Being pregnant was hard for me. I had some health issues, like high blood pressure, plus the weight I was gaining, and I developed something that the doctors thought was sciatica. Basically, you were sitting yourself right on top of a nerve that runs down my leg. If I stayed in one place too long, the nerve would fire. Several times it dropped me to the ground. A couple times I cried.
Once, when I was getting out of bed, I collapsed straight to the ground and couldn’t get up. I crawled down the hall to where GoodMan could finally hear me crying for him. We called the hospital, and they made some suggestions, but I felt like my body was betraying me, like it wouldn’t stay together long enough to make you born, make you alive. I started to have nightmares.
One morning, when I was about seven and a half months pregnant, as your father and I were leaving for work, I fell down the stairs from the house into the garage.
It’s funny now, a pregnant lady on her back, feet in the air, heading down the stairs headfirst to smack into the concrete.
Not so fun at the time.
I had to go to the hospital because I started having contractions. At seven and a half months, you would have been very premature, but your chances of living would have been tolerable. I was so scared. My head and my back hurt from the fall, and your dad was freaking out, and we had a two hour drive to the hospital.
By the time we got there, I was kind of in a panic.
The doctors checked me out, reassured me somewhat, and hooked me up to an IV, through which they delivered some Tributalin to stop the contractions. They hooked me up to a machine that measured the contractions and spit out a piece of paper with a line on it that showed how hard they were. It looked like a measurement of an earthquake. It felt like an earthquake.
Finally, finally, the pains subsided. I stayed in the hospital a total of five hours. The doctors then advised me not to fall down any more stairs, and to get some rest.
I headed home. I slept.
Over the next several weeks, I panicked a little. I was half-convinced that I was going to lose you, that I wasn’t a fit vessel to carry a baby, that I was going to do something to mess it up.
About the middle of October, I was put on bed rest by my doctor. I had edema so bad that a thumb pressed into my ankle, when removed would leave a visible imprint. I was retaining water like, well, a mother, and my blood pressure was through the roof. So I went on maternity leave early and stayed home until the morning of November 10.
That morning I woke up about 4:00 AM with a dull ache in my back. For women who haven’t experienced a contraction before, it feels like a particularly bad but passing cramp. For men: it feels like someone is grabbing the base of your spine and squeezing, then relaxing. And sometimes viciously yanking it right the fuck out of your body.
It took me about an hour to determine what it was.
When GoodMan woke up, I had my bag packed and I was sitting on the edge of the bed. He looked at me questioningly.
“It’s going to happen. Today.” I said.
Next: chapter twenty.