“We waited so long for this appointment, and now he suggested I admit myself to the hospital at 23 weeks to be monitored for the rest of the pregnancy. That’s Saturday… that’s two days away… TWO DAYS AWAY.”
It was the 25th at last. Since the perinatologist referral on the 10th, we’d held steady, living our normal and waiting on the appointment that’d been made for us. So long as things stuck to our status quo, we were told all we could do was wait. In that time, “our status quo” meant being content to add 11 more days of blood loss to the count, because blood loss was nothing new.
At 8:00am on the 25th of May, we made our first drive to the Grand Rapids Medical Mile. We navigated parking ramps named by numbers, elevators named by colors, hallways named by letters and the many offices packed into various buildings named by donors. We sat anxiously in the waiting room, hopeful not for a great outcome, but even just for some answers. I remember looking at the other couple in the waiting room and realizing I was in a place solely for people with botched pregnancies. How could I belong here?
They called my name, an unwelcomed welcome to the club.
We followed the ultrasound tech back to the first of two rooms we’d visit. I sat on the table. She dimmed the lights. Our fourth ultrasound commenced. Again, the tech silently and impassively made note of the many abnormalities our untrained eyes couldn’t see, while we breathed sighs of relief because at least our baby girl was still alive.
I can’t say whether the ultrasound lasted longer than usual or whether my mind was playing tricks with time, but it felt as if we might be sitting one room away from some real answers and the tech wanted to confirm what she was seeing 30 times over. Alas, she escorted us to room number two.
Shortly after, Dr. C entered and the three of us, Dr. C, my husband and myself entered a scene of movie quality. He sat across the table from us, drawing diagrams, explaining potential outcomes, giving best and worst case scenarios and, ultimately, delivering the reality check of a suggestion that I admit myself to the hospital at 23 weeks to be monitored for whatever would be left of my pregnancy. We’d reach the 23 week mark in two days, the day of my best friend’s wedding of which I was the maid of honor, our second day on the other side of the state to celebrate said wedding.
I had to hold myself back from the part of me that genuinely wanted to say, “No, you’re mistaken. You see, I still have 17 more weeks to be pregnant. What would I do with myself if I spent that entire time in the hospital?” And truth be told, that part of me did still exist. Every step of the way, each doctor had told us there was a chance things could still return to normal. Admitting myself to the hospital in two days for an undetermined amount of time doesn’t sound like the route of someone who’s planning for normal.
Why hadn’t any doctor told us we might be facing a long term hospital stay when Dr. C offered the suggestion like I didn’t have any plans for the summer of 2017? I’d already borrowed the stool I was going to sit on during the wedding ceremony on Saturday. I’d booked our vacation just three and a half weeks ago so I could get out of the house for once and sit somewhere else.
Things had been so crappily steady, but Dr. C knew how much worse they could get. Half of our time with him that day revolved around the discussion of whether I go to my best friend’s wedding on Saturday or admit myself to the hospital. Two pieces of his wisdom stuck with me.
1 – He said, “The difference is, I’ve seen how these things can go. You don’t know any better to be more scared than you are.”
2 – I asked him what he would do if I were his wife and, without hesitation, he answered, “I would bring you to the hospital at 23 weeks.”
Still, my husband and I took the suggestion as a shock. I couldn’t fathom not only skipping my best friend’s wedding, but choosing to spend my summer as a patient in a hospital for an undetermined amount of time. We reasoned more with ourselves than with Dr. C that we would go to the wedding, come back on Monday, and get a second opinion on Tuesday at my next scheduled doctor’s appointment.
Dr. C walked us to the checkout. Having left the decision up to us, I could sense he wanted to tell us what to do, and I wanted him to tell us too, but I was 99% certain I didn’t want to hear what he had to say, leaving 1% left for denial. He finished our conversation with this question:
“What color is the bridesmaid dress?”
Somehow, in that question, I knew he was telling me the wedding was a bad idea. He wasn’t directly telling me not to go, and my decision hadn’t changed, but his words would bounce around in my head for the next 24 hours.
Yellow. The dress is yellow. I hate yellow. Does any bridesmaid ever love their dress? By asking the color of the dress, Dr. C reminded me this: your role as a bridesmaid is subject to one day. Your role as a best friend is not. On that one day, you wear whatever the bride tells you to wear, do whatever the bride tells you to do, and all that lives on for you, as a bridesmaid, are the pictures of you in the dress you didn’t like.
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 22 weeks 5 days
Days of blood: 29
Days of bedrest: 50
Doctor’s Appointments: 8
P.S. Again, I will warn you, the posts are about to pick up. June and July were big months for us. I’ve tried to limit myself to two posts per week, but I also want to make sure each important day is covered.