Notes on a hospitalized pregnant woman Pt. 50

Hurricane Matthews’s eye has become “slightly disorganized”, from a category 4 to a category 3. Matt narrowly missed the Florida coast and headed on to South Carolina. 

My own headache and nausea have subsided. I feel clear but cold and hot, and tired. Everyone’s face looks funny. 

Raeanne calls and says her car is being towed and she has to find another car, so she might not make it today. Instead of asking why her car is being towed or where she’s finding another car I just tell her to call me when she finds out if she can make it. She asks about Charley’s phone.

“Well he’s out of minutes and I can’t get a hold of him right now.”

“That’s horrible.”

“Yeah.”

Today’s message in my pregnancy app says: 

“Just for Dad: Don’t go MIA! You’re in the home stretch now: only a few more weeks to go! Now isn’t the time to disappear on your partner, even if it’s unintentional. Make sure your cell phone is charged and hand at all times in case baby decides to make an early appearance…”

The Universe mocks me. 

After breakfast, Stephanie shows up for massage. She puts her elbow into the knot in my upper back. She talks my ear off but she’s good with her hands. Like I’m bread dough and she’s kneading me into something important. 

Diana is next with Reiki. I’m half asleep. Diana touches the right side of my belly and I jump. It tickles. She moves to my feet, head, belly, feet. My leg twitches. I feel like we’re disassembling and reconstructing my body.

“We pulled in a lot of energy. Drink lots of water.” Energy shifts and rebalances with sweats, chills, and tingles. I’m detoxing. I have preeclampsia. I’m stressed. 

Up to 60% of the human body is water, the brain is 70%, blood is 82%, and the lungs 90%. Water’s “stickiness” aids the body’s ability to transport nutrients and minerals. It’s nature’s medicine. 

Dr. Luikenaar returns from race car lessons. Her hair’s in a ponytail and she’s wearing flower jeggings. They actually look cute. She checks my ear and recommends I stay on my antibiotic a couple more days. Then she says it.

“If you have more headaches and nausea we might have to deliver in the next couple days.”

I ramble about how we can’t do that because I have to wait for my husband.

“Your health [something something] … If you have to wait for delivery we’ll do the magnesium…”

Oh god no. That’s like sending me to solitary confinement. It means a catheter and turning into anzombie. No.

“And I need you to be honest.”

“Of course.”

I’m balancing on a high wire. Any sign of discomfort or ill health and I’m hauled off to Labor&Delivery. 

Charley calls. He spent $100 on an oil change. I’d had my car serviced two months prior and I tell him that was totally unnecessary and he needs to save money and he starts yelling. 

I want to tell him what the doctor said about maybe delivering earlier if my headaches persist, but he’s on the highway TAKING THE DOGS OUT AND HAS TO GO.

My room feels confining. Same movies, same books, dry air. A home “built of bread, roofed with cakes, and the window was of transparent sugar,” I’m dreaming of a fairy tale and it’s grim.

Every time Charley yells I picture fights in front of the baby and I can’t handle it. Crazy people fight. Addicts fight.

I posted in my pregnancy app about why or why not the man in your life should be present at the childbirth. Is it even a good idea to have your husband in the room? I’d always wanted it but now, with Charley reacting dramatically to every little thing, I wasn’t sure. 

“If you think he’ll help and not stress. Mine is my rock and will definitely be there every step,” says one lady.

“Unless he’s a negative, unsupportive person then yes…” says another.

“When I had our daughter he was so nervous and scared he stood behind the bed and didn’t hold my hand or anything lol. … My mom was there and that’s all I wanted was my mom…”

“I told my hubby if my vagina had to rip he better be there to see it! Lol”

“My other half was useless… He sat in the corner shaking and biting his nails… He’s a if wimp!…”

“Short and sweet heck yeah he part of the reason I would be going through it lol and I honestly think it’s the best experience ever… Especially in the moment when you both meet your baby.”

Maybe Charley isn’t ready for birthing classes or setting up a baby room, but I want him there to greet our new little human. Hopefully he can stay awake and hold my hand. If he could be there for his ex baby mama on her hands and knees like a cavewoman, he could be here for me in the hospital after being fattened up for two months. 

Am I mad? Is this the Black Forest? Is this the Gingerbread House? Are these women in scrubs my candy witches? 

Charley calls again from a hot bath, and we talk for an hour. Why can’t we get along? We have our whole lives to get along. “I don’t know why I’m like this.” “Just let me handle this sobriety myself.” “God I love you.” “Can’t wait to show you everything.”

My pen stops working. The cafeteria forgets my ice cream. The TV’s total shit. Too many commercials. Too many pills. Stomachache. Trump bragged about grabbing pussy. Contractions. 

I hope I make it to Friday.

Remember Hansel and Gretel? I feel like I have plundered down a dark path into a cannibalistic world. Greed everywhere. People consuming other people until no one’s left. What is this world I’m bringing a baby into?

My bread crumbs are my stories. They’ll lead me back home. I have nothing to do but take pills, eat, and write. The hospital is my candy witch.

“Stretch out your finger that I may feel if you will soon be fat.”

No thanks, everybody.

The fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel originates from the Great Famine between 1315–1321. The medieval famine caused desperate, starving people to abandon their children and in extreme cases, resort to cannibalism. 

The Black Forest represents the unconscious. It’s a part of ourselves we have yet to illuminate or comprehend. 

We’re all traveling through the Black Forest. 

Marilyn enters with Taz the schnauzer. She talks about a mouse in her cupboard and a surprise I’m going to get for the baby. Taz cuddles up on my belly. She keeps getting little bumps near her groin and the vet is worried she might have tumors. What would Marilyn do without Taz? Marilyn takes my hand and stares at me. Usually that would make me uncomfortable as hell, but I can feel her warmth. “You are very special to me,” she says. “You are strong. I admire you.” 

I don’t know what to say. “Thank you.”

“You are. You are very special.”

“Thank you.”

At the end of Hansel and Gretel, the old candy witch is pushed into the oven. The oven is a place of birth and death. Once you’ve been born you cannot return to the oven because then you would return to death. The oven is the womb and the coffin.


Who is to say when we will return to the womb when we die? Young or old our time will come. We return from whence we came, and maybe babies and old people know to look deep in your eyes and see what’s really there. 

Stephanie comes in with the night nurse, Lynette. “Today’s 37 weeks. Here with PIH. Allergic to sulfa. … Pressures have been really good today, knock on wood. …she’s had an ear infection. … The night of the 13th she’s going in for induction.”

“Did I leave anything out?” Stephanie asks.

My contractions are making me nervous. I keep thinking a lot about the birth which makes me think a lot about death. 

“No, you’re good.”

Young nurses sometimes are just waiting for Dr. Prince Charming to save them. These nurses are past that and they’re kind. And I’m grateful.

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