Any one out there remember Ray Bradburyâ€™s 1954 short story? The story is about a class of school children on Venus. It constantly rains there due to the planetâ€™s thick atmosphere. The sun is only visible for two hours every seven years on the planet.
That is what life is like on hospital lockdown. (Granted, the Bay Areaâ€™s fifth â€œfinal storm of the seasonâ€ didnâ€™t help this analogy.)
Naturally, last weekend was gorgeous â€“ perfect 75 degree spring days. I could kind of see the light outside my hospital window. Mostly it was just bored friends and family sauntering around a mini-garden the hospital developed on the third floor.
On day five in the sterile ward (albeit stable with a bluish/purple wallpaper border to make the rooms seem â€œhomeyâ€), my husband convinced our nurse that the little mental stability I had remaining was in danger. Several minutes later the nurse returned to my room with a wheelchair for what my chart now reads as â€œprescribed sunshine therapyâ€ (I am not making this up).
For ten wonderful minutes I sat outside in direct sunlight. But then we had to roll back into the ward so my medications wouldnâ€™t be delayed. I can only imagine the roller-coaster of exhilaration to desolation those children on Venus felt during their two hours.
This entire pregnancy became an intense whirlwind during my seven-day stay.
- I received a tour of Kaiserâ€™s Labor and Delivery unit. This includes Observation Room A; L&D rooms 5, 10 and 11; Mom/Baby rooms 39 (twice) and 17; and OR 2. (Most people donâ€™t get to see these rooms until baby birthdays.)
- I learned how to deal with uncomfortable questions that I assume meant well. When we arrived in the Mom/Baby unit the first time the nurse worriedly questioned, â€œWhereâ€™s the baby?â€ (As though weâ€™d forgotten him in another room . . .)
- I took a glucose test for gestational diabetes. I made it an entire hour and five minutes before launching myself toward the restroom. My body did not take well to the sugar syrup â€œbeverage.â€
- I learned what a babyâ€™s kick and a contraction felt like for the first time.
- I received a training period of what itâ€™s like to get no more than two hours of sleep at a time.
- I fully realized how much it means to me to be a mommy.
All pregnancy in a week.