A hospital, in so many ways, is like a hotel. (Okay, a motel, but it's way better than many of the motels I've stayed at over the years.) You're here and you've gone some place else. The smells are the smells of Not-Home. And I am in such good shape, I am actually enjoying it. (I know this is a privilege. In triage yesterday, three different women cycled through the adjacent space -- one who vomited at least 15 times, another who did nothing but moan for two full hours, and a third who was clearly in so much pain, the only sounds she could make were exactly like the terrifying rattley rasps you hear from zombies on The Walking Dead. I'd have laughed if I hadn't felt so sorry for her. Nathan was bugging out while she paced the hallways. He looked like like he was expecting her to burst through the curtain to bite him. Too funny. Poor lady.)
Anyway, I'm feeling good, as I say, so I have the privilege of enjoying things. I am particularly liking the slightly rough linens and towels, They're so dry and crisp, trailing the vague scent of institutional detergent. It sounds bizarre, I know, but ... everything is just so clean and I didn't have to wash any of it myself! That's a good feeling. Again, it's not unlike being on holiday.
Is that sad? That being in the hospital is reminding me of being on vacation? I don't know.
So yeah. Let's just get the pregnancy stuff out of the way. I never wanted to be the sort of woman who talked a lot about, let alone blogged about, my pregnancy, but since there's a THING happening, I guess I will. I'll ramble a bit. While I sit here, bored out of my mind in the hospital, it'll gives me something to do.
The bottom line, again, is that I'm fine. In the hospital, but totally fine! I'm just 32 weeks pregnant, that's the problem. Pregnancy is ridiculous. It's gross and weird and unpredictable and everybody thinks they understand it and that your experience is going to be really similar to their experience, but the real truth about pregnancy is that you have no idea. You can't predict how it will go, and you won't feel how other people feel. You will feel how you feel. Sometimes, your experience may mirror someone else's, but there's nothing universal about this shit, no matter what people tell you.
I have other pregnant friends right now, and other than just being pregnant, we seem to have nothing in common. It's kind of irritating, honestly. Lonely. Just by way of example, here's a weird thing about my pregnancy that's probably going to make you hate me (it seems to have that effect) and that has been impossible to talk about as a result: Over the course of this entire pregnancy I have gained zero pounds. ZERO pounds. None. I lost a bunch in the first trimester, when I was horribly ill, and I've never gained it back. I look pregnant. The baby is a good size. But, probably as a result of my Graves complications and medication tweaks, it seems like I've slowly, but steadily lost weight in the rest of the body department at nearly the exact same rate as I was gaining in the pregnancy department. OH LUCKY YOU, you might be thinking.
No, actually. Not lucky. That is exactly the problem. The weight thing, maybe especially because I was fat before, makes other women really angry. And they don't know how to deal with that, because they know their anger is unfair and irrational and they want to hide it. They're just not very good at it.
And it sucks, because you know what I would have liked to talk about at least once over the last 7.5 months or so? How scary it is to have gained no weight. How frightening it is. How it has made me feel constantly like my baby was probably in distress, or already dead. How having to weigh myself and having to listen to non-scientific "healthy eating" lectures has been a nightmare in terms of managing my eating disorder. How dealing with the obvious jealousy leveled at me by horrible fat-phobic women who are still bitter about their own pregnancy weight gain has been a burden I could really have done without. I never get to talk about any of that. You know what I get to do? Apologise. To appease other women, I have had to apologise for the fact that I haven't gained weight. I've had to pretend to feel lucky to keep people from despising me. It blows. I am NOT fucking lucky (not in this respect, anyway), but that's the culture we live in. It's isolating.
That's another surprise. Pregnancy can be isolating. I thought it would be me and my besties, being belly-riffic together. Instead, it's been me and my computer, desperately seeking other women willing to talk to me, to open up to me with the truth instead of with their "it's soooo perfect" fairytales. Willing to let me tell the truth back. They're out there. They're great. I just don't know many of them IRL, and that's been a bummer. Thank god for the internet. (And actually, for the couple of real life friends who have actually been really great, against type. My best pregnancy friends have been a girl I always thought hated babies and a 25 year old dude. Weirdness. But bless them. Shoutout to my fellow Graves ladies, too. You have also been great.)
