The night before I lost the baby, I started having contractions. Having contractions was not unusual because I had serious pre-term labor issues with my two previous pregnancies. Most of the time during pregnancy number 3, I did not feel compelled to mention my contractions if they were few and far between. The whole experience was old, old hat for me. This night was different; I was anxious and didn’t know why. Just by writing this I am placing myself back in that private room, wearing the largest hospital gown ever coupled with these leg brace thingies to keep the circulation or something going in my legs. I can smell the antiseptic mixed with antibacterial soap. I remember exactly how the room looked with my TV hanging in the right corner casting the only light in the room making everything blue and wiggly. Wiggly like heat rising off asphalt on a hot day.
My rollaway hospital tray was on an angle, messy with a stack of mindless reading, my huge pitcher of ice (no water, hated the stuff since I became pregnant) dangerously perched on one of the books. My weird hospital sock slippers were on the floor next to the bed, looking almost radioactive because they were blue and the light of the TV made them glow.
I have to admit, the hospital bed rest wasn’t terrible. I got to lie in bed all day and night, have someone wait on me hand and foot and have my friends and family give their undying love and attention. I was one of the lucky ones, I could get up to pee and raid my fridge. To be totally honest, hospital bed rest actually proved to be therapeutic for me. Well, that and the anti-depressants that I finally started to take after almost three months of procrastination. My moments of sadness came when I thought about why I was there. Not because of the pre-term labor, but because I was carrying identical twins who were in serious trouble. There was a 50/50 chance that I would lose them both before this was all over.
I remember that gradual muscular tightening around my belly down into my pelvis. “I got this.” I stated to myself. Like I said, it was old hat. But there was something different about that night making me internally jumpy and unsettled which added to my discomfort. So when the night nurse, an older Swedish looking woman asked the hourly question, “Any contractions?” I said, “Yes.” And the circus began. This is where the details get fuzzy. What I remember is a team of nurses coming in to try to monitor the twins without any luck for over an hour. Afterwards some other medical person came in with the portable sonogram, which for some reason didn’t work that well, and finally they took me to the head honcho on duty and he was able to find my two babes immediately and confirm that I was having mild contractions. So I got the shot. My contractions stopped, but my anxiety increased, my heart was racing and I could feel I was losing my mental grip. The babies were flipping all over the place, I am sure because of the Brethine.
A Law and Order SVU marathon was on. I sat up in my bed, with my leg massagers velcroed on and watched every episode in exhaustion. I didn’t want to sleep. The SVU episodes started to repeat and I watched for the second time the episode with Rebecca De Mornay portraying a woman confined to a wheel chair. I forced myself to switch the TV off. I had no such luck with my brain and my newly diagnosed OCD kicked in. “Rebecca De Mornay.” I whispered to myself. I liked the flow of her name. “Rebecca De Mornay.” I whispered again, then a third time and a forth. I realized how silly I sounded so I stopped repeating her name aloud. But in my mind I said it maybe a thousand times. I couldn’t stop. I just couldn’t stop. I fell asleep repeating her name like some sort of random mantra.
I think about those moments more often since I started writing again. They are bittersweet memories that open me up to very complicated emotions. They produce that sadness that I don’t think will ever leave me. It’s not an everyday sadness by any means. It isn’t debilitating or devastating. It is a sadness that I access when I choose to remember. It reminds me of the box of photos I always have on my desk or bureau. It moves around as I try to keep it from the kids, or when I am pretending to de-clutter. But it is always there ready to transport me back in time.
Along with the sadness is the feeling of absolute, soul filling gratitude. I made it through, and I am a better woman because of it. I am alive and well. That is what astounds me everyday - I Am Well.