Recommended wine for today’s entry: Cupcake chardonnay. This rec comes to us from my friend Laura Swenson, who has discovered quite a few luscious wines in the past, so I trust her judgment. And it’s particularly fitting because I’m going to take cupcakes up to school for my daughter’s lunch table – as a senior in high school, I’m SURE she’ll enjoy this surprise throwback to the elementary school days.
Seventeen L-O-N-G years ago on this date, I was tortured – just short of waterboarded – then cut open with a machete. Yes, I had an amniocentesis and a Caesarian section, all the fun one can have in a single day.
I was forced to undergo this torture because, even unborn, this daughter was trying to kill me. So they wanted to take her a few weeks early. That was just fine with me, as I had been forced to lie down, on my left side (better for blood pressure), for about 10 days. Well, the added heft of pregnancy plus the stable position had rendered my left hip and arm, in turns, tingly, numb and excruciatingly painful.
In short, I was ready to roll over.
At six a.m., starved as instructed, I arrived at the hospital. I could smell my husband’s coffee, then the whole medical staff’s coffee and the big nurse’s Egg McMuffin, the remnants of which sat, shredded, on her desk.
Now, if you’ve ever had an amnio, you should stop reading, because this will inevitably cause your flashbacks to recur and you’ll have to start therapy again for your post-abdominal-trauma-stress syndrome.
They put me in a room and got me all cozy and relaxed. Then my doc came in with a fencing lance. But it was maybe longer and narrower. “This,” he said, wielding his weapon with a menacing grin, “This I will use to gore you in your giant gut.” OK, that’s not what he said, probably, but it’s what I heard.
Then ever-so-carefully, like a magician with a knife, he placed that giant needle through my abdomen, which was bloated like one of those big punching balls with the rubber band handle that we all loved as children. But it didn’t pop, so that was good.
It was, as promised, a bit uncomfortable, even though I think they swabbed some vodka on my stomach at the point of impact. As long as I was still and didn’t do anything to make my muscles constrict, it was OK.
But, because I babble in real life even more than I do in print, I piped up with, “This must be what it feels like to get shot. Although no one in this room has probably ever been shot. I mean, I certainly…”
And my doctor interjected, “That’s funny you say that. I got shot this weekend by my hunting buddy. Shot in the butt.”
OK. What are the chances that my doctor got shot in the butt and on Monday morning, before the sun came up, I started this conversation? Nil, that’s what the chances are. But it’s why I’ve taken a hit on a 20 in Vegas before.
So I laughed. And, in the event you ever have an amnio, I can give you this wise advice: Don’t laugh. Wow. That really hurts.
Anyway, they sent the lung information to the powers-that-be, I guess the fetal lung development specialist; probably the guy who shot my OB/GYN in the butt.
Then, while the tests were being processed, they put me in a labor and delivery room to wait. On my left side. All I could see from my living hell position was: 1) monitors from ALL the other L&D rooms; and 2) up the gown of a screaming and howling woman who one would think was giving birth to the Hindenburg. I closed my eyes.
As it turns out, after about an hour of her screaming and me staring up her gown, they sent the chick home – she wasn’t even in labor.
One of the monitors was going nuts. Fortunately for them, I noticed and alerted the proper medical personnel. “OhmyGod,” I told them dramatically, “can’t you do anything for that lady in 4B – that has to hurt like HELL!” At this, my husband got up, stepped outside, came back in and said, “UM, Ash, that’s you.”
That’s when I commenced to screaming like my friend who was having the dirigible.
But then I calmed down because I couldn’t feel the labor pains (started by the amnio), and because the nurse told me that most people walk around with pains like that for the last month of pregnancy. And ‘cuz I was SO hungry by then I couldn’t scream.
My husband went and got himself McDonalds to eat in the room. I made him sit behind me so at least I didn’t have to watch. But I could smell.
Then they told us that the baby’s lungs were ready and they’d deliver her at about 5:30 that evening. I think this was so that the staff could go to happy hour before they had to deal with me again.
With one last stab at knocking me off before she’d have to meet me, little baby had my innards all askew, so the C-section took FOREVER and I lost all the blood in my body with the exception of an extra supply I keep in my hands and feet for use at cold football games.
They put a giant shunt, which I think was made of popsicle sticks, into my arm for a transfusion, took my husband out into the hall to banter about the NFL or something, then FINALLY put all my organs back in the proper locales – thank goodness for Milton-Bradley and Operation – and then prepared to transport me to recovery.
Except the dolt who had added the last IV had woven the tubes, somehow, through a ladder-back chair like he was making one of those potholders you make every year in Girl Scouts.
While carefully unlacing that, they turned me back onto my left side so that everyone, including my new child, could see my butt.
Finally, disconnected, they got me to recovery. I was very cold, seeing as I had no blood in my body, but I kept asking what time it was. You see, Murphy Brown had just had her own baby and tonight she was starting back to work at FYI. I couldn’t miss THAT!
For dinner, I had an orange popsicle. I assume that’s because they needed to whittle another shunt for an upcoming transfusion. My husband, undoubtedly ate something pungent and delicious.
After an auspicious beginning, we all rebounded nicely. Although for awhile she had a head the size of a Great Dane and legs that belonged to an anorexic dachshund, little baby filled out to normal proportions and ended up just fine.
So happy birthday to my second (and LAST) born!!
In case anyone cares, my scar still hurts whenever the barometric pressure changes.