Disconnected from people.
Hyper-aware of things.
I am in the strangest place.
This morning, the sun is shining but the early hour lends to the day a crispness that feels heavenly on my skin. I walk towards the hospital, once again, but this time, I feel energised. My stuffy nose seems to be cured by the morning air which, despite the promised summer-like warmth to come, smells very much like the autumn.
Here and there, the changing of the season is evidenced by the slowly turning leaves, splashes of red and orange a gorgeous marker of the cycle.
My hands find my belly and I tell my daughter, "We can do this. You and I are going to do this, little girl."
In that moment, I feel I am capable of bringing about this change, of ushering in a new season for our family.
But the day is long and since then, my mind has whirled, sometimes with thoughts of pushing and breathing, sometimes with the grip of panic and fear, the crippling sensation that I am not a match for the monumental task ahead of me.
Can I be all that my little girl needs me to be?
A older couple speak in hushed tones. She is purging words that are hard for her to say and he is holding her, listening, drawing her ever closer. It is the most tender moment and I hide a sob behind my hands.
Monitoring again, this time, a slow and steady race my daughter is running. The midwife is lovely but I am relieved when she turns her back to go because I have run out of words.
I go to the bathroom and slowly, slowly, I see that my body is shedding the barrier between my baby and I.
My osteopath tells me my pelvis is flippy and fluidy where last week there was more of a tightness, a settling in one place. I think I understand what she means.
It is dinner time and my family moves around me in the usual ways but I am watching the scene from a distance. Only when I hear my name, 'Mumma', carried on breath of my child's voice do I plug back into the world.
I am so weary. I feel fragile. I want to curl in a ball and let sleep take me.
I wonder exactly where in this journey I am.
Everything feels unpredictable.
I look at the walls and create space for new photos.
But I can not picture her face.
I draw my sons to me, their little bodies still a perfect fit to mine despite the belly between us.
I hope they understand this belly adds to us. It is not a division. Certainly not a subtraction.
There is no whole without them, no matter how much attention the belly may seem to require right now.
Am I on the precipice? Even close to the edge?
Something has to give….