a sore throat I feel?  I decide it is time for me to go home.  “You are really settled here, love, so I am going to head home.”

“Okay.”

“Get some rest, Jay.  Sleep.”

“I don’t like to sleep during the day.”  She is really fed up.

“Okay.  Well, do what you feel is right for you angel.  I will see you tomorrow.”

We kiss goodbye and I make my way home.  My head is now thumping, my throat is sore and I am aching all over.  Oh please, do not let me be coming down with something.

I get home and take some headache tabs and lie down.  The house is a mess and I cannot muster the energy to do anything about it.  I phone Dee.  “Can you bring pizza home for dinner, I just can’t cook.”

“Order it online, love, I’m going to be a little late home.”

I order it online.  JC is thrilled.  Dee gets home and I take another couple of tabs and head off to bed.  My head is thumping and feels like it is too heavy for my neck.  I lay as still as I can because moving my head hurts like hell.  Eventually I drift off into a quite deep sleep.

At 11pm, Dee makes it to bed.  He wakes me, despite trying to be as quiet as he can.  “How are you?” he whispers.

“My head still hurts, but not as bad.  I’m going to stay at home tomorrow and rest.”

“Good idea.  Oh, by the way, the electricity guy is coming tomorrow at 8am.”

“Fuck, Dee, really?  On the one day I decide to stay at home?”  I calm down.  It’s not his fault.  “Sorry, okay, no problem.”  And with that I fall back to sleep.

My dreams are fitful.  I dream of my mom.  I can never hear her voice.  It is the one thing I miss about her the most.  Her voice.  It was the first thing that the lung cancer took from her and it is the one thing I miss the most.  I long to hear her say “It’s okay, love, it will be all okay.”  I guess a girl never ceases to need her mom, even when she’s passed to the other side.

Categories
Uncategorized

A word on God – Tuesday 10 April – 27 weeks and 3 days

Baby C has made it through another night, although I wake up with a start at 6:00am when Dee’s alarm goes off to wake him for work.  I am unable to return to sleep.

It is cold.  Winter is on its way.  I get out of bed, turn on the heating (ignoring all the housework that I am not doing) and return to bed – way too early to get up.  Besides, JC made himself a bed in the lounge and I don’t want to wake him.  He does that sometimes when he can’t sleep.  For some reason he does better in the lounge.

I log onto facebook.  It is becoming a morning ritual for me.

I see a post from a woman I met in the UK when my mom got sick.  She was from the evangelical (read: happy clappy) church that my parents had joined just before my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer.

It reads:

Is anyone interested in learning more about God?  You may have questions or feel the need to disprove God.  If you do please inbox me.

I like this woman, a lot, but as soon as I read the post, I feel my body tightening.  My own spiritual journey has been long and convoluted.  I still am unsure where I stand, but it is definitely not in the Christian camp.  I want to say that I am sorry if this post offends the many Christian people that I love and respect, but am not going to, because it doesn’t seem to worry Christians that the attribution of everything good in their lives to God and everything bad in their lives to being “part of God’s plan”, and their incessant need to tell me as much at every single turn, offends me.

I notice my cousin has replied and a repartee has evolved between the two of them.  My cousin is considering christianity it seems and the lady from the church uses my parents and their tragic journey as proof of the miracle of Christ:

I know that some would just see the tragedy of Sarah’s mom’s passing and wonder why God would do that, but God so wanted her to be with Him that’s why He made sure she knew Him first.  God knew what was going to happen, so He put people around her to ensure she went to Him.

I am immediately annoyed and upset by this comment.  I contemplate unfriending this woman, but don’t because I know that her belief is a part of who she is, that she is a good person, and that she is an incredibly kind person.  My mom really thought the world of her, loved her.  Still, I remain angry. I do not share the sentiment of my mom’s journey to her early demise.

