It’s been a slow journey back to our new normal over here. Some days are amazing and I’m all, look at me, I am on fire! I feel like I can conquer mount Kilimanjaro, or Trader Joe’s…same dif. But other days, I fail to take off my sloppy sweats and I make toast for dinner. Bon appetit family! And you guys are all, we get it, you just had a baby, can we pull-eeze talk about something else? But, NO! We can’t because it’s all my brain is dialed to. You can be talking with me, and somehow the conversation will always come back to my baby. I have baby brains. I can’t help it.
Oh and here’s a silly thing I find myself doing: I’ll tell complete strangers my birth story. What? Crazy, right? In the parking lot of Bed Bath and Beyond I’m suddenly divulging all the intricacies of Silas’ birth. Complete with hand gestures of gushing vaginal blood. And mid-way through my one-woman, one-act play, I hear myself and I think, Seriously? Please shut up Beckey. But I can’t. The lady I’m talking to is invested, she wants details! Meanwhile I want to quickly run to my car and drive far away.
Then there’s my little trip to the E.R. the other night. I woke up at 3:00 in the morning, well, actually I was already up, because, hello, is this thing on? I don’t really sleep anymore. And I had the most severe leg cramp of my entire existence. It was like the equivalent of a sucker punch and a fiery burn all at the same time. I’ve had leg cramps off and on all during my pregnancy, but this one was different. And way more intense. Ordinarily I would have just gone back to bed, but something told me to call the doctor (and that something was called Google. I made the mistake of looking up “leg cramp after c-section”), so I called the doctor, and she told me to come into the E.R. ::Gulp:: I finished nursing my baby, and left. While driving alone down the freeway at sleepy-time o’clock, I kept imagining all the horrid things that could possibly happen to me. A blood clot is surely traveling around in my veins at this very moment, and it’s hi-tailing it to my heart, or my brain, and then I’m going to die…in this dirty car, wearing unflattering underwear and a scrunchy in my hair.
At the hospital I waited in a curtained room all alone. Just me and my hosiptal gown. And my phone that wouldn’t connect to the internet. So there was really nothing else to do other than take photos of my feet, and listen to the sounds of the hospital at night.
Then they gave me a blanket and a flashlight band-aid:
They told me to sleep; made some half-assed joke about this being my “me-time.” But how could I sleep? There was a guy who I think had overdosed on drugs in the curtained room next to mine. I heard him as he had a cathiter placed. I heard him as he vomited. And I heard him when he voilently snored, even as the nurses clapped in his face and yelled at him to wake up.
This is where I found myself, instead of in my warm bed sandwiched in between my husband and my sleeping baby.
I was in a beeping hospital, waiting for staff to take me to radiology, questioning whether or not I should really be there. I grew more and more anxious as the minutes ticked past. My heart started beating faster when I thought of my baby waking up while I was away. I didn’t have any stored milk, and he didn’t sleep longer than about 2 hours at night. My eyes kept filling with tears when I thought of the sacrifice I was making. And the longer I laid in that hospital bed the more ridiculous I felt. I shouldn’t be here.
Finally my leg was ultra-sounded.
There weren’t any clots.
And I was free to go.
I ran to my car. I sped like a crazy-person, and flew through the front door. I ran upstairs expecting to hear a screaming baby and a frustrated daddy, but instead Silas was dreaming peacefully. He was completely unaware that I had spent the last 3 hours in a hospital, with tears and milk leaking out of my body. The same hospital that saved both of our lives just 4 weeks before. And maybe that’s what drove me to the E.R. that night — the memory of near death, the complications, the anxiety of not being in control, the irrationality of fear. Things don’t make sense when you’re scared.
I used to think I was invincible, but now my body scares me. To me it’s incompetent, and capable of breaking down.
So, sometimes that means that I run to the hospital in the middle of the night because of a leg cramp. Ya, I might be a little crazy, but I’m playing it safe. I’m sure I’ll get better with time, but for now, I think I’ll invest in an ultrasound machine.