Sunday, February 11, 2007

Madam Dignity

Ok, here's what happened...

By the time last weekend rolled around, I had been feeling a bit itchy for a few days. I chalked it up to general pregnancy discomfort, water retention, etc., resigned myself to my fate, and scratched.

And scratched. And scratched. And scratched and scratched and scratched. At some point, Ty turned to me and said, "Maybe you should check the pregnancy book. This itching can't be normal," which, of course, is Nice Husband-speak for "Please stop covering me with your shed skin cells, as it is simultaneously disgusting and unnerving."

I got out the pregnancy book, turned to the index, and looked up "itching." I located the page--right smack in the middle of the section on Serious Pregnancy Complications. The advice was essentially, "if you feel itchy, call your doctor immediately." It turns out that itching can be a sign of liver complications.

Naturally, it was a weekend: I called my doctor's answering service for the first time. He called me back promptly, and told me to go to the hospital to have the babies checked out and to have some tests run.

As Ty and I prepared to go to the hospital, it occurred to us simultaneously that I might not come back for a long time. So, I grabbed my partially-packed suitcase that I'd planned to take with me when I went into labor.

Pregnant women out there: if ever you have such an instinct, I suggest you heed it. If you are pregnant with twins, I also suggest that you fill out a little card and tape it to your forehead. On it, write the answers to the following questions, because you meet approximately 24 people per day in a hospital, and every single one of them will ask you: 1) Identical or fraternal? 2) Was this through IVF? 3) Are they boys or girls? 4) Do they run in your family? and 5) Do you have any names picked out yet? I also recommend making up fake names for your answer to #5, or simply saying "No," because 90% of the time the person doing the asking will only throw cold water on your chosen names and upset you. If you make up fake names, make them really ridiculous, because your only hope of getting some peace is stunning your questioner into silence.

At the hospital, the itching played second fiddle when they discovered that I was having contractions and was dilated. They admitted me; I had to stay for three days.

I was coping okay with the giant plastic IV embedded in my wrist for 36 hours, the two enormous shots (one in each buttcheek), the looming prospect of emergency surgery, the complete and total lack of privacy, the monitoring of the outrageous quantities of urine coming out of my body every 20-30 minutes 24/7 (YOU try peeing for three), and the one-volume television, but what really sent me over the edge was the hospital beef stew.

Well, that, and learning that the babies have pushed my liver to a location that is essentially underneath my breast. The ultrasound technician who pointed this out to me also asked me, upon learning that I was having twins, whether I planned a "normal" delivery. One would think that a medical professional would be a bit more sensitive to terminology--as far as I know, there are essentially two ways to deliver a baby, and both of them are pretty common and therefore "normal." Had I been in a better mood, I would have responded, "Well, maybe the first one, but the second one I plan to shoot out of my left eye socket and into a basket across the room." Instead, I conjured up my last few CC's of cheer and responded, "We'll see." Repeatedly jamming the ultrasound wand against my breast and insisting that I breathe through my nose (virtually impossible these days) must not have fulfilled her sadism quotient for the day, because she responded, "Oh, you'll probably have to have a C-section," before she abandoned me on a stretcher in the hallway to wait for someone to take me back upstairs. I used the twenty-or-thirty-minute wait to will her five consecutive patients with simultaneous halitosis, B.O., and nasty, infectious rashes.

I was finally discharged, with the official diagnosis of uterine irritability. My uterus apparently takes after my personality.

After being discharged, I went for followup with my doctor, who comforted me greatly. He also told me to buy a maternity-support belt and sent me to a medical-supply store that apparently only hires hot young guys to work there, yet sells belts that, for example, hold fallen balls in place, or products that bear names like "Sir Dignity."

After buying the maternity belt, I went for another follow-up ultrasound. I was pulling my pants up when a woman in a white lab coat knocked at the door and immediately entered. She wasn't the woman who had performed my ultrasound, and apologized profusely for walking in on me while I was dressing.

"It's ok," I replied. "I have no shame."

She smiled. "Then this must be your second."

"Yes," I said. "I'm having twins. It's my first and my second all rolled into one."

12 Comments:

Blogger SUEB0B said...

Some medical professionals seem to lose sight that they are dealing with humans and start to see everyone as widgets.

I hope you have a normal rest of your pregnancy and delivery. Whatever that means.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Damn! I knew it - I was even imagining you in the hospital and I wanted to call, but how would that have sounded if you weren't in the hospital?

"Hi Arabella, it's Mignon. Are you all right?"
"Yeah, well, no actually. I'm a tiny person with two enormous people playing Marco Polo in my-"
"No, no, I mean are you in the hospital?"
"What?"
"I think you should be in the hospital..."
"WHAT??"
"Uh... I was imagining you in the hospital..."
"WHAAAAAAT?????"
"Um, sorry. I must have the wrong number..."

So, I'm glad it was just your rearranged pisser and angry girly parts. Those naughty boys are racking up the Time Outs before they're even breathing.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I'm glad you're going allright. And honestly, I am amazed you have gone this close to term. You're at 34 weeks, right? That is so awesome, Arabella. I can't imagine how difficult and uncomfortable it is. I think you're doing great.

11:20 AM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

Mother, thy name is sacrifice! And this is only the beginning. Even outside of the womb, I know that kids can get your liver out of joint. Or maybe that's just the drinking I was doing to drown out the noise.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Liberty Belle said...

Oh, the things I have to look forward to...I just found out last week we're having twins, too!

Glad you're doing okay. Hope everything goes well for the next few weeks (and beyond)!

1:56 PM  
Blogger mamatulip said...

Hoo boy, things are gettin' started, aren't they? Hang in there, girl, and I hope those babies stay put for a few more days.

xo

7:42 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

And so it begins....take care. Glad to hear you are ALL alright!

Oh! There went my liver. Got to go and get a glass of wine. Especially after that story.

Asshole medical people. Just because they see crap everyday doesn't mean we do.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

My gosh. What a pain.

Next time you have to go to the hospital, I hope you come home with two lovely babies and a liver in the proper location.

12:17 AM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

I loved the image of you shooting a baby out of your eye and into a basket.

I hope Mother Nature comes in the night, sprinkles you with pixie dust, waves a magic wand, and you wake up with Ty to two perfect babies wrapped in flannel blankets sleeping on their custom mattress.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Is it really 34 weeks already? Holy cow Arabella, that is fantastic! Go you! Sorry about the itching, the liver, and the peeing for three (I can't even imagine!), but it won't be long now! I'm excited for you, can you tell??

1:51 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

Girl, I was finding it hard to breathe just reading your post. I'm so glad you and the babies are OK! I'm sorry you had a scare.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

Mignon and Wordgirl, if you keep making me laugh, I'm going to go into labor....

Thanks, everyone, for your good wishes!

And, Liberty Belle, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Honestly, in spite of everything, the twin pregnancy has gone significantly better than I expected. Please feel free to email me with any questions!

4:01 PM  

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