Carried – Part 1

It has only been four days. But it might have been four weeks. Or four seconds. The battery on my watch has gone, and the pulse of passing days in my head went sometime since we three became we four. We fill the car. We take up lots more rooms. We expect more attention. We man all the hours of day and night between us. We are surrounded by all that it means to be a family with a new baby.

We love him to bits, and have decided to call him Joseph Micah. I loved the name Joseph since I was about 17 and was doing my ‘A’ level English extended essay. I kept spelling it Jospeh, which felt like it ought to be a Yiddish moped or a wildflower from a remote English meadow. It means ‘may God add’, and this is meant to be interpreted in terms of future children rather than mathematically (I am not intending to go forth and multiply further, let it be known here). Rachel in Genesis named her long-awaited first son Joseph. He went on to have rather an adventure, and the rest is musical history. I have wanted a son for a long long time, and wouldn’t believe it when my husband exclaimed (with some surprise in his voice) “it’s.. a boy!” as I had mentally prepared myself for a girl throughout this pregnancy.  There are other characters called Joseph in the Bible who I also find fascinating, but who do not get the same air-space. Joseph the husband of Mary is often overlooked by mainstream protestantism, but was a hero in my opinion. Joseph of Arimathea took a brave stance in the Passion story. Between these three Josephs you have key Old Testament history from many people’s favourite OT book, and the birth and resurrection stories of Jesus neatly tied together. It has, no wonder, become an everyman name, something we were keen to find for our son. It also has a number of fun and happy-sounding nicknames. I am interested to see whether our Joseph becomes a Joe, a Joey or a Jos. With this child we are not going to determine the name too much, just wait and see what happens.

I was carried through the last and most difficult time of pregnancy by many people’s kind words, actions and prayers. We went overdue by 15 days and I got quite depressed by the uncertainties, the frequent false labours and the tiredness. People on the whole were considerate in not contacting us, and people offered help with childcare and by listening. However, we became aware that the home birth we had booked might not be realised and that being induced and a hospital stay of at least one night was looking more and more likely. This meant having to think about all the options for Lily, who had become particularly clingy and does not enjoy being away from us overnight with or without warning. As we neared 42 weeks our midwife also pointed out to us that there was a higher chance of meconium in the waters, which would mean a transfer to hospital in any case, unless we were actually delivering the baby at the time. These things weighed heavy on me. I had wanted to avoid medical intervention but also be pragmatic and accept help if it were needed. I felt a huge responsibility in my duty of care to Lily, but was unable to see how I could balance that with the need to give birth to her baby brother or sister.

This may all sound a little trivial. Medical intervention is hardly the end of the world; often it is utterly appropriate. But I felt that the induction ought at least to be delayed, as our scan dates put us three days later than the official due date. As it happens, local guidelines have just changed and scan dates are now considered more significant than other dating methods. Our consultant appointment was booked for Friday morning.

It was not trivial for me. My bump had been insignificant. My concerns centred around pleasing others and I was not sure that I could believe there would really be a baby at the end of the pregnancy.

I had to learn to wait, and to be carried.

There is more to say about this, but it will wait until another day.

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