Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Short of breath, I huffed my way down the carpeted, hospital hallway. My toes and ankles ached. My husband's flip flops adorned my feet, and the swollen skin on the top of my feet painfully stretched with each step. I felt quite awkward, but the stoic side of me forced a smile to mask my terror.

Charlie snapped my picture. I cringed on the inside. Why in the world of all that is good would I want to remember this day? My body was slowly failing me and my baby. I didn't want to capture the moments of my body's failure. Charlie made small talk with the nurse who was guiding me to my labor and delivery room. He seemed a bit nervous too.

Upon entering the room, the baby made a lumbering slow roll under my rib cage. I thought, "Aha, there you are. I've been waiting for you to move. You had me worried." It had been seven days of kick counts, and time spent on my left side. I was obsessed with the kick counting, and this was the most I had been upright in over a week. Wooziness was washing over me. My blood pressure was 160/110, and I no longer felt the urge to use the bathroom. All of the fluid in my body was slowly leaching out of my blood vessels and into me.

The swelling had reached my brain and was now affecting my vision. Straight lines now appeared wavy, and the light of day was blisteringly painful to my eyes.

Today was the day to be induced. The baby had stopped growing, my blood pressure was rising, and my kidneys were shutting down. The process of bringing my precious cargo into the world was about to commence. Today was the day that I would begin the process of delivering my baby too early. IV lines were placed. Bags of pitocin and magnesium sulfate were hung. I crawled into bed again, and found my left side. A long sigh emerged from within me.

When the mag hit my inside, I immediately felt hot. It was as if someone turned on a blast furnace from the inside. From there, the details all glide together into a commingled yet disjointed experience. The sequence of events eludes me anymore. That, in and of itself, brings immense disappointment within me. This was my first pregnancy. I want to remember what happened, but the disease of severe preeclampsia stole it from me.

The fuzzy memories I have usually center around the pain I was feeling with each pitocin induced contraction or how the wrinkled sheets underneath my body felt as if I was laying on match sticks.

Each year on April 15th, those fuzzy memories contract and contract and contract within me again. I clamor for the relaxing break between the emotional pain, but the contractions keep coming and coming and coming. I take cleansing, slow breaths in hope they will help. The routine of my day and the preparation for my first baby's birth date don't suppress the contracting. Nothing helps except for the end of the day.

Sleep lulls me now. Hopefully, it will be a sleep so deep and sound that I don't dream of those contractions again at least until next year.


Tante said...

Hot poker!
Happy Birthday Gracie!

Childlife said...

I know some of these feelings so well, Jen. Jacqui's birthday was such a mix of emotions. We didn't know if we were heading to the hospital to say hello or goodbye... And I still feel that mix of sadness and joy on each new birthday. Hugs to both of you...

Christie O. said...

Boy I am there right with you, from the puffiness to the blood pressure, to that terrible magnesium and pitocin. I'm so sorry you had to go through that and I'm so sorry that other mommies have to go through this.

This time of year is especially hard for me too, all the pain of it is as fresh as if it were yesterday, (2 years ago, april 12). blessings to you. i know it's hard. she's beautiful, your little miracle.