***THIS IS THE SECOND OF A SERIES OF POSTS WRITTEN EARLIER IN THE WEEK***
I am sleeping. And it's nothing short of glorious. There was a little cheating involved, I suppose since I took an OxyContin, but the end result is a beautiful, restful, smack-your-lips-together sort of sleep; the type that leaves you aching for just a little more, just one more hit from the sandman.
It's not too long after 3am when I wake to shuffle into the bathroom, so I find myself reaching for the narcotics. Just before I pop another chalky white magic pill, I remember my doctor's practical advice to count kicks before rewarding myself with prescription pain-killers. So I grab a couple swigs of water and crawl cautiously into my pillow-top with one hand on my belly. The irritability in my uterus is persistent, so I am not just looking to reap the rewards of the oxy's fatigue-inducing side-effects. I am however, silently congratulating myself on my growing ability to identify the regular and persistent contractions from the usual activity and position-related unrest in my uterus.
I feel one solid kick, shortly before 4am...then nothing.
I poke my belly.
I roll over.
I drink again.
I look at the clock.
I get up.
I go down to the fridge and eat a leftover bratwurst.
I hobble back upstairs and crawl into bed.
I poke again.
I look at the clock.
I drink some more.
I remember to breathe.
I roll again.
I poke some more.
I look at the clock again.
I swallow some tears.
I roll and poke.
I look at the clock.
I text my mother.
I wake my husband.
Very soon, the house is stirring an hour earlier than normal. My husband is showering and I am remembering to breathe as I pull on a hooded jacket and sweatpants. My parents are in town partially due to circumstances and partially due to a previously planned trip to 'borrow' our children for the weekend. Now they are walking through the front door shaking the sleep off and looking concerned. I need help with my boots, partially because I have trouble flexing my hips without pain and partially because I am having trouble remembering to breathe while I do benign tasks.
Soon, we are at the nearest hospital where I delivered my past two early babies. A man in an official security looking jacket greets me at the front door and eyes my belly with a smile. I blink back tears and return his smile, making my way past the Christmas decor of the lobby. The sterile smell of the halls and the elevator brings back vivid memories from my previous deliveries. The air seems somehow electric and I veer my thoughts to a positive, rational place. This is okay. We are okay.
Now I am sitting in a small, familiar room in the Women's Examination Unit across from a nurse in scrubs who breezes me through the intake form and seems used to gathering information from women who are just barely holding themselves together.
In no time, I am strapped to monitors and listening to the steady and very reassuring gallop of my baby's heart. My breath returns to normal, I feel the tension in my shoulders loosen.
Baby doesn't like to preform for an audience and squeezes by his biophysical profile without meeting the 'practice breathing' criteria (though manages to get in a few good hiccups now and then). No problem, says the resident just need a good twenty minutes on the monitor to assure a steady heart rhythm. One episode of a dip in his heart rate earns us another hour and forty minutes held hostage to the monitors.
Now I am feeling bad because the whole ordeal has left my husband late for work, my over-tired parents scrambling to get my son to school, and me feeling less in control than ever of this insane pregnancy.
We discharge sometime after 8am with strict instructions to drink plenty of fluids and watch this kid carefully. I spend the morning acting like I can handle a trip to Target, a couple quick errands, and 20 minutes alone with my 1-year-old, then reside to my bed for most of the afternoon.
My boys strap into their car seats for a long weekend at Gammy and Nonno's house and I watch them leave, experiencing a strong mix of sadness and relief and a nagging sense of foreboding.