The question of when, or even if, to have a second child has weighed heavily on my mind for quite a while now. I vacillate between wanting another immediately and wanting to wait a couple more years and being completely okay with our family of three. I happen to believe in some of the subconscious desires mumbo jumbo that is dismissed by many mental health professionals and this wavering has invaded my subconscious.
I had a dream last night.
I walked into a hospital. Alone. I was pregnant with our second child. I wasn’t excited to be in labor. I wasn’t scared. I felt nothing.
And then? I had a contraction. A strong one that urged me to groan a little under the weight of the pain. And I felt myself grow excited. Maybe this time things would happen the way they are supposed to happen. The way Nature intended for babies to be born. And I felt happiness.
Then a nurse checked me. She was nice, but impersonal. Disconnected. She said nothing to me during the exam or after. And then she handed me what looked like a pipette and said I’d need to insert it myself so that they could speed up the processes of dilation and effacement. She instructed me not to let the medicine touch anything else, but some of it dripped out and fell onto a piece of plastic. It burnt a hole in this plastic.
I was crushed in that moment. My body was failing me. It wasn’t going to do what it’d been made to do. And I was going to have to use this medicine that ate away at whatever it touched to make things happen.
And I did it. I used the medicine. Because the nurse told me I’d have to if I had any hope of getting the baby out the way I wanted. So, I used it. And then I laid down in my bed in the cold, sterile, uninviting hospital room that looked like the psych wards as they are portrayed in the movies and I felt nothing.
And I was still alone.
In my dream, I wondered what was taking Dan so long to get to the hospital. I knew that he was with Joshua and I wondered why no one had come to take Joshua so that he could come to the hospital to be with me. I wondered if he was willingly missing the birth of his second child because of what he was afraid it would do to me. If it would make me, once again, less of myself.
And then? More nothing.
And I woke up, still in my dream, and there was nothing. No one. I was still alone.
I got up and started collecting my things, folding clothes and putting them into a tote. After everything was packed, I realized that I hadn’t seen my baby. I didn’t know where it was. And I was heartbroken because I didn’t care.
My breasts didn’t feel full, but I was aware that they were supposed to. I wondered how I’d ever have enough milk to feed this child if the milk still hadn’t come in yet. I suddenly thought ahead to pumping and wondering if I’d be able to store enough milk to last the baby. It was as if I were planning to go away somewhere. To physically leave? Or mentally? I don’t know. But I felt that I wouldn’t be there.
I looked over to the sitting area of the room and saw that there was no bassinet. No baby. No indication that a baby had even been in that room. No indication except the scar across my lower abdomen that told me what had happened.
It had happened again. And I didn’t even have the memory of it this time. It had happened TO me. I had failed. And I had failed to connect because of it.
In later scenes in this dream, I was sitting outside on a park bench and Dan brought this tiny little bundle of baby to me. He’d been named Warren, but I didn’t remember being part of the naming process. He had dark, dark hair. As dark as Dan’s. And dark eyes. And he was beautiful. Perfect. And so tiny. So much smaller than Joshua was.
And I felt nothing.
No connection to him. No belief that I was actually his mother. Nothing.
I saw him growing up, literally right before my eyes. He was a tiny newborn all swaddled and then he was rolling over in a patch of grass and crawling and climbing. And I didn’t know him. At all.
I was his mother, but not really.
And Dan kept standing there trying to talk to me about how we needed to pick out a middle name for him and was there something the matter and his voice just kept getting further and further away and so did I.
And then I woke up. For real. And the feelings of that dream are still with me. They invaded my thoughts while I showered and got ready. They plagued my commute into work. They are still with me now, and recounting this dream makes me want to cry.
I’m afraid, y’all. Terribly afraid of so many things. I’m scared that I won’t be able to VBAC. I’m scared that I won’t bond because of a repeat c-section. I’m scared that I won’t be an active participant in my second child’s life because the hands of postpartum depression will grab me again.