I am just jumping in. I’m not even going to lengthy-introduction you with 500 barely-related words, Internet. That’s how you know I am either meaning serious business or feeling very unwell or both. It’s both.
Friday, I went to Dr. Nameless for my normal NST and check up – 34 weeks-ish. The NST went about as usual – an average experience, with her diving on and off the monitor, like she does, but at least making an acceptable showing. Right when we were getting to what I assumed would be the end of the NST, the nurse came in and took a peek at my strip (the thing that comes out of the machine) and without saying anything, went to get Dr. Nameless to take a peek as well. This is pretty standard – he makes sure we have what we need and then I get off the machine and go have my normal check up with him.
Well, this time he came in and looked and said, “Hm… well. What we’re going to do is, I’m going to have you guys head over to the hospital –,” at which point, I hit the ceiling, but not in a literal way, because I am short and was still strapped down and have you seen a pregnant lady try to get out of a squishy leather recliner? Yeah. Anyway, apparently, Garlic Bread’s heart rate was dropping repeatedly, and while it could end up being nothing – just her tugging on her own cord to be a goddamned asshole (SPOILER ALERT), it could also be something, and he said “I don’t need you to RUSH RIGHT over, but I do need you to go over. Now. Don’t stop at the store or anything.”
Basically, he wanted Garlic Bread to be monitored for a couple solid hours, and his office was not really the right venue for that. Labor and Delivery would be the correct place for that. Awesome. I fucking love that place.
Knowing the Bread as I do (AND I DO), I had Phil just drop me off at the door of the hospital. A couple hours of monitoring, pft. Am a pro at monitoring. Sent him back to work. Who needs him? Besides, I like to give him a little time off from staring directly into my bare belly.
Into L&D I went, and as it was day time – about 10am, maybe – there were no crowds, as they tend to come out at night. I got right back into triage and got to keep my own clothes on while they set me up on the monitors. As is usually the case with the hospital, they like to take any opportunity to gather any fluids you have to offer, so after I handled my cup, it was time to get some blood. They also like to put in a hep lock for an IV, just in case, though they don’t hook you up to anything unless they need to, so you can solo-pee.
You guys, never in my life have I been what could be called a “hard stick.” It is not difficult to get into my veins and set up shop. They’re huge. They’re fire hose-esque. They’re not even what you’d want blood-taking-learners to practice on, because they’d get the idea that it was too easy.
Attempt 1: between the bones of my right wrist (ugh, I hate that) – the nurse ran into a valve. Ok, it happens.
Attempt 2: between the bones of my left wrist – hurts way more than necessary and then doesn’t appear to work. Upon removing the needle, we see why. You know how there is a needle that pulls back and it leaves a little straw catheter thing in the vein for access? Well, the catheter went one way and the needle busted through it and right back through my wrist. Exclamations of “I have never even SEEN that before” did little to make me feel better, and I said, “Oh, shit. I’m sorry. But that really hurts.”
“That SHOULD hurt!,” the two nurses replied.
(“That REALLY HURT, Charlie. And it’s STILL HURTING.” Add your own adorable British toddler accent.)
(No, seriously. Still hurting.)
Attempt 3: The other nurse took a stab at this one, as two seems to be the limit they allow themselves. She tried the back of my right forearm, where she had spotted a gigantic vein among all my other gigantic veins. She poked and… nothing.
At this point, for attempt FOUR, they decided against putting in the IV rig and just getting the vials of blood they needed, so I pointed them right to my right krelbow (I will CONTINUE to use the word krelbow until SOMEONE remembers that episode of Blossom, SO HELP US ALL), where my never-fail vein is located.
Attempt 4: Poke, prod – success! Ish! 1 vial.. 2 vials… 3 vials… 4… … … vials… 5… … … …
“What’s happening?,” I asked.
“Well, the blood comes out because it’s pumping through the vein, but sometimes you blow out the vein, and you still get blood, it’s just that it’s being sucked out of the surrounding tissues.”
THAT’S RIGHT. THEY RUINED MY CHAMPION VEIN.
No, but seriously. Not their faults. No grudges held. It’s just that everything that COULD go wrong there absolutely did.
“On the plus side, though,” she said, “your baby looks great on the monitor!”
Of course she does.
So, covered in bandages and gooped up on the belly, I laid there for a while until a portable ultrasound machine was dragged in to do a BPP, just like I get every week at Dr. Stache. No big, am totally familiar with those.
More belly good, of course, and she started the scan as usual, which is of course when Garlic Bread decided she was going to take her nap for the day. Which necessitated the use of THE BUZZER, which necessitated finding the top of Garlic Bread’s head, which had apparently located itself well beneath the shave-line, if you will. No wonder I suddenly started walking like there’s a bowling ball in my pants.
