There’s something about the sounds of a hospital labour ward at night. Right now it’s lights out and I can hear the softly galloping heartbeats of all the babies on their CTG monitors, the sound of new lives impatient to be out. All night you wake up sporadically to the quiet, reassuring lilt of the super tough, mainly Nigerian midwives trying to ease their patients into the dark hours where fear surfaces and all the usual rules of keeping a brave face on it are suspended.
There are no moaners on the ward tonight. I went to sleep last night grouchily hoping there wouldn’t be anyone having contractions and disturbing my peace and it turned out to be me doing all the heavy breathing. So today I am more sympathetic. One young Asian girl going into labour this afternoon, and not coping too well with her pain or the unreasonably long wait for a doctor, started to go delirious on the gas and air. She said she wanted to go for a walk outside, and kept repeating that she didn’t want the baby, that she’d die if she went to the bathroom. She begged the midwives not to leave her. You can tell they are desperately overstretched here. Her poor husband tried to assert himself about the absence of the doctors, who were busy doing endless c-sections in theatre, but to no avail, and resorted to saying ‘Softly, softly’ to his wife. I was glad Lucas had timed his visit later as I think he would have been alarmed by her distress. I don’t want him to imagine that’s how it will be for me.
The contractions have become more infrequent now, although still painful throughout the day. Like distant rumblings of thunder. I wonder when I’ll get to go home. Lucas has adjusted admirably. Every time he visits and it’s time to go he says ‘mummy come too?’ but he knows the answer.
He always manages to arrive at dinner time and immediately settles himself down to scoff my pudding. I love the assumption that everything that’s mine is automatically his. He gave me the last spoonful though.
I loved my visit today from husband, in-laws and baby. We had coffee and cakes in the middle of the ward. When dh said it was time to get ready to go Lucas looked at my face and said ‘Mummy’s sad’. And there was me thinking I was doing such a good job of hiding it. I cried and cried when they left and then settled into a movie. It’s just hard being away from the people you love with no choice in the matter. Even moving around the ward to entertain Lucas brought my contractions back on but it did at least make me realise that I mustn’t rush the doctors into discharging me this time. Just a few weeks out of my life. I wish I had a crystal ball.
28 weeks and 1 day. Tonight the midwife is showing off the beautiful double trace she has managed on the monitor. It is the first time we’ve managed a consistent half hour. I hope it’s a sign that they are getting bigger and feeling relaxed. Scan tomorrow to check their growth. Hoping they’ll both be well over a kilo as it makes a massive difference. Come on the Peas.