At 32 weeks of my pregnancy with Monkey, I started going to the hospital weekly. I received non-stress-tests and a sonogram. They wanted to monitor me and the baby because of Gabriel’s death.
At the first sonogram at this time, low levels of amniotic fluid were discovered. Very low. In lay terms, the baby makes the fluid. Low levels indicate a possible problem with the kidneys, the bladder, or, as seemed to be evident in my case, the placenta.
As the perinatologist, Dr. T, explained, if something is wrong with the placenta, things go into conservative mode. The most protected areas of the baby are the heart and the brain; everything else is expendable.
He further explained that Mother Nature was much more interested in my survival than the baby’s. That selfish b*tch. So steps would have to be taken.
I was placed on what I referred to as “modified bed rest”. Twice a day, I lay down for an hour or two. Fortunately at the time I was working at home doing freelance writing and editing jobs, so this didn’t interfere with work. I also had to increase my fluid intake. When I asked my midwives to clarify what this meant, one of them said, “About 8 to 10 ounces of water every 15 minutes.”
That may not sound like a lot of water. But try this: drink four cups of water in an hour. Then another four cups the next hour. All Day Long.
See how you feel.
There were nights that DearDR would come home, and I would be sitting or laying on the couch crying with a glass of water in my hand. I just didn’t want to drink any more that day. Even varying the liquid — seltzer, lemonade, caffiene-free pop — didn’t help all the time.
I did, however, take to the bed rest, which surprised me because up until that point I had active pregnancies. I walked a lot with Gabriel, and to this point with Monkey. But I had just taught myself to knit, so I knitted the baby a blanket. I read out loud to her, all seven of the Chronicles of Narnia. I occasionally napped.
All in all, it was a peaceful time, a time for which I am more grateful now. Once the babies come, that quiet is hard to come by. As many of you, my readers, already know!
Fast forward six weeks. I’ve delivered Monkey under some tough conditions, but here she is.
She looks like her brother.
I am swollen up like a balloon from the intraveneous fluid you get when your labor is induced. I am dressed and ready to go; I cannot stop touching and looking at Monkey. She is wrapped in the blanket I knit for her.
I am ready to get my shoes on and go home. This proves to be challenging because my feet look like feet-shaped water balloons. DearDR manages to shove my shoes on them.
I start crying. He is alarmed (and probably really tired, too; he hasn’t left me and Monkey for an instant). “What is it?” he asks.
“I can’t believe we get to take her home,” I say. “I get to take my baby home this time.”
DearDR hugs me, hugs us both. Then we all go home.