Saturday, February 26, 2011

Here Comes the Son (and I say, it's alright)

Harrison turned 3 yesterday. He really enjoyed the story of his birth. Which I never really wrote out for him. Instead I wrote this: (repost from March 3, 2008.)

Red Fish died while I was in the hospital. I'm not surprised, since he was on his way out (Fishy Depression) since Black Fish took his trip to Guppy Heaven. Just one of the many changes that has taken place since February 12, when I took what I thought was just another Overreacting Pregnant Woman Visit to the Hospital Maternity Triage.

But this time, they didn't roll their eyes and send me home with discharge instructions to take it easy and stop being such a pregnant spaz. Instead, I ended up spending two weeks in the antepartum ward at Banner Desert Hospital. The room was small, dark, and covered with Other People Dust (the worst kind), but I was making the best of it, reading a couple of good books, playing mucho sudoku, and catching up on some serious daytime television, you know, in between irregular bleeding and contractions that came every five to seven minutes.

Fortunately(?), there are about a billion ways to keep contractions from making any real progress into actual labor. Every couple of hours, I was given shots that felt like a jetstream of fire. When those didn't work, I was hooked up to an IV that injected fire directly, constantly, and inescapably right into my bruised vein. A few days of Hell of Earth later, they took out the IV, because, well, my uterus is a smarmy bastard and was like, "HA HA HA, is that all? What else ya got?" So they gave me what else they got, which was a pill once every four hours that made my heart hurt, my eyes blur, and my head spin, but hey, at least I wasn't contracting.....or wait, yes, yes I was. Sometimes 14 contractions in an hour. Sometimes 4. Either way, things weren't getting much better.

Every four hours, a disinterested nurse's aide would shake me awake, stick a thermometer in my mouth, crush my arm with a blood pressure machine, and check my pulse (pulse checking - not all that uncomfortable or memorable, so no fun descriptive imagery. sorry). Every four hours, I'd be awakened out of a sleepless dream in which I was home, in my own bed, with no unexplained bleeding, and not fearing for the life of my baby. But hospitals have a funny way of not letting you forget why you're there. There were constant reminders that my pregnancy was not going exactly according to plan. Hourly, a nurse would peek her head and ask me if I felt the baby move, please tell me the baby is the moving, are you feeling any movement?. The Food & Nutrition lady would come in three times a day and ask me if I was too nauseous for penne pasta or if I'd rather just have some Jello. And right in front of my bed was a large whiteboard with my name, Eric's contact number, some details about my daily care, and in big, messy handwriting, The Goal For My Stay: STAY PREGNANT!

STAY PREGNANT! You, lady in the bed with the big belly attached to three different machines and unable to reach the thermostat that will make the dungeon room you're in NOT feel like a furnace and an icebox at the same time, STAY PREGNANT! You, who hasn't seen her daughter in over a week, and can't get a decent hug from her husband because of all the monitors and IVs she's attached to, don't even think of anyting other than STAYING PREGNANT. Even though, all you want to do is throw the water fountain through the permanently locked sliding glass door and make a break for it, no. No, you need to lay there every day, alone and scared and not forget that the reason you're there is because of your inability to STAY PREGNANT like everyone else has managed to do.

Not that I'm not grateful for modern medicine's ability to keep me pregnant long enough to have a healthy 8lb 7oz baby boy. I mean, I would have slayed dragons, climbed mountains, swam oceans, anything, to keep my little one healthy, and considering my fear of giant fire-breathing lizards and large bodies of saltwater, I think I had it pretty easy laying in bed watching Oprah every day for a couple of weeks. And even though the c-section was the scariest thing I've ever gone through in my whole life, I survived, and so did the little life that was trying his best to grow inside of my wonky womb. We came out of that hospital with a brand new appreciation for sunlight and couches and showers without a plastic baggie wrapped around my arm to keep the IV catheter dry.

Little Harrison was worth it. And I'm maybe still getting over the stress of my pregnancy, little by little, day by day, but things are starting to feel alright. Like maybe I have a lot more strength than I thought I had. Like maybe I can handle changes like dying fish, preterm labor, and other bumps in the road. Like maybe it's not really all as bad as it seems at the time, because after a week, that dank little room that I called Prison Hell, but the nurses referred to as 108B, is just a memory. A story to tell. And I'm starting to see the whole experience for what it really is: Another Successful Pregnancy.

Story of his actual birth, coming. Some day.


Becca said...

Wow....I can relate. I went through pretty much the same thing with Korbin. I wouldn't wish magnesium on anyone. The terbutaline shots are right up there with it. I agree though, the end results are worth it. I remember saying that I think all the antepartum nurses should get a mandatory 24 hours of mag before they're allowed to work that department. They could be so unfeeling. I wimpered once on my 3rd shot of terb and the nurse chewed me out and said "What? You'd rather have your baby at 31 weeks? It's up to you!" Good times, and thank goodness for modern medicine!

Becky said...

Wow. Happy Birthday, Harrison. I tried to tell Kendall his story of his 'birth'day yesterday and he let me know he had heard it MANY times :).

Sarah Beau Bera said...

Happy Birthday Harrison.