Domestic stresses had caused me cramps. Finally, my body was failing the task again. My pelvis was opening and my small-boned frame wasn't taking much more. I would have put up with the discomfort and occasional pain, but the doctor wasn't having any of it. So a c-section it was, as long as I witnessed her arrival and she was taken to daddy as soon as possible, then I would accept this.
Miscommunication (foreign language after all), mismanagement, or downright refusal to follow my wishes, ended up in me being completely put under. I missed it all. DIY Dad saw her from behind glass for only a few minutes and then he was ordered home.
Intense pain, hormonal havoc, a million tears, many unanswered enquiries to the nurses, the knowledge that I had almost died on the table due to a reaction to the anaesthetic, and SEVEN hours later, I finally saw my baby. When they wheeled her in, my first thought was, this could be anyone's baby. I had no connection to her.
I was devastated.
And yet, I soon discovered that I had intense feelings of protection towards her. Some primal instinct was awakened. The nurses were constantly taking her out of my room without explaining why. I appreciate they knew I didn't speak the language but it isn't difficult to mime, food, nappy change, and so on. I had my husband on the phone translating and trying to get him to understand he had to be assertive with them, to demand that they ask for my permission every single time they wanted her. And that NO, I did not want her sleeping away from me, no I would NOT rest better for it. It was so exhausting trying to deal with the upset as well as trying to sort it out.
And due to the surgery, I was trussed up with a heart monitor and a drip, and was barely able to move from the pain. She was placed on the opposite side to the machine so I was unable to properly reach into the glass bassinette to touch her. I risked injury finally to give her the barest stroke against her tiny feather-soft cheek. The tears flowed freely.
I had been refused holding her at birth, I had had to wait to see her, I had to wait to bond, I had to wait to properly touch her.
I couldn't hold my baby, and it was killing me.
Last night, when I was awake for the zillionth time with her and she was only comforted with holding, I recalled those memories, and I thought,
...perhaps this is my time, these moments in my arms are for every moment we lost those 5 days in the hospital...
And in this way, my perception of wakeful nights continues to take on a profound meaning in the larger web of life, and thereby changes.
I'm grateful for my lack of sleep, there is a gift within it.