While scanning, the tech said at one point, “Wow, your belly is REALLY hard all of a sudden.” I just grunted at her, because I was busy concentrating on the fact that Garlic Bread was repeatedly blowing up and deflating a balloon inside of me. Probably decorating for a party, planning to have all her friends over to once again celebrate how she fucked up my entire day from the inside.
The tech informed me that those were contractions. I informed her that I would like for her to put a stop to them. She informed me no.
Hey! Contractions! Why the hell not, right?
“But your baby looks great!,” she said.
Of course she does.
The ultrasound tech left and I watched House for a bit until my nurse came back to tell me that my blood pressure was kind of ridiculously high, and they’d be keeping me.
“But only for 24 hours! And some good news – the baby looks great!”
OF COURSE SHE DOES.
They needed to keep me so that they could do the 24 hour Jug of Shame test, though the jug loses some of its shamefulness when you don’t have to return it to the hospital and carry it around with your own hands. I called Phil to let him know what was going on, and told him not to bother to leave work – psh. 24 hours of observation and peeing in a plastic hat – I could handle that on my own for a while. I texted him a list of stuff to bring me (big underpants, lip balm) and told him to go ahead and finish out the work day, I’d see him when he could get there.
I changed into a hospital gown because I don’t know why – they wanted me to feel more butt insecurity or something – and sat and waited to be taken to my room. While waiting, another nurse came in with the whole rigging to set up the IV thing, and if I was the type of person to use the word “literally” incorrectly, I would tell you that they LITERALLY HAD TO PEEL ME OFF THE CEILING when I caught sight of her. Luckily, she eyed up my arms-o-bandage and decided to call someone else to do the IV, someone who would hunt down veins with an ultrasound before stabbing away.
I think, from this point, it is best to move into a list of events, because there were EVENTS.
– I went to my room and got settled in and was stabbed once again – this time in the back of my left forearm – and successfully this time. I was also hooked up to the familiar belly and finger monitors. My stomach is in a permanent state of lubed up, and did you know your index finger can sweat? A lot? It can. Well, mine can. Maybe yours can’t. I don’t know.
– Phil arrived with my bag full of requested belongings, including my pencil sharpener, because I can only do my puzzles with VERY SHARP PENCILS.
– My nurse popped her head in to ask, “Are you… feeling okay?” In fact, I was not. I was sweaty, dizzy and having a hard time catching my breath, which happens sometimes at home as well. My finger alarm had alerted the nurse that my pulse had climbed above 120, while I just laid there.
– We discover that the TV opens up a world of services to us, including the option to scroll through 11 different pictures, choose one we like, order it up, and have someone COME INTO THE ROOM and CHANGE THE ART on the walls. To promote better healing and happiness. ART CHANGING SERVICE.
– Every trip to the bathroom requires unplugging myself from various machines, draping cords around my neck, checking the time, writing down details, and reattaching all my cords when I’m done, but at least I can do it alone.
– A dude came to the room and gave me an EKG because of my elevated heart rate, but don’t worry – THE BABY LOOKED GREAT!
– OF COURSE SHE DID.
– Phil went home to be with the dogs. He debated cancelling the appointment with the cable guy that was set for the next day, but I said not to be ridiculous. He should definitely keep it. After all, they were bringing a new box that was like, 12% better than the old box. And nothing else. Obviously very important business.
– In addition to being strapped up around the belly and finger, I was brought some robotic leg warmers that took turns loudly inflating and deflating so as to keep my legs feeling leggy. After 9 weeks in bed, this is suddenly a concern? Or was it a concern the whole time and no one really got around to telling me? Who knows! The baby looked great, though!
– Of course.
– Around 9pm, a lady dragged a scale into my room and took my other vitals as well. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll only be back to bug you at 11:30 and at 4am, and then I’ll leave you alone.” Oh, is that all?
– At about 10:30, I am convinced to take a full dose of Ambien. I wouldn’t normally, but my doctor had ordered continuous monitoring. That means that if someone offers you Ambien, you should take it, because there is no other earthly way to get any sleep when you are all leashed up and lubed up.
– Midnight: restless legs kick in with a vengeance.
– 4am: The nurse comes in to hunt down Garlic Bread, because I had finally fallen all the way to sleep, so the damn wiener fetus decided to move off the monitors necessitating that I be disturbed to have everything readjusted. Oh, also? More contractions. Oh, and also also? It’s time to have the vitals taken again. Good news, though – the baby looks great!
– Yeah. You know.
– 4:10am: Ok, I am awake. I stare at my computer and wait for Phil to appear on GChat.
