It’s 5.30am. I’m wide awake, something that’s getting extremely annoying considering I’m on leave and not even work gets me out of bed before 7am. I’m the girl who looks at my alarm clock like it’s a suggestion; now my body clock, and the 39-week-old child I’m carrying, have come together to mock me.
Pregnancy is a weirdly wonderful thing. From the fantastic morning sickness and little butterfly flutters of the baby’s first movements, to the malicious kicks in the ribs and excess weight gain; the multiple trips to the bathroom throughout the night to the magic of water retention and swollen feet, and the ever present reminder that your pelvic bones are separating to prepare for child birth, causing you to waddle and lose any modicum of grace that you’ve managed to hold on to up to this point. Yet despite that, it’s amazing really.
But right now, I’m done being pregnant and just need this baby to get out of me so that I can enjoy a few things I took for granted before getting knocked up. You know, things like lying on my back, flipping my body every which way I like, moisturizing my own feet.
In the last week, my cousin Lydia and my girl Nyachomba have both had their babies. We were due around the same time but their babies were kind enough to show up a little early, leaving me to waddle towards 40 weeks (and quite possibly the 100kg mark). I won’t lie, I’m jealous. But more than that, my desire to have this baby already is causing me to have the strangest dreams.
The baby is here, in my arms, in my hospital bed. I don’t know what to do to it. I can’t tell whether it’s a girl or a boy, and it keeps crying.
We’re discharged. We have no baby clothes to take the baby home in. The hospital lends us a swaddle blanket but it’s not heavy enough to keep the baby warm, and I’m terrified that s/he will catch cold. We have no infant car seat, I’m refusing to get in the car without that seat. All the websites say I must have a car seat. So how will we get home? I sit on the pavement with the baby, wondering what kind of mother I am.
I wake up.
The baby is here, in my arms, and I’m filled with all sorts of emotions. I’m crying, but I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m happy, or terrified, or both. She’s chubby; looks very healthy and I’m thinking at least my weight gain was not in vain. She looks so peaceful, then suddenly, out of nowhere, she lets out a wail unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. What the hell is this? She sounds like an animal! Why am I alone in the room with her? What am I supposed to do with this crying child? I want to hand her to someone so that I don’t have to deal with her. A nurse comes in. She’s stern, looks like she’s never laughed a day in her life. She asks me why I’m letting my baby cry, before walking over, yanking my boob out of my hospital gown and sticking it in the baby’s mouth.
The baby suckles. Hard. It’s so bloody painful I want to smack her in the face. She pulls and pulls. Nothing is coming out. She starts crying again. The nurse won’t give me a break. She comes and asks me why I have no milk. She’s squeezing my boobs in the most non-sexual way imaginable, feeling me up in a way that’s more assault rather than stimulation. She’s pulling my nipples, trying to coax the milk out. It’s so painful, I’m trying to tell her to stop it but I can’t speak. Anxiety is rising up in my chest, tears are welling up in my ears, then suddenly, silence.
I look around. The baby is looking at me accusingly. Taunting me. I feel like a failure.
I wake up.
I’m standing in the hospital parking lot. The person next to me is a friend, though I can’t see her face. I’m wearing double denim, and I’m super excited about some party we’re going to because I’m going to have a drink (or several) for the first time in almost 10 months. I’m heavily pregnant but for some reason the big belly I’m walking around with doesn’t register.
Suddenly, I feel the most intense pain I have ever felt in my life. It courses through my pregnant belly, coming in waves that feel like they’re tearing my insides apart and causing me to double over. I squat. I push three times, and poop out the baby. It takes all of two minutes. And then I proceed to get into a cab because my friend and I have plans and nothing, not even this newborn baby, will get in the way of those plans.
I return to hospital after my little girls’ day out. I’m a little tipsy, very happy, and going to visit my baby. I walk into the hospital room and find my mom there with her friends. She has a bundle in her arms. Something feels strange though: the bundle is huge! I walk over to her slowly, I’m excited to see the baby but I’m wondering why she’s covered in so many layers. It’s not that cold.
I peel off the layers. My mom switches the baby’s position so that she’s upright. But the baby is not a she; she’s a he, and he’s a giant, with a mouthful of teeth and a very high forehead. That is not my baby. Is this some kind of prank? I back away, I’m shaking and crying, nobody else in the room is doing anything. What did they do with my baby?
I wake up.
I remember reading about vivid dreams being very common in pregnancy. But jameni what dreams are these I’m having? These have all been in the last few weeks by the way, and are the ones I remember in detail because of how outrageous they are. Though I also remember having very sexy dreams (what I think wet dreams are made of in teenage boys) and waking up all hot and bothered and looking at my baby daddy and taking these as signs of what’s to come post-baby *wink, double wink, wink and an amen*
I’m not one to believe that dreams have meaning but it if I was; I’d be even more petrified about being a mom than I am now. The one good thing about them though, is that they’ve made me do stuff. After Dream 1, I went and bought baby clothes and ordered a travel system with an infant car seat; after Dream 2 I started reading up on breastfeeding and booked a session with a lactation consultant/doula. After Dream 3 I prayed. Hard. I also committed to loving my child, not abandoning it so I could party and not pooping it out. Though I wouldn’t complain if the labour process happened that quickly because after watching a few birthing videos I can say with no shame: I am TERRIFIED!
Oh and this morning, after enduring a fantastically uncomfortable night during which I once again dreamt that the baby was here, I woke up and assembled the travel cot in my room (I’m determined to instill independence early – and protect my space), made sure the clothes were ironed and arranged neatly in the baby’s room, and will work slowly on the room.
So maybe these dreams are not so bad after all. Now if only the baby would actually come. I want to meet this little troublemaker.