I was back at L&D bright and early Sunday morning. I got my dad to drop me off, and texted the boy to meet me later. Upon my arrival, I didn’t even have to re-process; I showed up and explained why I was there, and the reception nurses were all, “oh, yes… you were here last night, abdominal pains, come right in.”
I was set up on a bed in triage, hooked up to the NST monitors again (netting, dopplers, and movement clicker thingy) and told to hang tight while they located an ultrasound tech.
Even though it was empty, triage is a white-noise cacophony of the whirs and buzzing of various machines. Over the rapid “squooshing” of Aisha’s heartbeat on the fetal monitor, I could hear the primal, pained vocalizations of a lady in the throes of labour down the hall. After about ten minutes of grunts and sceams, there was momentary silence… and then the faint wail of a baby. I smiled, recalling how much I enjoyed hearing that sound during my stay last September.
I was playing a game on my phone when a hand drew back the privacy curtain to reveal a nurse and Dr. Diamond. She re-introduced herself and explained to the nurse that I’d been her patient when she filled in for Dr. Freedman last week, so we were on familiar terms. She told me that once a u/s tech was located, I would have to come back to triage to get my results analyzed. No one was sure at that point what time I was going to be seen, but the lab was open, and it wouldn’t be too long, now…
No sooner had she left and I’d settled back into the bed, the nurse came back with a wheelchair to take me off to diagnostics. I was impressed; I love my hospital, but they’re not always the quickest at getting patients through different checkpoints. I’d been in for less than an hour, and my visit was already half over.
The u/s tech was either Ukrainian or Russian, with a friendly manner and rough touch. She applied her ultrasound wand with pressure, and I gasped a few times as she rolled it over the tender spot on my abdomen, and over my kidneys. (Re-visiting movie fight scenes in my mind, I now understand why a blow to the lower back could cause even the toughest guy to drop like a sack of cement. That part of the body houses the kidneys and they don’t respond well to pressure!)
By the time she was done, I was bruised and covered in cold, sticky ultrasound gel. Even though it’s water-based, I always find it leaves me feeling itchy. Once I cleaned up and had my file in hand, I was wheeled back to L&D, where I waited for my official results.
Around the time the boy showed up, a young, heavily-pregnant Lebanese girl was admitted into triage in the bed next to mine. From what I could glean from her conversation with the nurse, she had no idea that the pain she was experiencing was actually labour. “Why are you so clenched and anxious?” The nurse had asked.
“Because I’m worried about this pain, and my baby,” the girl replied.
“Honey, do you not understand you’re in labour? That it’s supposed to hurt? That that’s how your body prepares to get the baby out?”
The girl’s silence led me to believe that no one had prepped her for What Comes Next. The nurse asked her if she had taken the prenatal classes given by the hospital. “No,” the girl said. The nurse just sighed, and pulled the curtain to exit.
Whenever I’ve been admitted to the hospital, the appearance of my grumpy beloved has always been an instant pick-me up. That morning was no different. I hopped off the bed and was met with kisses and a belly rub. Our canoodling was interrupted by Dr. Diamond’s reappearance.
As it turns out, Dr. Samra’s initial suspcions were right. My gallbladder is being compressed and overworked. “You don’t have gallstones, which is good,” offered Dr. Diamond. “But there is sludge – sticky buildup that’s moving slowly through the gallbladder, and that’s causing the tenderness.”
Her recommendations were: more water (as if I don’t pee enough already), fewer fats and processed foods, as well as an increased intake of lean protein and fibre. If the pain became too much to bear, I could always take a Tylenol. And with that, we were free to go.
As I write, I’m trying to find a word to describe the whole pregnancy experience thus far. I’ve never been more ill, more worried, more uncomfortable, more drugged-up, bunged-up, laid up (fed up – haha, kidding) in such a short space of time, in all my life. I’ve had my fair share of medical emergencies, but jeez, they’ve been nicely spread out over the course of 39 years. To quasi-quote Miley Cyrus: this kid’s coming in like a wrecking ball.
I’ve also never been more excited. About anything. Ever.
Six and a half weeks to go!