I’m living for my monthly maternity check-ups as lockdown drags on

Pandemic Pregnancy: An early epidural request and a basic interaction that lifts spirits

Aisling who is six and a half months pregnant. ‘I spend the weeks between appointments planning my outfit. I even consider in one moment of madness going fancier than my “good leggings” but in the end decide against it.’

Aisling who is six and a half months pregnant. ‘I spend the weeks between appointments planning my outfit. I even consider in one moment of madness going fancier than my “good leggings” but in the end decide against it.’

 

Lockdown is getting to me and I’m starting to find working from home really hard: waking up in one bedroom, going to work in the next bedroom, eating my meals in the kitchen and spending the evening in the sittingroom before returning to the first bedroom.

This is part of a series by Aisling Marron on her pregnancy during the pandemic.

Rinse, kegels, repeat.

It feels like that part near the end of labour when you do that embarrassingly clichéd thing of flopping your head on the pillow and crying: “I can’t do this, I can’t” (you know that part just before the midwife slaps you across the face, saying “Pull yourself together, man!”)

Checkpoint

All the things that were attractive and novel about the start of lockdown are now the same things that are so bad about it. For example, “Ooh I don’t have to get dressed!” has become, “I’m not getting dressed. I don’t think this is good for me”.

I live for my monthly hospital appointments. I love them. A chance to check in with the baby. And to be honest, an opportunity to get out of the bloody house that isn’t on a bloody walk. I’m sort of mad the hospital is within my 5km. And the guards don’t even have the decency to put on a checkpoint between here and there. I love rolling up to a checkpoint, putting on my mask, lowering the window and saying, “Hello guard”. (Something very grown up about that, isn’t there, saying: “Hello guard”. I’m not wrong, am I? )

I spend the weeks between appointments planning my outfit. I even consider in one moment of madness going fancier than my “good leggings” but in the end decide against it. Regular clothes? Where do I think I am, 2019? Good leggings it is.

At this month’s appointment, I ask my consultant if I can get an early epidural. He says yes (this seems a bit easy) and he writes something on my chart. I’m hoping it was “Epidural ASAP” and not “Patient is insane, ignore”.

Lockdown chats
Lockdown chats

It certainly felt like that’s what must have been written on my chart for my first labour. Because I felt entirely ignored, dismissed as not actually being in labour each of the 25 times I asked for an epidural when suddenly, just like that, it was “too late” for an epidural.

My first words on arrival (epidural-less) to the delivery room were, “I don’t understand how this has happened”. All I ever wanted was an epidural.

My “birth plan” (if you could even call it that) was a simple one:
1) Do whatever the doctors and nurses tell you.
2) Get an epidural.
I regret paying so much attention to step one of the plan.

Aisling and her daughter Lanah
Aisling and her daughter Lanah

Sometimes I dread the midwife who was on duty for my first labour being on duty again. Other times, I really hope she will be because I fantasise about inflicting extreme physical pain on her – and just when she’s unable to walk or even speak with the pain, I will offer her two paracetamol before adding coolly, “You can have two more in -” *looking slowly at upside-down watch pinned to the nurse’s uniform I’m now wearing in the fantasy* “-four hours.”

Anyway, I have digressed . . .

Driving home, I spot someone I know walking along the street and when I beep to get his attention, I realise how much I really, really want him to look up and see me. He does. He salutes my beep with a wave and this basic interaction lifts my spirits and sets me up for the day. 

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

@aislingmarron