April 16, 2009
A year ago I was looking for my car keys. I was supposed to be at my 38 week check-up at 7:45, it was 7:15 and I couldn’t find the car keys. After digging through the pockets of all my jackets, I called Steve, who was already at work. He had the car keys; he’d forgotten to take them out of his backpack after going to the wood shop the night before. He was sorry.
So, instead of taking the car to my appointment, I would have to Metro to work. (Fortunately, Steve and I worked in the same building.) I rescheduled my appointment for that afternoon, then explained to my boss that, in addition to coming in late, I would also have to leave early. “This is Steve’s fault,” I emphasized.
My (new) appointment was at 3:00. I figured that I would be out of there by 4:00, and thought that I might go to Target afterwards.
Instead, at 4:00 I was hooked up to a blood pressure monitor to see if the high reading I’d gotten at the beginning of my appointment would continue. “So, if it doesn’t come down, what should we do about it?” I asked my midwife, imagining that I might be told to rest or to not eat salt.
“It’s called delivery,” she said.
I still didn’t realize that I was likely to be induced until I heard her call the maternity wing to ask if there were any beds available. Only then did I realize that the blood pressure monitoring was not the end of my appointment; it was the beginning of my hospital stay. The next time I went outside, I would have a baby with me.
From there the story takes on a strange inevitability. I was admitted to the hospital and fed a dinner of clear liquids, including broth (gross), Jello (less gross) and Italian ice (melted). Steve met me at the hospital and we watched The Wire on his laptop.
The next morning they wheeled me up from the postpartum floor where I’d spent the night to the labor and delivery floor. “The next time I come back through these doors,” I thought. “My baby will be born.”