My son is sleeping with the window open tonight, and I'm terrified that someone will pull out the screen and kidnap him. Last night when I stretched my 38-weeks-pregnant belly over the side of the bed to grab my cell phone charger, something below my ribs felt like it tore… and I'm sure it was my placenta. When I boiled two ears of corn on the stove tonight, I wondered whether the heavy stoneware pot could handle that much boiling water. Would it crack and explode, sending burning water all over the kitchen? Did I remember to lock my car doors and set the alarm? Did my water just break, or do I really need to pee? Did I really close the pool cover after Max swam tonight, or should I double-check?
I have always been filled with fear.
"Do you have your car keys?" I yell out the door, as my husband leaves for work. "Make sure to hold Max's hand really tightly when you walk to the park… he could dart into someone's driveway as they're backing up," I text our Nanny, from the coffee shop that I have just arrived at.
I can't shake the gnawing anxiety that consumes me. It's been my constant companion since I was a child, crying rivers of tears in the back seat of my mum's car. I was paralyzed each day, as she tried to drop me off at school. I refused to get out of the car. Refused to go to class. I was afraid of everything, and there were very few places where I felt safe. Tonight, I'm wishing that I was nestled back into the worn leather seats of our old Volvo… because when the world spins out of control, I sometimes forget to breathe.
There is a 38-week baby bouncing painfully around in my stomach, and today the doctor looked at me with alarm and declared "This is a BIG one. I would not recommend a VBAC. Let's schedule a C-section for Friday."
My son Max sat next to me as the ultrasound tech moved a goopy wand across my enormous belly. "Hey! Doctor!" he yelled. "What that button do? Can I touch it? Can I see? Can I hold the wand?" Finally, he slipped his little hand in mine and asked "Mommy, can I sit up there with you?" Of course honey, come snuggle right here. He tucked his head in the tiny valley that curves between my belly and the bottom of my breasts, and sighed. The ultrasound tech looked wide-eyed at my other baby, the one who was floating across the computer screen, and announced "He has a really big head" and "Wow, that is quite a large tummy" as she turned away from us and punched in more numbers for her report.
"We'll need you to stay to speak with the doctor," she said cheerfully, as she ushered us back into the waiting room.
The doctor let Max staple the hospital orders together as I tried not to throw up. My repeat C-section is scheduled for 12 noon this Friday. "Max, do you have to go potty?" I whispered, as we walked out of the office. I was trying to distract myself, because I knew that when the doctor's words finally sunk in, I would be hysterical. "You can't have a VBAC. I don't feel good about it. Safety… skin-to-skin… I'm going on vacation this Saturday… we'll talk to the anesthesiologist."