July: Start off the month by buying a second hand car. A vehicle of some sort is essential in Sydney, not only is the public transport here is diabolical, but it is compounded by the fact that everywhere is so far apart. I wanted a ute, but we end up with a Holden. No more baby scans for another 10 weeks almost, still seemed as if Ingunn was going doctor appointments every other day through. Break the news of a impending Grandchild to the families back in Europe, much surprise/delight. Start to worry about how different our lives will be after a baby, and why some couples seem so comfortable during the pregnancy stage? Come to the conclusion that the best approach is to try and be as realistic as possible, which means being informed; after initial hesitation, we sign up for ante-natal classes. Just hope we don’t get all the horror stories.
August: Still life goes on, starting to feel slightly more relaxed, I start guitar and cartoon drawing courses on Tuesday and Wednesday nights; discover I have no talent in either. Ingunn’s bump is starting to show, and we feel slight movements. The foetus is about the size of a mandarin, but still didn’t feel real, is a baby really in there? Towards the end of the month decide that we need to find a new place to live, the only place a baby could fit in the Avoca St shoebox is in my sock drawer in our bedroom. Prospect of apartment hunting again is appalling, it is getting towards the busiest time of the year and means about 3 or 4 Saturdays spent viewing apartments and bidding against 50 other equally desperate couples.
September: I start a new job with Westpac energy trading, Ingunn finishes her current contract and begins a new one till end of October. Going to interviews whilst you are pregnant must be one of the hardest most awkward tasks, very proud of her. Buy a new surf board, and loving it, aswell as the new job. Last two Saturdays of the month we attend the ante-natal course at the Royal Randwick Hospital we enrolled back in August, so much for apartment hunting. The course covered pretty much every conceivable outcome of a pregnancy, and ultimately how to care for a newborn. Felt quite reassured, although some scenarios are terrifying, forewarned is forearmed i guess.
October: Out of the blue a regular midwife appointment reveals the baby might be slightly on the small side for it’s current gestation. Not to worry though, was done with a tape measure, got a scan booked for 3 weeks time. Weekends are taken up with apartment hunting, situation begins getting a little desperate, so many other people looking for places at the moment, facing possibility we may end up moving in November, not ideal. Stroke of luck and we finally have a tenancy application accepted for a Coogee apartment, still no idea how we got it? Moved into the apartment 23rd October, the apartment is on the top floor with no lift, so my back is broken and arms are now 3 meters longer. Monday 27th, Ingunn has a scan which reveals the baby is indeed smaller than it should be, reduced blood flow from the placenta looking like a culprit. Ingunn is told to stop working immediately, go home and do nothing. Literally, nothing. Follow up scan on Friday (29th) morning; lots of dark thoughts, but we are reassured this is a common procedure and all will probably be ok.
October 29th –31st: These three days felt like a month in itself. It began at 8am, arriving at our follow-up appointment at the Royal Randwick hospital, I swear Ingunn had got bigger in those few days so was expecting to be on out of there and on my way to work within the hour. The scan was conducted by 2 doctors, they were checking the blood flow around the placenta and how much amniotic fluid was around the baby. After a short time they decided further tests and analysis are needed. And, by mid morning, a doctor confirms that blood flow from the placenta has got lower, and that the baby is running out of space: “Better out than in” we were told. Oh boy, wasn’t expecting that. Ingunn is admitted to hospital then and there told the baby will be delivered by caesarean section in 48hrs (the two day buffer was allow a couple of steroid shots (helps prepare babies lungs)) It is at this stage when events were happening so quickly that we began to feel very out of control, terrified, in disbelief, confused… yet strangely excited. In 2 days time we knew we’d be parents, this wasn’t supposed to happen for another 6 weeks at least. The next 48hrs were spent sat around agonising, waiting, worrying, reflecting, furiously trying to work out a name.
Sunday morning went backwards it felt. The caesarean was booked in for 13:00, and the closer it got the further from reality the whole situation felt. Ingunn seemed so calm, i wanted to run around like a madman. Killed time by deciding on a final name; Markus for a boy, Jessica for a girl; how on earth had we managed to decide in such a short space of time?? Impossible.
1pm arrives, we are taken to the operating theatre. We are in a room with a line-up of suited nurses and doctors. Ingunn has a epidural administered and having realised I'm the only male there am sat in a corner feeling quite emasculated, like a little boy. The doctor performing the operation tells me to make sure i have my camera at the ready.. wasn’t planning on using it, but i mumble yes obligingly. Taken aback how calm everyone is there. The operation takes 15-20 minutes during which jokes and stories are told. At 2.21 the doctors tells me to get my camera ready.. my hands are shaking.
Out comes a very small baby, with a foot in it’s mouth, i bravely managed to focus and press the button. Silence…. then a gurgle, then she begins crying..
November: Jessica Elise Goodman, my daughter is very much alive and kicking. She is taken straight to the special newborn care section of the Royal Randwick for premature babies where she will remain for the next 3 weeks. Tests confirm that she is healthy, albeit very small for her age (-5 1/2 weeks). Ingunn was walking about less than 24hrs later, you can hardly tell she has been pregnant, amazing. I’m pleased my prediction of a girl is correct, means a year of shirts being ironed. The remainder of this month is spent going back and forth from our apartment to the premature baby section. Exhausting and frustrating, just wanted to take her home; but it gave us a chance to recuperate buy some baby gear, and pick up a few tips from the nurses. 2 1/2 weeks later, that spare room in our apartment had a resident.
December: Adjusting to about 3 hours less sleep a day, watching the Ashes, loving the Australian summer once again, and watching an amazing little girl blossom.
As I write this, Christmas has come and gone, England are thumping Australia in the cricket and the sun is shining outside. I can hardly believe how much has happened in the last 12 months, and am wondering what the next year has in store?