Monday, May 3, 2010
Four years ago today, I lay on the couch watching the Food Network. I was almost 39 weeks pregnant with Bob. I had gained a delicate 65 pounds during my pregnancy and it was quite apparent that 20 of each of those pounds was residing in my ankles. I had bronchitis and my wee son had kicked me so hard I had a broken rib in my left side. Coughing was an event. It was my first official day off from work and I was looking forward to some time on the couch with my feet up.
As I watched Emeril work his “essence” there were suddenly two Emerils, then three. Glancing away from the TV I saw that the room had also tripled. My vision was extremely blurry for a few moments and then it returned to normal. Then it wasn’t normal again and then it was.
Since I had become pregnant, any physical change I experienced, I looked up in the book What to Expect When You Are Expecting, or as I had renamed this frightening tome, What to Expect When You Are Expecting the Worst. I consulted my book of fears and found that blurry vision was a sign of preeclampsia, the high blood pressure that can accompany pregnancy.
I called my doctor. She instructed me to go to the hospital. She would meet us there. If it turned out that I had preeclampsia, we would be having a baby today.
Jeff raced home from work. I was ready at the door with my large I’m-going-to-the-hospital-to-have-a-baby suitcase I had packed six weeks previous. My bag was filled with everything every girlfriend and every book and every preggo website had suggested I might need for the trip. I had giant granny underpants and Hello Kitty socks and a robe long enough to cover my behind in the drafty hospital hallways. I was prepared as I could be for an event that was mostly out of my control.
At the hospital, we learned that my blood pressure was fine. I did not have preeclampsia. There was no explanation for my intermittent blurred vision other than “sh*t happens.” I was instructed to stay a few hours hooked up to the fetal heart monitor for observation, just in case.
I asked Jeff to retrieve a bottle of water for me from my suitcase. “And a protein bar, do you see those in there? They should be near the magazines.”
“Thanks. Honey? Where’s your dad bag?”
“I didn’t pack my official dad bag yet. So I threw this together when we left the house.” He held up a small plastic Ralph’s shopping bag. I looked inside.
“So you have three pairs of tube socks and 2 packs of Extra spearmint gum.”
“And that’s it.”
“I’ll do better next time.”
When I went into labor three days later, he added a toothbrush to the bag. He was ready to be a dad.
Labels: the family