Dreams as protest against reality…..

It’s not every day that one becomes a grandmother for the first time. The feelings of joy around the arrival of a grandchild are right up there with having your own child. On both occasions, I have felt an extreme sense of gratitude and an overwhelming sense of love.  It’s the miracle of life!

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I’d known that my grandchild was on its way for a number of months and I’d been looking forward to its arrival.  However, the enormity of the occasion only became real to me when I first saw a photograph of her.  It was a surreal experience.  I felt this surge of unconditional love without even meeting her.

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In the lead up to this little person’s arrival, I found myself going right back to the time when I was expecting my son – my only child.

It was 1985, which was the year of the Live Aid concerts in London and Philadelphia that raised over £50 million for famine in Ethiopia; 17-year-old Boris Becker won Wimbledon for the first time; and on the night of the 25th July 1985, Ireland was hit by one of the worst thunderstorms in its history.  I remember all those events but the thunderstorm is the one that had the biggest effect on me. I’d always been terrified of thunder and lightening, but, as luck would have it, I was on my own in the house that night. Although I felt afraid, I was conscious that I needed to breathe and remain calm. I didn’t want my fear and anxiety to impact on my unborn child. The severity of that storm was like nothing I’d ever experienced before.  It was a terrifying night, and even more so because I was alone.

I left Ireland in August that year to head for the Arabian Gulf. I’d wanted to have the baby in Ireland but that wasn’t meant to be. According to my doctor in Ireland, the baby was due to arrive sometime around Christmas week.  As soon as I reached my destination, I made an appointment with a nearby hospital to ensure that I had good medical care.

As I was thinking back over that time I could still feel the excitement, which bordered on fear, but also the delight I’d felt when I knew that my baby was getting ready to enter this world.

I remembered my trips to the antenatal classes and the mid-wife going through all the various delivery options. I also connected to the utter sense of fear and anxiety I felt around the last option, which was an emergency caesarean section. I could still feel the fear that arose in me at the idea of it.  At the time I quickly dismissed it as an option because I believed that I would have a normal delivery.

Two weeks before my due date, I awoke one night in the early hours of the morning. As I made my way to the bathroom, I realised that my waters had broken. I then woke my husband at the time, phoned the hospital, and we were advised to make our way there.  The obstetrician – gynaecologist decided to put me on antibiotics to protect the unborn child. I was advised that once the waters had broken, there was a risk of infection. I was to be left like that until the next morning.

When morning came I was given medication to induce labour and was being monitored regularly. There was to be no medical intervention unless the baby started to become distressed.  Then, if that happened, the baby would have to be born by an emergency caesarean section. This was the dreaded option that had been explained at the antenatal classes.

I can still remember the fear I felt at the idea that my little one might get distressed or be harmed in any way.  At that stage, I phoned my mother in Ireland because I needed her reassurance that everything would be okay. In between lots of tears from both of us, she did a wonderful job of reassuring me.

Some 36 hours later, the obstetrician – gynaecologist was of the opinion that my baby was beginning to struggle.  The child’s head was banging against my cervix, which seemed unable to open. This was what I’d been afraid of – my unborn baby becoming distressed.  At that stage, I didn’t care what action the medical team needed to take provided my baby was delivered safely.  The situation seemed more complicated because I had an almost irrational fear of receiving either a general anaesthetic or blood transfusion. There was no room for debate around the general anaesthetic; but the obstetrician – gynaecologist promised me that if at all possible, there wouldn’t be any blood transfusion.

As the medical team stood around me in the operating theatre, they asked the mid-wife to predict if it was going to be a boy or a girl because seemingly she was skilled at such predictions. She smiled and said – “without a doubt, it will be a boy”.  I remember thinking to myself in that moment  “she’s wrong” because when I’d been for an earlier scan, another nurse had advised me that the baby I was carrying would most likely be a girl. The way in which the baby was positioned made it difficult for the nurse to make a definitive call on the sex of the child.  I never told my husband about the results of that scan because he’d been hoping for a baby boy, and I had been afraid to tell him what the nurse had said in case he’d have been disappointed or lose interest in the pregnancy.

On that Thursday evening, 5th December 1985, as I lay on the hospital trolley waiting to go into the theatre for an emergency caesarean section, my only concern was that I might not wake up again; and what was going to happen to my little one then?

The next thing I heard was the midwife calling my name out loud and telling me that I had a beautiful and healthy baby boy.  I can’t put into words the absolute joy that I felt over the next number of days. My gorgeous son was perfect in every way. He had this amazing full head of dark hair, and the longest dark eyelashes I’d ever seen on a baby. His skin looked sallow and felt silky. The feeling of love that I had for this small person far outweighed anything I’d ever experienced before.

I remember several of the nurses scolding me because I kept my son in my arms all day every day for the ten days that I was in the hospital, and they kept telling me that I would regret “spoiling” him. I ignored them and I never did regret not taking their advice. He was such an incredibly content and good-natured little fella and he loved being in his mother’s arm – why would I just put him in his crib when I could just as easily hold him close to me so that he could feel my love for him.

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Fast forward 32.7. years later – my son’s precious daughter was born on the 30th of July 2018 at 9:59 pm.

Since I received word of her arrival, I’d been dreaming of holding my little granddaughter in my arms, touching her tiny face and hands, and stroking her hair.  I couldn’t stop looking at her photos.  When I knew that my son was bringing his little girl to see me, I was over the moon with excitement. I had to keep telling myself before they arrived – “no crying now”.

When my son arrived with his beautiful little daughter, I felt a surge of gratitude and love at the sight of her.  She was as perfect as her father had been when he was just 11 days old.

I don’t believe that anything could have prepared me for the powerful feelings of love that I experienced when I saw my son cradling his little daughter in his strong arms.  It was the epitome of unconditional love.

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Chapter 18 of a Course in Miracles refers to dreams as a ‘protest against reality’.  When times are hard, dreams can help to protest and even protect against reality.  However, there was no need for such measures on the afternoon of the 10th August 2018, because reality perfectly mirrored my dreams of being with my son and seeing my precious granddaughter for the first time. 🙏🏻

 

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