It’s a funny thing, being a parent. And I say that before I’ve actually become a parent.
I don’t know who specifically ever said it to me, perhaps it was a lot of people, and perhaps I heard it in a film too, but I’ve always remembered being told that as soon as you have children you’ll spend the rest of your life worrying about their wellbeing. Today, that really hit home for me.
This afternoon, Katie was up in bed trying to sleep off this sickness she’s had the past few days. A sickness I take full responsibility for, by the way, given it absolutely destroyed me over Christmas and seemingly spread to my lady just as I kicked its ass back for making me feel so damn shit for so long. She’s spent the weekend in bed, pretty much, although not by choice – them were Dr Kyle’s orders. Dr Kyle has been very good at looking after her during this time too, if I do say so myself!
Just after 3pm, Katie sent me a text. I was watching a Ben Stiller movie on Netflix, but saw my phone screen light up (I’m now starting to get back to actually having my phone rest face up, as I no longer have to worry about the anxiety that work-related texts used to bring me!). The text was Katie trying to downplay some worries that she had about the baby having not moved for quite a few hours.
14 hours earlier I’d been browsing through the pregnancy app called What to Expect. There are discussion forums on there, where people talk about their impending births, and all sorts of baby related things. I never post, as generally it seems to just be women talking in there, and in truth I kinda stopped even looking at anything on there as all the January 2016 mothers-to-be get closer to their births, as they talk about some pretty grim things in there (and post photos to accompany said discussions, too – that was an eye opener!). Last night though, I went on there because it occurred to me that we are almost halfway through January, so all these women are probably starting to, or have had, their babies. I went from topic to topic, where mothers were introducing their new little family members to the world. It made me quite excited about meeting my little boy, and a little jealous too, if I’m honest.
The relevance of this is, one lady had recently posted about how she was 38 weeks pregnant, and after getting to the end of the day and realising she hadn’t felt the baby move all day, she went to the doctors the next day at 8am to get checked up. A heartbeat was found, but an ultrasound revealed that the baby wasn’t moving, so they sent her in for a emergency C-Section. When she woke up, she was informed that they hadn’t been able to keep the baby alive. This woman, who’s name I don’t know, had lost her child at 38 weeks into her pregnancy. Reading her story really sucked.
I mentioned this to Katie today, whilst we were walking the dog. Maybe, as a result, I’d planted seeds of panic in her mind. So, when she told me that she hadn’t felt our little boy move since his hiccups five hours earlier, she was obviously worried. As was I, but I couldn’t show that.
You see, when faced with a situation like this, the absolute worst thing you can do as a man is become visibly worried. Your lady is already worrying, and she’s looking to you for support, not to see you losing your shit with fear. That’s not to say you can’t lose your shit, you just can’t show her that you’re losing your damn shit.
I poked and prodded Baby, with no success. I made Katie drink a pint of cold water, again with no success. After that, we spoke to the staff at Serenity, who put us through to the triage part of the maternity department. They told us to come in for checks.
Straight in the car we went, and I spent most of the journey trying to make Katie think about anything else other than the lack of movement going on in her bump. I’d like to think I was doing a good job, but I’m sure she was putting on a show for me, same as what I was doing for her I guess.
When we got to the hospital, they immediately took us to our own area on the ward, and started to get all their equipment up and running. The woman who was with us was great, and started to look for a heartbeat coming from Baby. At first, there was nothing, but then she found it, and boy was it going fast! There he was, completely healthy, little ticker going crazy whilst he slept.
We waited for nearly an hour, hooked up to the machine, whilst she confirmed that all was good with our baby boy. I’d say we left at around 5pm, both very happy to know that we were worrying over nothing and that the baby was fine.
It was made clear to Katie that, if she doesn’t feel movement for even five minutes, she should get herself down to triage for a check. I loved that advice, and the lady who took care of us was bloody superb. I wish I’d got her name, and she can rest assured knowing that we will go there whenever we have any concerns during the final weeks of this pregnancy!
Whilst listening to his heartbeat for an hour, I was thinking about that big statement. The one about how you spend your whole life worrying about the wellbeing of your children. Today, I truly experienced that for the first time, and I’ve not even held him in my arms yet. I can only imagine how stressed I’m going to feel once he’s born!