Notes on a hospitalized pregnant woman Pt. 14

Sept 1.- 21 days since I’ve been in a hospital and 19 days since I’ve been in a hospital in Salt Lake City.

I am starting to get a few presents in response to my Amazon baby registry. One is three baby boy outfits. They don’t read my blog or social media posts I guess. 

In the morning I wait 30 minutes in a crowded lobby for an ultrasound appointment that ends up being moved into the afternoon. After the ultrasound- which makes sure the fluid in my placenta is normal and it is- I take a little walk outside, buy a latte I never drink, and head back for an NST. 

Again, an NST monitors the baby and this time Dakota is “acting up” when I have a contraction, and it seems I am suddenly having regular contractions. 

Pregnant women can have contractions for several weeks, even months, before they deliver. It’s not like oh shit, a contraction, time to have a baby. The issue for me is that on the little scroll of paper recording the baby’s heart rate, there’s a dip every time I have a contraction, and the dip can mean that the placenta isn’t giving the baby enough oxygen during each contraction.

So the Labor & Delivery nurses scoop me up and drop me off in a room downstairs in Labor & Delivery for a few extra hours of monitoring. Besides my blood pressure, which is disturbingly high again, (probably from stress), everything else is looking relatively normal now.

Hmm, maybe they’re just doing this because Dr. Lukenaar dropped me down to one NST per day and told them not to come when I’m eating my meals so they’re working around my schedule. 

“Stop with the conspiracy theories,” Charley would say.

Stop with the conspiracies. Nurses aren’t like that. Their brains don’t work the way yours does.

That’s probably a good thing.

Obviously. Crazy woman.

My blood pressure starts to drop. Charley texts me pictures of the sunset on the Mesa. This is where we’ll walk the dogs. And this is where we’ll take baby Dakota. 

My nurse from Postpartum brings my dinner, a big fat burrito that tastes like a white person from Utah made it. I miss my room upstairs. HOW LONG AM I GOING TO BE HERE??

Brianna the RN comes in. “I called your doctor and she thinks it’s fine for you to go back upstairs. We’re going to take you after the shift change, and another nurse will take you up and you can stay over night.”

“Over night. Wait. Where, here?? I have a room upstairs already.” I have flowers from my in-laws and a giant pink teddy bear and crystals and books and DVDs and a minions blanket. 

“No you’ll stay upstairs over night.”

“Over night? Hopefully many nights. I mean, I have a room upstairs.”

Ok. Thirty minutes pass and Brianna comes in with another nurse.

“She’ll take you up in a few minutes, we just have to find you a room.”

“What? I have a room.”

Fucking goddamnit fuck. I’m watching Adult Swim and I’m pretty sure my blood pressure is up again. At 7:35 pm I call the nurses’ station.

“Hey, I’m supposed to go back upstairs and I’m pretty sure I already have a room and nurse assigned to me up there so can I just take myself up there?”

“Let me ask your nurse and get back to you, okay?” 

“Okay.”

A few minutes later I’m directed upstairs. I forget my phone and return and get directed back upstairs. “Sorry I’ve been all fuzzy headed…pregnancy brain.”

By 8 pm I’m in my room listening to Purity Ring and reading The Stand. There’s still enough light to see the Wasatch Mountains and a nurse downstairs brought a suction to keep my crystals on the window. Ahh. Home sweet home.  

“My pregnancy brain is getting the better of me,” Cami the RN says.

“Same.” 

She says she’s 29 1/2 weeks pregnant. My very pregnant nurse is working 12-hour night shifts.

“Oh man I feel lazy.”

“Noooo. No. You’re on doctor’s orders.” Is it her first? Yes. She got a late start. A late start? She’s 37. In Salt Lake, where a woman in her late ’30s usually has a swarm of kids already, this is a very late start.

“I’m 33. I seriously couldn’t have done this in my twenties. Wouldn’t have wanted to either.”

“Oh god me neither. Too selfish.”

“Yeah. Too selfish. Too stupid.”

Is she planning to take a break? No. Is she tired? Yes. There’s another nurse on this floor expecting any day now. 

It feels like every lady in Salt Lake City either is pregnant or has eight kids and a full-time job already. And they’re all radiant or at least they look like they had an early start and get eyelash extensions every two weeks. But to be fair, I’m just exposed to a couple dozen nurses and my conspiracy theories. 

I’ve read one page in thirty minutes. Mostly I’m staring at a wall thinking about where I was one year ago. September 2015. I was a copy editor at the Jackson Hole Daily. I had about eight coworkers in my department, including a guy a year younger than me who had a ginger man bun and scribbled in his notes “Claudia is trying too hard. Too hard,” when I came up with better headlines than him.

After another month I was clashing so bad with the 50-year old New York Catholic editor who hit on my ex the journalist upstairs, that the short Jewish Chief Editor invited me to the health food store down the road to tell me “I’m sorry I just don’t think you’re cut out to be a copy editor.”

Fuck you Pamela, the failed Manhattanite with the beady eyes. This was obviously her fault.

While I enjoyed writing headlines and correcting dry, uninspired 5th-grade level Associated Press articles, being fired/quitting the News was the motivation I needed to take a solo road trip with my dogs to Moab and meet my husband Charley.

And the rest was history. A very chaotic year of history and roadtrips and marriage and pregnancy and hospitals. It was turning out to be a wonderful and terrible year. I loved and hated everything. 

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