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Thoughts from the blue plastic chair

December 21, 2011

Over the last 3 days I’ve spent nearly 20 hours in the big blue plastic chair in the heart monitoring section of the hospital watching the little lines develop sometimes well, other times not well and listening to the little thundering hooves that indicate the Spaniard’s heart is still beating. This morning was less grim than usual, one of my former ‘bed neighbours’ was in the next door cubicle and we were allowed to open the curtains and chat to each other while we both lay spreadeagled in the blue plastic chairs with our computer screens flickering and the print outs rolling … she is being induced on Friday having been ‘leaking’ a little … and wonderfully her little person had a perfect heart trace and all was well … and lots of movement. I was comforted and reassured having her there, and also pleased to see that someone as beautiful as she has a large hairy line down her tummy and I don’t!!! (I am a bad person …) however it was odd to look from her screen to mine and see the less insistent beat from The Spaniard and even more so the difference in the movement indicator lines… but all in all it was a good time in the heart room and lovely to have ‘company’ there. I so look forward to meeting her little person very soon.

Yesterday I had a difficult day, I finally felt cross … with everything … even The Spaniard, I tried walking it off and talking to a friend but just in the end started to ‘rant’ at her which wasn’t constructive … I felt very ‘why me?’ and very weary, very guilty, very frustrated and just all in all fractious. The heart test in the morning took nearly 3 hours from start to finish, the one in the evening we had to wait for ages due to the number of people needing them. I missed the watery winter sunshine and had a short walk in the drizzle and everything I ate tasted like cardboard … and then I couldn’t sleep.

So, I woke  up this morning expecting to be even crabbier … I’m not. Just much more exhausted – I need an injection of Kerelan karma and sunshine or Brancaster breeze and some laughter … living in this painful limboland has become harder and harder.

Anyway – I thought I’d take my ill temper of yesterday and tell you some of the things that have made me go grrrrrrrrrrr in the hospital in the last fortnight.

1 – and I totally blame David Cameron for this – and the Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley – he’s meant to be in charge of health. The other evening I wandered into ‘dinner’ (queue up with tray to be served) and smelt lasagna … “yum” I thought … as did the girl who came in behind me who after being induced 2 days earlier, lots of painful labour had a few hours ago finally delivered her little baby person. I pointed at the lasagna and a splodge of it was put on my plate – not a big serving but enough. The new mother behind me put her plate out only to be told, “you can’t have hot food you’ve had your baby… hot food’s for the ante natal side, you can have soup and a sandwich” … and we were directed to look at a sign.

no hot food

This seems so unfair to me … and I couldn’t enjoy my dinner for the extreme guilt that I felt that she had to wander off dejectedly with a luncheon meat sandwich. I hasten to say I put no blame at all on the ward staff – they are wonderful and have to deal with the fall out from this decision. They also can’t give second helpings of anything, food to fathers or to the grandparents. Food often ran out and there really wasn’t enough. I was lucky – Roy or mother used to supplement my meals with a curry (hurrah) or other treat from the ‘outside’.

Anyway – that is thing 1 that annoyed me.

2 – other mothers to be who had no respect for themselves or their unborn babies … coming back to the ward stinking of cigarette smoke, clutching tins of red bull or large cups of coffee and a bag of junk food. They so often seemed to view the baby to be as an accessory “I bleedin’ hope I don’t have a fat baby” or fretted about their own weight, or had decided they didn’t want to attempt to breast feed “because I don’t want saggy tits like my mum”, “oh my hangover’s killing me with this morning sickness” etc etc etc aaaggghhhhhhhhhh

that drove me crazy … not that being holier than though has left me in a marvellous position, but I firmly believe that we wouldn’t have come this far in the pregnancy if I hadn’t cut out all things chemical, fizzy, caffinated, hair dye, blue cheese, unpasturized, sushi tuna, alcohol, rare steak and so on … and I am able to feel smug (inspite of everything) that I don’t have stretch marks from all the walking and care I’ve paid… but mostly I feel cross and sad for their children and the world they will be born into. I have no right to judge lifestyles but it does make me sad.

See now I feel guilty for putting that down and appearing pompous … but this is my blog and it is how it made me feel at the time so that’s how it is.

3 – and I can also blame Mr Cameron for this one … there are simply not enough midwives and nurses available – those that are go way beyond the call of duty and help, nurture and support their ‘patients’ … but when you see girls come in to be induced on a Monday, still waiting on the following Friday simply because there aren’t enough beds up on the delivery ward or enough staff to look after them it seems wrong.

4 – and yup Mr Cameron – right back at your feet again … several people I met had sick or weak babies that had to stay up on the special care baby unit … 2 floors up, there wasn’t enough room up there for their mothers to stay with them which means the whole skin to skin, sound of voice, breast feeding and so on benefit is impossible. Before the baby comes we are all urged to breast feed, or at least to cuddle naked and to talk endlessly to the new baby … but in reality the hospital doesn’t have the capacity to allow this to happen however much you might want it to. One girl was too nervous to ask if she could be wheeled up to see her new baby (2 days old) until 3 in the afternoon … only 2 midwives and no nurses on and they were swamped with an influx of people in labour. That made me sad, it made her distraught and fretful which presumably wasn’t good for her or the baby.

So … you see while I have been tearing my heart out worrying about The Spaniard or doing all I can to be positive with all the care and support I’ve been given, I’ve also become a fractious baggage.

That’s passed a good hour before I go over for the huge measurement scan this afternoon and to see the consultants to hopefully see if they have any further idea about my little still Spaniard … and if it will be ‘hoiked out’ (my term) before Christmas or after, what might be wrong with it and how it is doing… poor little person having so much poking and prodding and a fractious old bag for a mother. I so so hope and pray I get to hold it, to apologise and to love it … the whole baby dying thing has been in my head alot at night the last couple of nights and I think my biggest terror is that of the little soul dying inside me. Anyway at the moment that is not the case, its heart is beating and hopefully in 2 hours time I’ll see other positive signs on the ultrasound scan.

Right then … snooze, bath, eat, and trog back round to the scan department.

Thank you again for keeping positive for me and for all the candles burning across the country … if you could get some sleep for me please and send it this way along with a virtual large glass of something scrumptious and soothing it would be wonderful…. sorry for being fractious (I bet Mrs Cameron got a hot meal after their child was born recently … as she – and all new mothers – jolly well should have.) … shutting up now.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Holleman permalink
    December 21, 2011 4:28 pm

    You’ve every right and reason to feel as you do Ellie. You owe it to yourself to express your sentiments; it’s good, it’s right and it’s healthy for you, Roy, The Spaniard and everyone else around you. My mom thinks it’s barbaric that in the US mothers and newborns are commonly sent home from hospital the day following birth if birth occurs prior to 6pm. If birth is after 6 pm, they get an additional night’s reprieve. All this a result of insurance policies….which clearly are meant to insure their bottom lines, not the health and welfare of the patients. Sounds like there’s a bit of barbarity where you are as well. No hot meal?! Crazy. But, I digress….

    Please know that all of you remain in my thoughts and prayers. I stand by my previous words that never was a child so anticipated and loved as is The Spaniard. While there’s much angst and uncertainty now, keep optimistic, know that your friends and family are with you, and most of all know that you’ve done absolutely everything right for and in the very best interests of The Spaniard. xoxo


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