As I walked across the parking lot, I noticed that there was still salt in the cracks of the asphalt. It had been there since spring when the snow finally melted. A misty wind hit my face, and I squinted to spot my minivan in the lot. October was here, and I was on my way to my annual exam with my OBGYN, Dr. C. As I hopped into the drivers seat, the rain began to pour down.
I switched on my wipers, and turned on my headlights. The sky was a slate color and fog was coming in waves in front of me. I made the drive with ease down the highway, though.
My van glided off the exit ramp, and I made the turns to arrive at Dr. C's office.
As I turned left into the drive way of the office building, I began to have flashbacks of being there before. I wasn't prepared for it. I wasn't ready to "relive" it in my mind today. A lump formed in my throat, and I stuffed down the urge to cry. I know I'm supposed to be over this by now, but it just isn't going away. I really don't think it ever will.
I scolded myself saying, "No Jen! Not now!"
Every year with my annual exam, I face the past. It is an internal struggle for me. I was supposed to go for my visit in June. They had already sent me 2 reminders, but I just couldn't bring myself to make the appointment until last week. What finally made me call was the story of a woman who died of cancer. That finally clicked with me, and upon calling, they fit me in since I was overdue. (Upon rereading this, I laughed at the prospect of saying I was overdue, that never applied to me when I was pregnant.)
As I left my van, I clutched my umbrella and a white piece of paper I wanted to share with Dr. C. I walked quickly through the parking lot, and rain water was rushing past my feet down an incline toward a drain.
As I opened the door, I inhaled deeply to prepare myself for seeing pregnant women in the waiting room. I noticed a sign that said bone density screenings were on the second floor. Fortunately, this was enough of a distraction for me. My mind wandered considering just what exactly a bone density test entailed. I found myself at the desk, and checked in.
As I turned around to sit down for the wait, I noticed a woman who appeared to be close to 9 months pregnant. Her face seemed puffy, and I noticed her ankles were swollen. I wondered if preeclampsia was in her destiny. She was quickly called back to her exam room, and this was a relief for me. I hate feeling jealous of pregnant women at the same time I'm scared to death for them. To me, pregnancy is an illness and with it comes horrible consequences. It isn't a time for joy and anticipation.
It starts with unbelievable nausea and vomitting, which lasts until to the mid-way point. Then, the headaches start. Shiny silvery flashing lights appear in my vision, and then the "fireballs" appear before my eyes. The incredible swelling comes, which results in stretching, painful skin. My central nervous system gets irritated, and every thing results in insults to my senses. Eventually, my blood pressure creeps up to scary levels, and then my kidneys start to malfunction. The baby stops moving around in a scary silent kind of way, and I start to obsess about counting kicks or movements. I poke and prod my belly to make sure baby is alive in there. I stuff down the fears and focus on the kicks. I'm so swollen that my teeth are tight inside my mouth, and it irritates me that I can feel my pulse in my gums surrounding my molars.
All of this is flashing through my brain. All because I'm facing my past. Twice I suffered from severe preeclampsia. Twice I had premature children. Twice it didn't go well for me. Twice I felt like a failure. Twice I prayed every moment my child was fighting in the isolette. Twice I cursed me and my failure of a body.
There I was in the waiting room hoping like hell that my name would be called soon. I just wanted to get out of there. I wanted it over. Reliving it again was too much for me.
To distract myself, I looked around the room to check the door where the nurse would appear to call me back to my exam room. There she was. It was Erin. I hadn't seen her in a few years.
I thought, "Not you too."
Erin was about seven months pregnant, too.
"Jen, come on back."