Look, I know this is a bit of a rant, but it's just... it's just ... tiresome, you know? The social aspect of being pregnant can be tiresome. People want to talk about it, yes, but only up to a point. Surface shit only. And if your experience isn't their experience, if you're not spending the same kind of money on your gear, if you're not having the same kind of shower, if you don't feel or look like what they remember feeling or looking like ... like I said, blank stares, vague inferences that imply you're lying, and smug "you'll see" statements are all you'll likely get in return. Unless you live in some perfect feminist community where this stuff just doesn't happen, you must know what I mean. (And if you do live in a community like that, can I come in? Will you adopt me?) Because I've had it. Conversations with ladies whose memories are both embellished and more than 35 years out of date are interminable. And then there are the parents who can't stop talking about the misery of it all and how happy (read: full of schedenfeude) they are that you'll soon be miserable too. THEY'RE EVEN WORSE. And you can't very well say "Uuuuuugh. WOULD YOU PLEASE SHUT UP? YOU ARE HORRIBLE." No matter how deserved, our culture just doesn't allow for that. You have to smile and take the "you'll see" condescending bullshit. It's barf. And I hate it.
So yeah. Isolation. A certain friendlessness. That is an aspect of pregnancy I have enjoyed. Another surprise.
TL/DR? PREGNANCY IS THE WEIRDEST FUCKING THING. That's just a fact, jack.
But... okay, look. It's also lovely. In so many ways, it's lovely! I feel that tummy pride I never expected to feel. I lay my hands on it and feel happy. Now that the baby is finally bigger than my stupid anterior placenta and I can actually feel it moving, Nathan gets to lay his hands on it and it's like a movie about happy people. It's cheesy, yes, but really really nice. He reads insanely long and boring Babar books to my stomach and it feels ridiculous, yes, but it's also the sweetest damn thing. So rants aside, there are parts of being pregnant that are peaceful and calming and great. And at times, despite everything, just being pregnant is also great. There are moments when it makes me feel powerful and righteous, like all Daaamn right I'm growing a HUMAN FUCKING LIFE UP IN HERE! I AM CLEARLY SUPERWOMAN! It's a nice feelings. So pregnancy is also not so bad. When it's not disgusting and horrible, I mean. It is all of these things and other things as well. Don't let anybody tell you different. Anyone who does is either lying or using her isolated experience as the only worthwhile yardstick. She is very silly and should probably STFU. Just ignore her and her ilk. Big ol' liars, they are.
Okay. Rant over. I think. For now anyway.
Be warned. This post is REALLY long and rambly. I have had nothing at all to do today besides write it, and get steroid shots in the butt. I am basically Jose Canseco. If you read (or skim) all the way to the end, you will hear that joke one more time. If not, I will understand. The post is too damn long. It is also likely filled with typos and spelling errors, because I wrote the whole thing on a tiny iPod and I just can't anymore.
If you'd like to skim the sections, they go like this: Section 1) Stupid poetical ramblings. Section 2) Ranting about pregnancy and my social life in general. Section 3) Medical stuff and why I'm actually in the hospital. Peppered thoughout with my signature wit, OF COURSE. Oh yeah. You're going to love it. If you read the whole thing, I'll give you one million dollars.*
EPIC POST ACTIVATE!
I have a pretty good view. From my hospital room, I mean. Yep. Hospitalized! It sounds serious, but it isn't really. Probably. Hopefully.
Don't panic. More will be explained.
What was I saying? Oh yeah. I have a nice view. A strange view. It was kind of a surprise, these big windows on the world. Fifteen stories apparently equals an angle on the city that is both totally familiar and generic, and also, alien. I can't make out any major landmarks. It's all just rooftops and treetops and towering incineration stacks that you'd think would be memorable, but aren't. There's a 'Where am I?' aspect to the everything here that is strange. All is both known and unknown.
I could be almost anywhere. Cincinnati. Detroit. New York. Vancouver. Chicago. Even Paris. Even London. Even Mumbai. I've been to each of those places, and I promise, as long as you're not parked above or adjacent to a well-known, movie-famous skyline, this is what those cities look like. Maybe this is what every city looks like.
There are other things things to consider. The light, for one. Early morning. I've always liked the dawn of the day, I just rarely manage to see it. Early mornings are usually reserved for special occasions. Vacation departures. Sports travel. Unpleasant illnesses of the night, that always seem to let up with the sunrise. 6 AM, for me, holds more memories than anything else. It calls to mind September, 1998, my first week at Queen's. It is sunshine on the Interstate, June of 2007. Out of my window to the west, the sun hit the skyscrapers this morning, and I saw the exact amber of the light at my elementary school track and field trials, May, 1989. Light -- another strange thing.
Anyway, the medical stuff. Should probably get that out of the way, eh? I've babbled about other crap for way too long already. (Remember, it's only 'cause I'm in the hospital and bored out of my mind. Wifi is all I have!)