I am just going to come right out and say it.  I don’t believe in the existence of one all-seeing, omnipotent God who gets to decide who lives and dies.  I tried to believe, God knows I tried (sic) – especially when mom became sick.  I begged God to open my eyes and my heart so that I could share the sense of wonder and happiness that my mom felt through her belief.  In those last few weeks, despite my begging, attending church and bible study, the God of my parent’s understanding apparently did not deem it worthy enough to “open my eyes and heart”.  He did not call me, as apparently the bible says he does.  I arrived in the UK as a humanist and left for Australia 11 weeks later as a humanist. In a room full of christians, I have never ever felt more isolated, alone and redundant.

Frankly, the notion that God knew the suffering and pain my mom would go through, then put total strangers around her to send her on her way to Him, rendering her family (i.e. me, the non-believer) obsolete, seems like the behaviour of a masochist.

I feel this is particularly true when you consider, as my cousin pointed out, that my mom spent most of her life on a diet and when she was basically given free reign to eat what the bloody hell she liked, she could not taste a thing.  If the power of God is that strong and He so wanted her because she was so good, too good for us, then why not at least give her an amazing sense of taste, one final gift of earthly existence?  Well, as you can see, my baggage runs deep with God.

A couple of times, dad, who is a strong believer, has sent Jay text messages to say that the reason Baby C has stayed in place up until now is because of all the prayer rings going on for her.  I cannot deny that there have been many prayer rings– dad’s, Gee’s, Tee’s and Tee’s mom in the USA – and for each one, I am grateful.  He said this is the true power of God.

I am tolerant of another’s belief, I truly am.  I really do believe that we are all entitled to believe whatever our heart or soul says feels right for us.  That is the gift of humanity and I myself am a continuous spiritual seeker.  I may not believe in God today, but I am open to perhaps that, one day, that might change (although I doubt it).

However, I get really fed up when religious people hover, like vultures, praying on the pain and suffering of others to bring their message of God of their understanding.  I am happy for people to pray for our family, because that brings THEM comfort and I am touched by their kindness to do that for us.  But please, don’t tell my daughter that even if the worst happens (which is really too much for her to bare right now), it is part of God’s plan.  Don’t tell me that my mother died of a horrible, painful disease because it was part of God’s plan.

Christians, please know this:  firstly, at the time of the grief, non-believers will be hating God, or the notion of God, even more.  Now is not the time to try and convert them.  Secondly, those that come to the church (willingly), do so because they are spiritual seekers and the message of the God of your understanding speaks to them in a way that is right for them.  Telling a person that the person you love most in the world has just died because it is “part of God’s plan” is not the way to bring them into the fold.  Support them, yes.  Love them, yes.  Be the change you want to see in the world i.e. live your truth, yes.  But, please, do NOT try to use their loss as a form of recruitment.

Of course, I admit I am still angry.  I am still angry at the death of mom and I am angry that my beautiful 19 year old baby girl is having to go through this awful experience.  It is hard enough to do it without telling us that it is all part of some divine plan.  Just pray for us if that brings you comfort, heaven knows, I pray even if it is to the universe, rather than an almighty God, and I thank you for those prayers, but please please, enough with the “this is all part of some divine plan” talk.  It does not bring us comfort in the least.  In fact, it angers us and just adds one more pressure to what is already a stressful experience.

I like the idea that this is in fact not part of a divine experience, that our lives are not being toyed with like a cat plays with the mouse before it pounces.  I like the notion that this is a human experience, not brought on by any “plan”, divine or otherwise.  It is just a random act of nature, unexplainable, it just is.  We may be spiritual beings living a human existence, I do not know, but I know I don’t like the idea that our pain and suffering is being controlled by something or someone else that we can’t even see.  It isn’t something we as a society would tolerate under any other circumstance and I don’t know why we should tolerate it because people say God says we should.  That just does not seem right to me.

No, my choice is to believe that this is random, that my role is to be there to support my daughter, and that if the worst should happen, and I truly hope that it doesn’t, that it is just an act of nature, that sometimes, bad things happen to good people and we will deal with that.

Until then, however, I believe in the power of the human spirit and its need to survive and because of that, I remain ever hopeful.

