Today is the ultrasound and clinic appointment. I am praying that it is good news. Jay doesn’t seem worried, although I decide to pack a bag just in case she has to go into hospital. Jay refuses to let me bring it into the car.
We enter the ultrasound reception at the hospital. Jay walks up and says “Jay X for an ultrasound please.” So confident – it still amazes me. We are asked to wait for while.
They are clearly busy. We wait for a good 40 minutes. “Why are they not calling us. Why do we have to wait so long?” Jay is clearly anxious. I pull out my phone and we look at some funny stuff and laugh. Anything to release the tension.
“Jay X?” We jump up and follow the woman through to the ultrasound. She introduces herself and explains that this is a uterine ultrasound and not one to look at the baby. We acknowledge our understanding.
She then changes her mind and says “Actually, let’s just take a look at the baby. Just hop up on the bed.” Jay “hops” up and before we know it, we are looking at Baby C on the screen. “Oh what a beautiful profile he has,” she says. “Oh, and look, there’s no mistaking he’s a boy. We’ll print a photo of that.” I look at Jay and smile. This woman is very upbeat!
“Right, now we are going to check your cervix. Your cervix has been shortening, right?” Jay runs through the last few weeks again. “Okay, just inserting the wand.” Immediately I know it is not good news. “Um, I just need to call a doctor. I’m just going to leave the wand in there, okay.” And she rushes out of the room. I can see the funneling is much worse. I instinctively stroke Jay’s arm.
The doctor arrives. It is the one we saw last week. He takes one look and says, “Right, she needs to be admitted. Is she under a specialist?”
I nod, “She is seeing Bec.”
“In clinic D?” I nod again. “When are you seeing her next?”
“We are due to see her this morning.”
“Right, I will walk round there and give Bec the run down. You just wait in the waiting room and she will call you. Her cervix is now very short.”
Jay looks at me. I know this is not good news. I wonder if she is going to be admitted.
We walk around to the clinic and sit down. Zed and her mom are there. Over the last couple of clinic visits, we have bumped into Zed and her mom. Zed is 16 and expecting a baby. She has bright blue hair and a lot of facial piercings. She looks very young to be having a baby, but this experience has taught me to never judge. “We keep bumping into each other, don’t we? No baby, yet?” Zed shakes her head, but she seems to be in pain.
“She is starting with labour,” her mum says. “We went to the birthing suite, but they said it is too early, to go home and take panadol. But the YWC wants to see us.” It didn’t seem right that a young girl who is clearly in pain is made to wait in this hot, stuffy waiting room. Zed breathes as much as she can.
“Jay may have to be admitted. Her cervix has shortened even more.” There is kind of an awkward pause. “Have you guys got the nursery ready?”
Zed shakes her head. “Not exactly, he’s not having one.” Zed’s mom hesitates.
“I can’t really say here in the waiting room…” I immediately know what is happening.
“Oh, I understand,” I say. Zed’s mom nods. Jay looks at me confused. I shake my head motioning I’ll tell her later.
We wait for what seems ages. Zed is clearly in pain. Finally, she is called in and we are left in the waiting room. Jay asks what has happened with Zed.
“She is giving up the baby for adoption, Jay.”
Jay looks at me and instinctively cradles her tummy. “Oh, Mum, what a generous thing to do.” I am blown away by how Jay sees this as an incredibly selfless act. No judgement, just a wonderful gift for some childless couple. I nod. Yes, it is indeed a generous thing to do.
Laura comes over to us. “We have heard the news.”
“Do you think she will be admitted?” I ask.
“I’ve spoken to Bec, and no, she thinks she will send her home.” I am amazed by this. Surely if they think that Jay is going to be giving birth at any moment, they should admit her. I excuse myself and call Tee. She is a nurse, has been through this and I need some clarification.
“Am I being unreasonable here, expecting her to be admitted?”
“Absolutely not,” Tee confirms. “Sarah, if they think she is going to give birth, why would they consider sending her home. It makes no sense.” I feel relieved that I am not being an overly anxious mother.
“Jay?” Bec is calling us into her office. We walk in, sit and she places her hand on Jay’s knee. “Okay, we have had a look at the ultrasound and your cervix is now 3mm and the funnelling is worse. It does mean that rather than going full term, you will be lucky to get to 28 weeks. I certainly don’t think you will make 30.”
“I want her admitted.” I blurt out. “I know the outcome for the baby is probably not any better, but Jay needs peace of mind.” I am hyperventilating slightly. I feel very much the anxious overly-protective mamma bear right now. I’m also frightened to take her home in case I don’t know what to do if she does go into labour.
“Is that how you feel, Jay?” Bec asks.
Jay’s eyes are tear filled. “I just want to do what is best for the baby.” My heart is breaking into more pieces. Why is this happening?
Bec is wonderful. “Right, this is what we are going to do. Jay, you are going to go to the Pregnancy Assessment Unit where you will be given one of two steroid injections. This is so that we can speed up the baby’s lung development should he come early. I am in the meantime going to arrange for a bed for you on the ward.” I feel a total sense of relief and fear at the same time. Steroid injections? Does this mean that they think it could be early, like today or tomorrow early?
Bec leaves the room and Jay looks at me. Big tears roll down her cheek. I put my hand on my shoulder and look her squarely in the eyes. “It will be okay. No matter what happens, no matter what happens, it will be okay. We will get through this.” Jay nods, shaking slightly.
We walk up to the PAU, and I text Dee and Tee to let them know what is going on. Jay phones Em. They place us in one of the bays. It all seems so surreal. There is a woman there who is 32 weeks and is going in for an emergency c-section.
One of the midwives comes over and motions for us to follow her so Jay can receive her first steroid. Jay lies down on the bed. The midwife explains that the injection is rather painful. “Small scratch,” she says as she inserts the needle into Jay’s right buttock.
“Ouch, ouch, ouch,” Jay starts to cry.
“I know baby girl, nearly done.” I say. It is a large amount that is being injected slowly.
“Mum, it hurts,” she cries out. I feel helpless. I stroke her hair and then it’s done.
We make our way back to the bay when another midwife informs us that a bed is ready for her.
We get Jay settled into her bed. Em has arrived as has Tee. I phone Dee and ask him to get his dad to collect JC from school. Jay is informed that she is not allowed to leave her bed except to go to the toilet and to have a shower. She is told that the neonatal doctors will come and speak to her and that she and Em will be given a tour of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Is this really happening?
I Google 26 week old fetuses and get Jay to have a look at a picture. She doesn’t want to look, but I say it is important. Again, tears spring forth. I cuddle her, feeling awful for making her face reality.
Tee and Em have arrived. Tee bought Jay some clothes, underwear and some puzzle books. I am so grateful. I tell Jay that I will bring more clothes for her tomorrow.
Finally, Jay is settled. The plethora of medical professionals have receded and we can just relax. There are three other women in the ward, each with their own babies. I realize we are in the post natal ward. I question the sensitivity of this decision, but realize beds are few and far between in the hospital at the moment.
After dinner, I decide to make my way home. I am exhausted. Em remains with Jay. I kiss her goodbye and promise that I will be with her in the morning.
On the way home, I pray she doesn’t go into labour.