My uterus is an asshole.
And lest you think I’m being unfair, let me be clear: my placenta is an asshole, too. I don’t discriminate; I’m an equal opportunity hater. You see, there comes a time in every woman’s life where she has to sit down and evaluate how she feels about her reproductive organs. And even though my husband’s sperm finding my egg was the easiest game of bocce we ever played, I have come to one unfortunate conclusion: they’re all jerks, the lot of them.
Last week, my husband interviewed for a job that he was actually excited about and ended up being hired on the spot and told to start the following Monday.
To be honest, my husband and I had spent the last year and three months working from home, and I was in no particular rush to put an end to that dynamic. Spending time with him is the highlight of each one of my days, and my reliance upon him became even more pronounced upon being handed down a bed rest sentence. When people ask me how it’s possible that I remain so calm and happy throughout such a trying time, they needn’t look any further than my husband’s strikingly handsome face. He’s been my rock. So when I was told that we’d be spending more time apart than not in just a few short days, I panicked. I had half a week to find a nanny who could handle the task of caring for an infant and a 31 year old, amidst a medical situation that could at any point turn dire.
Fast forward to Monday, and I’m actually having a great time with the woman we ended up choosing. She’s personable, funny, intelligent, great with Brooke, and loves football (and yes, those are listed in increasing levels of importance). The day was winding down, and I was obsessively counting down the hours until my husband would come waltzing through those doors, when all of a sudden, I felt it: a gush.
Since there are a plethora of gross things that happen during pregnancy, I didn’t automatically assume blood. I just politely excused myself so that I could use the restroom and stood to walk away. Having turned and exposed my backside, my ears were met with a sharp gasp.
“Jen, you’re bleeding.”
And off we went.
Pam ran upstairs to wake Brooke from her nap, while I grabbed my purse with my license and insurance card. We briskly sprinted outside, hopped in the car, and sped off towards the hospital. Having made the decision to stay at my mom’s, we were luckily quite close and arrived in short order. Though by this point, the blood had begun to come out faster, and I briefly contemplated how popular I’d be if, instead of blood, the intermittent gushes of liquid I was producing were beer or liquor instead.
Life can be so unfair.
So after being checked in to Labor & Delivery, I was again hooked up to maternal and fetal monitoring machines, only to find that I was contracting. Rapidly. As in, every minute and a half rapidly. As such, the decision was quickly made to hook me up to an IV of magnesium sulfate with the goal of slowing the contractions and guarding against neural abnormalities should premature birth become inevitable. For those unaware, magnesium sulfate is a mineral that acts as a powerful muscle relaxer and comes with a host of side-effects. I was told that I’d feel, in a word, terrible, and the prognosis wasn’t too far off. As it stands, I am on the drug now as we type (and will be until tomorrow), and I have to close one eye in order to see the computer screen, because my vision is so heavily blurred. My heart is racing, my face is hot, and I have to bow my head every few minutes in order to re-center myself. At the same time, I have to deal with the side-effects of steroids (of which I was given another round) and am trying to fight through the pain of having an IV implanted in each wrist. And yes, you read that right: two. Apparently, the anesthesiologist requested that they add a second line, because in the event of delivery, they have a ranking system to assess the likelihood of postpartum hemorrhage, and on a scale where 3 points classifies as “high risk,” I’m coming in hot with 5.
(Adds “overachiever” to the C.V.)
So here I lay, in my hospital bed, my face burning with the fire of a thousand suns. My contractions are being closely monitored by machine, and the peaks and valleys that occur through each one are eerily reminiscent of the frame of the Himalayan mountains — and by that, of course, I mean my hemorrhoids. To ensure that I am properly expelling the magnesium from my body, and because walking while on the drug is too dangerous, I am forced to urinate in a bed pan. Which would be fine, if the nurse didn’t leave the room for 5 minutes while it was uncomfortably sitting beneath me. Because that’s 1A on my bucket list: stewing in my own urine. Step aside Make-A-Wish, we’ve got a nurse fulfilling dreams.
Incidentally, I was up from 1:30 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. last night, as I couldn’t manage to sleep through the contractions. Having read about women who had hallucinated while on the “mag,” I had to question my own sensibilities when the crime show I was watching at 4:30 opened with a line about the suspect’s “unusual dog with an unusual drug problem.” Luckily, it was just a particularly awesome episode of Forensic Files. When I did manage to finally go to sleep, the blood pressure monitor would set off an alarm each and every time my numbers dipped below an institutionally acceptable level. And it happened. Often. I mean, come on people. Just let me die in peace.
Fortunately, my bleeding has slowed, and my contractions are spacing out, and I’ve spent today in a state of prayer that this continues to remain the case. Yes, I know, I’m supposed to be agnostic; but when LeBron didn’t win the championship, I had to reevaluate some things. In any event, I will be here for the remainder of the week, trying to keep this baby baking for as long as humanly possible. But at the end of the day, as I’ve told you before, I’m not what they’d call a chef. And it looks like my child is trying to come out every bit as undercooked as the chicken I once tried to serve my husband.
So please be patient, Blake Olivia; I prefer my fetuses al dente.