I watch video footage of a man who slices pieces off a woman’s face. She stands impassive while blood pours from her wounds. The knife is sharp and the man relentless. I wake up.
Later asleep again I am in a hospital bed side by side with another woman, also in bed. We are both pregnant and both expecting that our babies will soon be born.
Nearby I can see the white lump of something that looks like the abandoned shell of a cuttlefish. It is all that remains of my previous pregnancy.
‘I’m going to keep this as a reminder,’ I say to the woman in the bed beside me. Somehow I believe that I have lost my first baby through someone else’s negligence and I feel sad and angry at the same time.
Now I am worried about this next baby. Under the cover of the blankets my pregnancy lump looks small compared to that of my neighbour. I have not yet dared to look at my swollen belly. When I finally get the courage to do so I see a fully formed baby under a thin gladwrap-like membrane. The baby curls around my torso ready to be born.
My mother comes to visit and admires the baby.
‘Why are her nostrils squished like that?’ she asks.
‘She hasn’t learned how to breathe on her own yet,’ I tell my mother.
It is only a short matter of time before my baby will be born. I am impatient. I notice two small tears in the membrane. Will this rupture speed up the birth? Will it endanger my baby?
The alarm goes off and again I wake up.