Expecting by Jennie Rosenbaum
the last 3 weeks have been some of the most emotional and tumultuous of my life. I have lived on the very edge of life experiencing highs and lows I never believed possible. it has been a rollercoaster of joy, loss, rebirth, growth, blessings and miracles. allow me to explain.
3 weeks ago today my Granny passed. my mother left for Perth on the Saturday before as Granny had had another fall and was doing quite poorly. I don’t think any of us realized how poorly until she was admitted to hospital- her system had begun to shut down. My Granny was one of the most important people in my life, she shaped who I am as an artist and influenced me a lot as a person. The sad fact is that living with alzheimers had robbed her of her identity, her soul and her spirit. so I mourn the loss of the person she was, I would give anything to have her back, whole, again, but I cannot be too sad now that she is at peace and free of that wretched disease. I miss her horribly, but life that way is no life at all, especially for someone like her.
4 days later I was reminded of the real cycle of life as my daughter Erica Alice was born. as soon as we saw her we knew that would be her name and we fell deeply in love with our baby girl. I couldn’t believe how much I loved her so quickly and how strongly we both felt about her name (especially as we had a lot of difficulty with girls names). Alice is for my granny. a reminder, a memorial and a guide for her (and us) to look up to.
The birth went perfectly. I was able to tolerate the spinal injection (one of the bravest moments of my life!) allowing me to be awake for the birth and for my husband to share the experience with me. something I recommend for everyone if possible. one small tip to other women in that position, after the spinal, get your glasses back! they held up my screaming baby and Liam said ‘it’s a girl!’ and all I could say was ‘is it?’ I could see where she was, but I couldn’t see! then they laid her on my chest and everything melted away. a perfect baby with a shock of hair, deep eyes, and a heavenly smile.
Caught up in the bliss of new parenthood I didn’t even hate the hospital too much. I had a steady stream of wonderful visitors and my family with me. we moved naturally into our roles together and it was all perfect. until the next day when Erica’s blood sugar dropped dramatically necessitating an immediate admission to the Special Care Nursery, a glucose drip and antibiotics. it was especially disturbing as I had not had any sugar issues in pregnancy. Luckily the condition was seen to promptly. it can be very bad if it isn’t, but Erica was in the very best of care. so I went from having my baby by my side to down the hall where I wasn’t able to walk on my own, a ward with the night midwife from hell and too many unanswered worries in my head!
the next days were filled by a rigorous 3 hour feeding and expressing schedule allowing me very little time to recuperate or process. Erica’s sugars remained good and my supportive friends and family were standing by us to help. nothing prepared me for seeing my little girl being jabbed in the foot over and over and her little cannula and pad waving desperately at me and I broke down quite a bit (especially at night when I had to be alone). I had a nice midwife who shuffled me off the evil one’s rotation and even though I started to hate expressing and schedules I was determined to make it work. I moved into cope mode. cope mode worked until the very last night when I realized that I would be going home, but my baby might not be and I lost it big time. I thank the angel who relieved me from my schedule for the night (there was enough expressed milk in the fridge at the SCN to allow me to sleep) and gave me something to help me sleep and relax.
Everything went perfectly the next day – we both came home! Erica had a clean bill of health, I had a laundry list of everything I couldn’t do for 6 weeks, and we were allowed to take the baby and run, which is just what we did!
Since then I have been slowly adjusting. recuperating after surgery, getting used to the feeling that my heart has suddenly expanded with love, learning all about breast feeding, discovering the joys of sleep deprivation and colic, trying not to panic all the time and trying to cope with the awe inspiring concept of parenthood, responsibility and the unconditional love of someone so very precious.
It’s interesting the way a life cycle plays out. in one week I lost someone who shaped the person I am today and I gave birth to someone whose life I will have the responsibility and pleasure of shaping. I look at Erica and I feel a part of Granny is there with her. and it all feels like it will be magic.