A baby is born on a chilly but bright August day. He has been long awaited. The hubster is calling everyone and anyone to tell them the news, and is miffed that his Mum has her answering machine on. His Dad is playing golf so it goes straight to messagebank. He is in the ensuite of the birthing suite when his Mum calls back. He comes out and says she's told him his Dad has collapsed on the golf course. I know I know I know right at that moment, but I can't say the words.
She calls back, he is in the ensuite again for some privacy. His voice changes, he howls. The midwife who is supervising my stitches comments that he's very emotional about his first baby. I say no, his Dad just died. Numb. I never want to hear that voice again.
People, family, come and go. Time has no meaning. I want to hold my baby. So does everyone else. I am bruised and bloody but have to wait to have a shower. More people, his family, so much confusion. Everything seems dim and hazy.
There is a funeral. A baby is ten days old. I am in pain, I am bleeding, I have cracked and painful nipples, I can't bear the thought of feeding in front of strangers. The baby stays with my parents during the service. He is serene and lovely. I am not. The son stands in front of so many people and speaks so eloquently of his father. I weep. I can barely see for sleep deprivation and confusion. This was meant to be our time. To be doted upon for producing this perfect child. To be celebrating our first baby. What is going on?
After the funeral a lot of people come to the family home. I hide in a bedroom to subject myself to the agony of feeding my baby. Neither of us quite get it yet. He shits all over his lovely little funeral outfit. It cleans up okay later, but he will never wear it again.
We emerge. The husband is being a gracious host, I barely see him. Everyone wants to hold the baby. The blessing in this dark time. I am too confused/tired/numb/polite to say no. I do not want them to hold my baby. I want to hold my baby.
Weeks pass. I sit up in the early hours feeding the baby yet again. My phone is next to me, I am waiting for a message from my Mum that will shortly come. My Grandpa who I love has died. He had a stroke a few years earlier, we knew it would be soon. It still makes me weep. I remember jumping in bed with him and my Grandma when our family went over to stay with them for Summer holidays. My Mum would bring her parents cups of tea. He would ask me maths questions.
A flight with a four week old baby. So many people comment on how young he is to be flying. Do they think I want to do this? A long car trip, we stop half way and stay at Stone Hut. My sister and I share a unit type room at the place my other Grandma lives. I ask to leave the TV on overnight, the baby will sleep in his pram. Although he doesn't sleep, he wakes and feeds and wakes and feeds. When he sleeps I cannot. I wish for it to be morning. Night is such a waste when you don't sleep anyway.
We drive to Ororoo with my Dad. We see lots of my cousins we haven't seen for a long time. The house we used to stay in has grown smaller, dustier, it has no heart now that my grandparents don't live there. It occurs to me that they were the warmth, not the house.
I weep, ugly crying through the funeral. My Grandma talks to me afterwards, she knows it is not just for my Grandpa. She is glad he saw photos of his first great grandchild before he died. She believes he is in a better place and she has peace.
A baby is six weeks old. We are finally at home and nothing more can happen to us. Except he is sick. He won't wake up. I take him to hospital. They rush him through emergency talking to each other about diseases that frighten me. I watch as they perform a lumbar puncture. The doctor shows the vial of clear liquid to the trainee whatever person and says "this is the liquid that surrounds the baby's brain. It isn't likely meningitis because it dripped out instead of gushing." I feel sick. The baby does not wake.
We spend two nights in the hospital. The baby is on a drip and finally rouses after nearly 24 hours of semi consciousness. My breasts are exploding and painful from not feeding. He cries he cries he cries. A night nurse tells me off, he is bothering the other children. I don't know what to do. She forces a breast into his mouth and he finally quietens. She looks at me like I'm an idiot. Does she not think I had tried that again and again?
Finally we are home. A baby is amazing. He sleeps through the night. He is happy and easy going and fiercely independent already. He is truly the greatest blessing of our lives, we cherish him. We can never have that time back, but we can try to make the most of every moment after. We can appreciate the little things, because we know it can all change in the blink of an eye. We can try, but sometimes it will get too much.
These are the contents of my head.