 

Categories
Teenage Pregnancy

Knitting and leaving the ward – Monday 9 April – 27 Weeks and 2 days

As I open my eyes to the start of a new day, I wonder how much longer it will be before Baby C makes his arrival.  Having the threat of a preemie baby, and all of the implications that brings, consumes everything.  I am unable to think of housework (which at the best of times is a push for me anyway), or any of my other responsibilities.

My maternal instinct to protect Jay from any eventualities – eventualities that I dare not even think about, but are there, looming, ominously threatening – is incredibly strong.

My phone buzzes.  The doctor has been.  Because I have been settled for a few days now, I am allowed to go downstairs in the wheelchair. 

I’m just getting ready, I will be there as soon as possible.

I want to come home.

I know love, but they said they would consider sending you home only after you got to 32 weeks.  I feel like I am forcing my child to stay in boarding school when she is so miserably unhappy.

I get ready and drive to the hospital.  It is Easter Monday, so again Dee is able to be with JC.

Before arriving at the hospital, I stop off at the shops.  It seems ages since I have been shopping.  I wander around, looking to get Jay something.  I am feeling uninspired, but end up getting her a sweet scarf – winter is on its way after all.

I amble into K-Mart.  Easter eggs are on sale.   We definitely do not need those – Jay has one enormous stash.  I stumble upon some wool and decide to buy a baby knitting pattern book, some wool and needles.    Yes, folks, I am turning into the proverbial granny!

I arrive at the hospital and Jay is gagging to get out in the wheelchair.  We make our way down to the lobby and enjoy a meat pie and hot chocolate together.  We follow this with a lovely Danish – yes, okay, the diet is not going particularly well.  Jay’s mood is lifting and it is lovely to chat to her.  We talk about the baby, the people who are coming and going in the ward.  She is getting to experience a myriad of different mothers and is already determining the kind of mum she wants to be – protective, nurturing, caring – I had no doubt this would be the case.

We take a wonder around the hospital shop and giggle at my less than expert wheel chair driving skills (the aisles were very narrow is my excuse and I am sticking to it!).  I buy Baby C a gorgeously cute beanie and Jay buys herself some more puzzle books and magazines.

We return to the ward and I start my knitting (why am I cringing?).  “Do you want to learn to knit, Jay?”

“No.”  A response that was a little too resolute and quick for my liking 🙂

“Oh, okay, then.  I guess there are some things that you just cannot pass on to your daughter.”

Jay does word searches and I begin to knit.  We chat some more – always about babies in some way or another.  The gift that I have been given through this very trying, emotionally exhausting time is not lost on me.  I love how we are getting so close.

“Listen, Jay, when Em arrives, I am going to go okay?  You are really well settled now and you don’t need me here all day.  Em will want to be with you on your own anyway.”

“Okay, Mum.”  Followed by, “I want to knit.”

“Do you?  How about I bring some stuff for you tomorrow and I teach you?”

Jay nods.  Em arrives and I pack up and make my way home.  I am tired from a late night and am looking forward to getting home.  I seem to be tired a lot lately.

I get home, and lay down on the settee.  I sleep for two hours.  Thank goodness for long lazy weekends.

Dee has prepared dinner whilst I slept and we eat at the table – the first time all three of us has eaten together for a while.  JC is in good spirits and we talk and laugh a bit.  It is good to feel this sense of normality.

JC wants to stay up late again.  I am desperate for an early night but agree to stay up with him (bloody school holidays).  I watch episodes of “One born every minute” on UKTV.  I love to watch what each family goes through as it welcomes a new life into the world.  I imagine myself in that position in a few short weeks (with any luck).

JC’s movie finishes and he goes off to bed.  “Good night, JC, I love you.”  He grunts.  His latest thing is that he refuses to tell me he loves me.  I am saddened by this, but also know it is a teenage boy thing.

I log onto facebook and Jay has posted a photo:

I totally love it.  Aw, baby girl, thank you so much.  I love you so much.

 I love you too.  Thank you for everything and being there for me xxx.

 I climb into bed.  Another day is over, Baby C has made it through and my daughter thinks I am the greatest.  Damn, it’s been a good day!