I have no clue what day it is or what is going on in my life. Today is January 11th, but I feel like I’ve lived an entire month in the two weeks of the new year. I started off strong with my resolutions, getting dressed and doing dishes and getting to work at a decent hour. I was pleased with 3-4 weeks to get my classroom organized and Elliott’s belongings all washed and stashed somewhere that wasn’t the basement. On New Year’s Day I washed two loads of newborn-3 month clothing, and on Sunday we all went to Babies R Us to make a list of the last few items we needed. Over the course of a few lunch breaks, I banged out the complicated scheduling of HOURS worth of mandatory check ups and ultrasounds and stress tests and only had to miss two days of work to get all the weekly appointments taken care of. I was on a roll.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, during my first round of scheduled ultrasounds and tests, it became clear that Elliott did not have the amount of amniotic fluid in there that he needed. Everyone from the ultrasound technician to the nurses to my midwife was checking, double checking, and triple checking his other vitals and keep saying (not so)reassuring things like “Well, he’s moving, so that’s good, right?” and “Are you SURE that your water hasn’t broken?” The word induce was thrown around a lot, and by the second time I was sent to lay on the monitor in Labor and Delivery after 4 hours at the hospital, I called Ben and told him he needed to leave work, because no one could tell me for sure if I was going to be allowed to go home without a baby. I changed into the hospital gown into the bathroom and started crying, because I realized I might not get a chance to see Milo one more time as my only child.
In the end, they decided that I could go home, but needed to come back in the morning, after drinking lots of water and getting lots of rest. They asked me not to go to work and told me I needed to get the fluid levels back up to a magical number 5 in order for him to be okay in there. I was left with the general idea that I would either be induced the following day or over the weekend, when I hit 37 weeks. I was in a total panic, scared about having the baby so early and scared about not having my classroom arrangements finished and sad because I hadn’t bought anything special for Elliott to come home in. I spent the night tossing and turning and trying to figure out who to email and when I was going to get more milk for the fridge for Milo.
I went back on Thursday with everyone from both Ben and I’s jobs cheering for me, assuming that we would be parents of two before the week was over. I went through the same ultrasound and stress-test routine, trying to stay calm and organize my thoughts to ask the right questions to the right people. The maternity ward was super busy and there was none of the urgency of the day before; the number had gone from a 4 to a 6, edging over some magical threshold where it was suddenly no big deal. I started trying to explain how terrified I was that the numbers would dip again and I wouldn’t know, or my water would break and the fluid would be gone before I knew what was going on, and met A LOT of resistance. “Well, of course you’ll know.” Well, of course I won’t, because I never knew my water had broken with Milo, and went in to get checked on a whim after THREE previous identical false alarms. “Well, you must have had a gush when your water broke last time. The slow drip thing is a crock of poohy.” No, I didn’t have a gush, ever, and without the aminosure test, they would have sent me home. “Well, then you must not have wanted to know.” What the FUCK are you talking about?
In the end, all they could tell me was that I needed to drink water, rest, and come in for more ultrasounds next week. Condescendingly, I was told to “come in every time you even THINK that maybe your water broke, even if it’s every day.” Jesus Christ, I missed my midwife. Knowing that these might be the people who actually deliver Elliott when he really comes made it even harder to keep my cool, but it even more crucial to do so. I got in the car and just cried, my emotions were so raw. On the phone, Ben immediately told me to let work know I was starting my leave and cut that stress out of the equation. I was surprised that he felt so strongly about it, but I knew he was right. From our family’s perspective, I need to be able to shoot over the hospital in an instant if I’m feeling something is not right, and to lay down and rest when my Braxton Hicks act up, and to focus on cooking Elliott as long as possible. From my work’s perspective, it’s easier to have one sub in place than having to scramble each time the doctor asks me to come in again in the morning for a second look. It’s a lot easier to follow the directive “rest” when you’re not teaching first grade. It still feels very, very strange to me to be on day 1 of my maternity leave with no baby, and no idea what they’re going to say or do when I go back to the hospital next week for more observation.
Long story short, the past three days have been mind blowing and absolutely nothing like the end of my last pregnancy. It’s true how incredibly different things are this time, and I didn’t realize how much I had been depending on them going the same way I had expected. I had these great plans for 2013 and a few days ago, my focus was on checking some good books out of the library and getting another nail appointment in. Now, I am jumpy and constantly analyzing the amount of gas in the car and counting kicks/timing contractions like a maniac.
I know I need to be calm and grateful, and I am (I’m trying). Even writing out everything that happened over the past few days helps me remember that I am incredibly lucky and even being able to take the time to rest and prepare for this little button should not be taken lightly. I’m going to stick to guzzling water, keeping a few pairs of yoga pants clean, and watching episodes of Portlandia on Netflix, and hopefully, a full term little sucker will be here soon.