– 5:10am: HELLO HOW ARE YOU I’M AWAKE WHEN ARE YOU COMING? Oh. Not til after the cable guy? And he’s coming between 8 and noon? Oh.
– 5:12am: I begin to feel pitifully sorry for myself.
– 5:30am: A dude comes in to, I shit you not, DRAW SOME BLOOD. He opts for the back of my left hand, right near the bruise left from the IV in the back of my hand from Monday night’s L&D visit.
– At some point after that, the alarm started going off again, but it had been the whole time, on and off, so I ignored it, until my head started to feel like it might explode. It got so bad I started to cry and finally had to call for the nurse for something to help and she came in to see that my pulse had climbed and was holding steady over 130. She had me roll onto my side and tried to talk to me a little, asking where my husband was.
“He’s *huff, sob* with the *sniffle, huff* caaaaaable guuuuuuuuuuy. *waaaaaail*”
– Phil did arrive in relatively short order, after the Vicodin had kicked in and just before they were getting ready to take me for a heart echo. Are you seeing what is happening here? We went to the hospital because Garlic Bread sounded an alarm with her low heart rate. We end up with me being kept due to high blood pressure, needing to do a 24 hour Jug of Shame test, and having an EKG and heart echo for my own high heart rate. A high heart rate, I might add, which was making me feel MISERABLE, but not affecting the Bread AT ALL. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Baby looks great!”
– Or how many times I responded, “Of COURSE she does.”
– 1pm rolled around, which signaled the end of my 24 hours of shame, meaning we only had to wait for that test to be processed and then we should be cleared to leave. I saw Dr. Nameless just before that time and he indicated as much as well, as he wasn’t expecting to see anything dramatic in that test.
– 1pm comes and goes, 2pm, 3pm – Phil finally had to go home to take care of the dogs, assuming that he’d be coming back to get me in short order.
– 5pm or so – my nurse comes in and is FURIOUS. Not with me, but with some other doctor, who she said was likely going to write her up for her attitude, but she didn’t care. Turned out, they couldn’t get ANYONE to read my heart echo, as the doctor who ordered it had left the hospital and was unreachable and another doctor just refused. She talked to Dr. Nameless… who wasn’t comfortable letting me go home without hearing those test result.
– I cried.
– I called Phil to tell him I was staying another night – then suddenly asked him to go to the BX and get me another pair of clean shorts and if he could find them, some enormous underpants, and then got off the phone very quickly. I’m sure this was confusing to him.
– My nurse had spilled a giant cup of ice water into my bed and all over my butt. I sat in it for way longer than was sensible.
– I got to take a shower, which improved my mood by about 7000%, as did Phil’s arrival with these:
– Had an incredibly un-restful night, despite another dosing of Ambien and the fact that I “slept” from 8:30pm til 8:30am, because Garlic Bread flat out REFUSED to stay in a monitor-able position. Was once again presented with the travelling scale by the not-so-bright nurses’ aide (I’m sorry, she just wasn’t – the nurse asked her to put me back in my robotic leg warmers, so she did, but didn’t bother to turn them on, which, in my Ambien-haze, had me half-convinced that I’d die in the night from a blood clot that wasn’t prevented because the nurses’ aide thought I wanted to wear robotic leg warmers as decoration).
– Cried all morning for pretty much no good reason, nearly out of my mind on a combination of Ambien and Vicodin (I gave the heavy painkillers a fair shot at full dosage, you guys – I can’t say I’m a fan, but Phil did have a MUCH easier time getting my eye drops in), demanding to be taken home.
– The doctor who had ordered the echo and then vanished came in to talk to us, saying that my heart looked absolutely fine and offering various kind of silly explanations for why, at that very MOMENT, my heart rate was 125 while I just laid there looking at him. I again demanded to be taken home, possibly cried some more, and continued to wait for Dr. Nameless to clear me to go home.
– I definitely cried some more about how I felt like CRAP and I wanted to go HOME and I wanted to see my DOGS and I was never coming BACK and I was going to reabsorb that baby right up into me.
– I got taken home!
– I cried at home for a while, because I did not immediately and magically feel better, as I somehow assumed I would when I got into my own bed.
– Slept for 5 hours, sort of, half-waking up every 30 minutes to an hour to ask if it was time to get up or make nonsensical demands about real hamburgers that tasted like they were cooked for real and to also insist that I would NOT, in fact, be going to see Dr. Stache on Monday (which is now today), because fuck it, and also that I was NEVER going back to the hospital, and forget the whole goddamned thing, ok?
– It’s okay, though – I did go see Dr. Stache today, and while they were concerned about my high pulse, the baby looked great!
– OF COURSE SHE FUCKING DID.