Archive for January 2013

January 3rd, 2013

Going with the Flow

One thing about being a parent, I am certain, is that you often have to change the plans you have for your day/your week/the rest of your life because of your kid and their needs.

For example, maybe you are supposed to attend a party on New Year’s Eve but instead you end up sitting for hours at the hospital. This is what happened to me a few nights ago.

Before I go any further I will tell you that Steph and the baby are completely fine. You can continue reading this recap of the evening’s events without worrying about the outcome, or judging me for (now) taking the whole thing lightly.

The story here is that, five minutes before we were about to run out the door to a party, Steph went to the bathroom and then came out announcing that we needed to go to the hospital because she was bleeding.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if we needed to go in at that point. I knew I had heard stories about vaginal bleeding being pretty common, albeit unsettling, during pregnancy, and Steph was not in any pain. What I know now, and what Steph at least intuited then, is that you always see a doctor for this type of thing. They clearly did not feel like this was anything to mess around with when we got there.

The air of seriousness with which the staff addressed the issue, combined with the fact that it took them a while to find the baby’s pulse (it turned out it was just moving around too much, funnily enough) really introduced the prospect that something could be wrong, or could be going wrong, with our baby. Thankfully I only had to live with that bucket of lead in my stomach for about 45 minutes before they determined that all seemed normal.

Honestly, given what was going on, everything went really well. Steph had called ahead to ask where she needed to go and they told her to head to the “Women’s Pavilion,” rather than the ER. This is sort of like thinking you’ll be flying coach, and then, as you board, getting upgraded to swank, spacious, pristine first-class. And I guess, to make this metaphor truly accurate, I’d have to add that the coach sections on this particular airline are located in the Eighth Circle of Hell, because the rooms — and all the other things about a Women’s Pavilion — are way, way nicer than the other parts of a hospital.

And the silver lining is, as this is where we will be going for the birth, we now have the lay of the land for four months from now. We know the door to drive up to and the desk to check-in at. I learned how to fold-out the big sleeper chair, once the boredom of just waiting around in the room to be discharged got to be too much, so now I know where I will be huddling in disbelief as the labor progresses.

We also got to watch the nurse and the midwife manipulate the crazy transforming bed, turning it from normal place of rest, into iconic stirruped, horror-show bench. (Why did they need to change the bed around? Because, it turns out, I can no longer legally visit a medical professional without someone interfacing with my wife’s genitalia while I sit awkwardly-close by. I can’t imagine what husbands did during these moments before the iPhone. In fact, I think this scenario would make a hell of an ad for Apple. I hope they’re paying attention.)

They even got us out of the hospital just in time for us to run down the street to my parents’ (who live near the hospital) and surprise and concern them with the events of the past few hours, and then ring in the new year!

The appearance of the blood, the midwife thought, could be a symptom of the placenta being low-lying. I guess this is not uncommon and it almost always moves out of the baby’s “flight trajectory” on its own at some point. Therefore all they did was give Steph a shot that she would have had to get at some point in her pregnancy anyway, on account of her negative blood-type. (Pregnancy Surprise #6: Negative blood-types are bad for newborn babies. Or something. No one could explain to me precisely what the shot did or was for, beyond: there could be some sort of blood debacle during the delivery, but then the stuff in the shot would sort it all out. So fine, whatevs.) Then they just told Steph to come back in if the bleeding reoccurred and to limit her physical activity for a bit.

Oh, and they put her on “pelvic rest” until further check-ups show that the placenta has moved. “Pelvic rest,” it was later explained to me, is their term for what I consider to be a pretty major precautionary measure that will involve me taking a lot of “cold showers” and probably engaging in many easily put off but mostly-distracting activities such as “reorganizing the junk drawer” and “resealing our window frames.”

I hadn’t planned on doing any of that stuff either. This kid is bound and determined to make a parent out of me.

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