Yeah. So. I woke up at 3am on Wednesday morning and I couldn't get back to sleep. That happens sometimes. I had a little cold and wasn't feeling great, and I have sleepless nights periodically anyway, so it wasn't that concerning at first. I had one just a few days ago after a particularly distressing social interaction at a party. It's not unheard of. I filled the time watching old SVU reruns and waiting to relax. Only, I couldn't relax. I felt ... odd. I had an OB appointment in the afternoon anyway, but once 10am rolled around, I decided to just roll in early. An hour later and I found myself waiting to be admitted to the high risk antenatal unit of my hospital, where I am now. The issue is basically that they think there is enough of a possibility (vague, no way to know for sure) that I MIGHT go into preterm labour to justify keeping me here for monitoring. Wah wah wah. BORING.
So. Yesterday I spent most of the day downstairs in L&D triage, making friends with Walkers, Mona, and The Unfortunate Vomittess. (I feel for you, ladies! Hope you've all pushed out some healthy babes by now.) I spent my time getting various tests and slowly working my way through an absolutely inane copy of O Magazine from January, which featured Oprah on the cover (obvs), decked out in enormous emerals and an emerald-green velvet dress, posing next to an apprently benevlolent male lion. RIDICULOUS. But as I wasn't actually expecting to be hospitalized, it was all I thought to grab as reading material.
What else? Tests. I had a bunch of tests. Here's how they went:
Urine Test: Fine. Tests for stuff like UTIs and Bladder infections, which can cause labour cramps, I guess. Negative. No problem there.
Ultrasound: Fine. Decent movement (though I've been noticing it less in the last couple of days.) Baby a good size. Cervix long and strong. Not unlike a solid peen.
Betke-Kleihauer Blood Test: Fine. I think this checks if materal and fetal blood have mixed at all. So it can tell you if you've got any bleeding in the uterus you might not have noticed (I think?). Like if the placenta might have detached a bit? I'm a lay person. I don't know. Anyway, apparently it was all good.
Non-Stress Fetal Monitoring Thingy: Mostly fine. Baby moving. Baby heart rate good. However, this test showed that I WAS indeed having minor contractions in a regular pattern. Mild, but not Braxton Hicks. This was a surprise. I thought for sure they'd say 'Nah. It's nothing. Gas pains, you farty monster.' And then send me home. Not so! They were more like, 'Yep! There they are. Irritatble uterus tightenings! Definitely coming in a regular pattern. You shall stay here so that we may observe.' Well FINE. (I was really hoping it was gas. An unusual hope, but I embraced it.)
Fetal Fibronectin Screening Test: Positive. Failed! Boo! Fetal Fibronectin is a protein that is like a sticky glue, from what I understand. Anyway, it leaks from where it's supposed to be and can be found behind/below the cervix if a preterm labour is likely (or rather, liklier) to occur. The test is sort of like a Pap, but more unpleasant. Hurts way more. I don't know why. Just another pregnancy evil, I guess. Anyway, they swab for it, and if you have it (and I did) then they say you are a bit likelier to go into labour sooner. If the test had been negative, I expect they would have sent me home. Alas.
So yeah. Basically, the Fetal Fibronectin test and the Wee Contractions were what made them admit me. They also decide to give me a steriod treatment that will help the baby's lungs develop if by chance it IS born early (like in the next couple of days). It's not like a anabolic sports steroid in any way save one. Guess how they give it to you? As a shot. IN YOUR BUTT.
So I've been getting steriod shots in my butt. How great is that? I am basically Jose Canseco.
(BTW, I keep making this Jose Canseco joke. Nobody besides Nathan seems to appreciate it. This is why we are married. If you want to get married, I suggest you look for someone who enjoys the same sort of jokes as you. They do not need to be about butts and baseball. You do you, comedy queens.)
Anyway, long long long long LONG story/post even longer: I'm still having mild, non-painful contractions/tightenings at regular intervals, but they're not getting worse. No blood. Cervix still fine. Not in preterm labour ... yet. Blah blah blah. If nothing changes, they'll send me home tomorrow, where I will shake my steriod-speared buns like a mad woman to finish up my baby-room plans and cleaning goals. And with any luck, this little sucker will stay safe and sound and inside for at least a couple more weeks and then we'll be all good.
Two weeks is all I ask, Baby. Stay in there. Don't be an asshole.
In the meantime, I am getting great treatment and enjoying myself in the hospital writing long and extremely boring blog posts. (Evidence herein.) My sister works at this very hospital, on this very floor, and I expect everyone is being extra nice to me as a result. (I'm sure they're always nice, but I detect a little EXTRA niceness. I'll take it.) I feel okay. I'm getting no sleep and am a bit bored, but that's the worst of it. I know I'm lucky.
Nathan, the prime worry-wart of our family, is snoozing next to me in one of those hospital chairs right now.. He looks pretty cute. The baby is alive. I can tell because it has had hiccoughs for the past six minutes. Poor little weirdo fetus. I'm betting it's going to be cute. Cross your fingers that I don't find out for sure for at least a couple more weeks, though.
All is well.