I’m blubbing again. The wretching kind that’s reminiscent of a cat with a hairball – but silent, and without the squelchy stomach sounds. It’s not rational, but it is what it is. Luckily I’m hidden behind a curtain and if things get really bad, there’s always the bathroom to hide in. I’ve put on a bra under my hospital gown to try and feel more normal; so far it seems to be helping.
This is hard. It’s day three in hospital and I still have no idea what the verdict will be. My doctor says my platelets and liver function are normal, but uric acid is high and so is the blood pressure. Is this preeclampsia or something less serious? Will I be allowed to go home and, if so, will I be allowed to go into the office and continue to work as normal? Will it be enough to take medication? What about all my meetings and presentations? (I have a Vega talk lined up, plus one on insurance and then geotagging, not to mention my client commitments.)
Well-meaning people are so good at making things worse. Rest up! Stop working! Take her phone away! What if it’s diet related? You shouldn’t have travelled to Cape Town. Lie flat on your back and take unpaid leave if you have to.
I Google “How to cope with a premature baby” because this is something I may well have to get my head around. I’m scared. This was not supposed to happen. I can feel the normality I had come to take for granted slipping steadily away. Something as unexceptional and unquestioned as the wait, which was meant to be until the end of April. Now what?
Until now, I worried – if you can call it that – about getting the nursery ready (which, for all sorts of reasons, won’t be a while yet). About the politics of baby showers. What to buy and what to borrow. About breastfeeding and lactation consultants and projectile poo. The normal stuff. Not hospital visits to peer helplessly into an incubator, not being able to hold her because she’s covered in monitoring equipment. (Will I have to take maternity leave for that, or can I work at the same time? I can’t take so much maternity leave – my employment contract will not allow for it. Will this mean I won’t get to spend time with her after she comes out of ICU because I’ve used up my allocation?)
I feel like I’m letting everyone down, especially her. She’s fine in there, perfectly happy from what we can tell, and I might be incapable of keeping her safe.
I know this happens to lots of women, that it is not uncommon, and that my age makes it a higher risk. That nobody really knows why pregnancy causes these symptoms. Still, it is, quite literally, my fault. The fact is that there something wrong with me and this is why this is happening.
I hate this.