The Elusive Oxytocin

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted an update, because we’ve had a lot of stuff going on. In no particular order:

  • We finished doing up our house, after six months of weekends spent covered in paint and little bits of ripped off wallpaper, and moved in.
  • We found out that despite reassurances and encouragement from the MOD that buying in the South West was a good idea, we can never trust anything they say, and that the proposal now is to send the OH to Norfolk after a year spent completing a Masters close to home. Somehow, I’ve inadvertently committed to being a single mum during the week, or to moving six hours from friends and family when he’s posted next year.
  • The OH’s mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer, having originally been diagnosed in 2013, and is now confined to a wheelchair.

The baby has been the last thing on my mind, and to be honest has posed more of an inconvenience than something to look forward to when everything else is falling to pieces. After an initial period of optimism in the second trimester, at 32 weeks I’m still struggling to come to terms with what’s to come, and if people ask me how I’m feeling, the only response I can come up with is ‘scared’. I’m not excited, I’m not wishing the last few weeks of pregnancy away. I’ve had a relatively easy ride, with very few side effects – no swollen ankles, no heartburn, no sickness – and am actually feeling more awake than I did in my first and second trimesters, even if physically I’m starting to slow down. I’d quite happily just stay as I am for the indefinite future, because I’m not entirely sure I’m ok with what’s coming next.

Before all of the above came to light, we had our 20 week scan, which was an ordeal in itself – four hours at the hospital, being called in to see the sonographer and repeatedly sent away because the baby, as usual, was in the wrong position. The sonographer was brusque, rude and devoid of any empathy or emotion, and I left in tears. Having eventually managed to get the images she needed, she confirmed we were having a boy, and that really knocked me for six. Boys were not on the radar; I’m from a family of girls, and Mum was even told she couldn’t carry boys to term. I’m not sure how I feel about boys. On the phone to my mum afterwards, I confirmed I was disappointed, which she was appalled by. The baby is healthy – surely that’s all I should want? But I’ve really struggled to bond with him ever since. We’ve got no names lined up, and until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even want to buy him any clothes. I feel absolutely terrible for having a preference, and for being disappointed, but I can only be honest – I’d always wanted a girl.

Perhaps this is why I am why I am at the moment. We started NCT last week, and have already met some really lovely people, who all seem super organised, well read on the upcoming processes, and really excited. I’m just…not. Last night’s session was all about a ‘normal’ birth, and whilst everyone exclaimed how magical and clever it all was, I could feel myself feeling more panicked, and actually a little repulsed at the pictures laid out on the floor showing the process from early labour to the moment baby is placed in your arms, complete with the cord still attached. On the way home, the OH tried to bring up birth preferences and the all important birth plan, which I’ve consciously avoided for weeks, and I clammed up. When we got home, I cried again. I told him things were perfectly fine as they were and that I wasn’t sure why we’d decided to change things by bringing someone else into it. What kind of response is that?

The OH has known something isn’t right for a while, sending me articles on pre-natal depression whilst safely confined in another room, and even valiantly trying to mention it in yet another rushed midwife appointment before being hustled out the door so she could go home. The midwife handed me a box of tissues and scribbled the word ‘PANDAS’ on my notes, but I can’t bring myself to look into that either. I know that I should. I know this isn’t normal. But owning up to the reality of the situation is more daunting than carrying on in this sort of self imposed, clammed up limbo.

So the question is: how do I make things better? I can’t magically turn on a ‘isn’t having a baby so exciting’ switch. When does this magical Oxytocin start doing its job? Because at the moment, I don’t feel like I have any.