Aisling Marron: My baby is big, so I’m going to be induced. I’m all set, but I cannot, cannot sleep
Pandemic Pregnancy: My mam tells me she found this pregnancy very quick. Good for her
In the assessment unit in hospital.
I’ve married into a family that produces extremely large babies. Is this the kind of thing that is disclosed in a pre-marriage course? If so, I wish I’d done one.
The baby is big, and I’m to be induced a week before my due date.
I’ve mixed feelings about this.
It’s like being told the Leaving Cert is being brought forward by a week: you’ve had nine months to prepare and you’re mostly ready, but you’d still like the extra few days.
Also, this might be the last time I’ll have a baby, and I’ll miss being pregnant. I’ll miss feeling a baby moving inside me and receiving well wishes and kind glances from strangers on the street. I’ll miss weeing into those impossibly tiny pots. (I have no advice in this regard. I just blindly place it in the general direction and hope for the best. To be honest, that doesn’t usually work out well.) I’ll even miss the doctor saying “There’s glucose in your urine there” and me (screwing up my face but thinking about the croissant I had for breakfast) asking “What could that mean?”
I’m looking forward to seeing my parents who are coming to stay to mind our toddler. I’m nervous about labour and all that it might entail. I’m excited to have a new baby! And curious to see how our family dynamic will change. Will I have to stop asking the toddler “Who’s my best girl?” Maybe I’ll keep asking the question but it’ll lose its rhetorical quality and I’ll now stare between the two of them until one of them proves themselves.
The night before going into hospital feels like the night before a school tour: my snacks are packed, my alarm is set but I cannot, cannot sleep. I wake up calm, however, and am surrounded instead by everyone else’s nerves on my behalf. My dad says he has butterflies. My mam tells me she found this pregnancy very quick. (Good for her.) My husband later tells me he woke up so stressed he couldn’t speak for 20 minutes.
We leave the house after breakfast with the promise from my mother that she will pray for me on the hour, which, right as we are getting into the car, she upgrades to “Every half-hour!”
I hardly leave the house without a little pot of pee these days. Patting all my pockets on the threshold of the door is like, ‘Keys, wallet, phone, mask, pee’
When we arrive, I check in while my husband is told to wait in the car. The hospital is quiet and I’m just thinking how I don’t feel nervous at all when the sound of a woman vomiting followed by the sight of a woman in Mrs Brown’s Boys pyjamas brings me crashing back to reality.
While I’m waiting I take out the 80-page Toolkit for Labour document the hospital provided, and I’m speed-reading through it, like a crammer extraordinaire at the back of the exam hall moments before the exam is about to start, when the nurse says they’re ready to see me. I got as far as page 17.
I’m brought to a bed where some routine checks are done. They check my urine and blood pressure – standard. I hardly leave the house without a little pot of pee these days. (Patting all my pockets on the threshold of the door is like, “Keys, wallet, phone, mask, pee.”)
The nurse, placing her hands on my lower abdomen, says she can feel the baby’s head. I’m amazed she can tell where it is, and she kindly takes time away from what she’s doing to guide me to feel it. I don’t have the heart to tell her I can’t distinguish a head and hope my “Wow, isn’t that amazing!” is convincing.
I’m then connected to a machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, and I’m also given a clicker to click every time I feel the baby move. I love it! The more info the better. I start wondering what else we could measure. Maybe they could give me a pedal for me to tap every time I experience heartburn. Another pedal for when I’m feeling short of breath. And a harness over my head so I can play the harmonica.
When it’s all done I do my best Gerald Fleming impression and hand back the clicker with a wink.
I’m ready to move to delivery, and I can call my husband to come in.
Part 1: This is all getting a bit Angela’s Ashes
Part 2: We got bad news at the first baby scan
Part 3: What’s the oldest woman you’ve delivered a baby to?
Part 4: Not yet telling your colleagues about the baby
Part 5: I go in to the scan and it turns out, I do miss my husband
Part 6: Was she asking if the baby had magically appeared?
Part 7: I am more apprehensive about having a second child
Part 8: I’m living for my monthly maternity check-ups
Part 9: We decide we’ll take a little holiday
Part 10: Maternity leave during lockdown has its advantages
Part 11: I bat away suggestions for coping with labour
Part 12: ‘Natural’ is great if the birth is going well
Part 13: My baby is big, so I’m going to be induced