John and I are pleased to announce the birth of our son David. He was born last Sunday, measuring 22 inches long and weighing 7 pounds, 12 ounces. We are tired, but very much in love with our little guy. Thank you for all your kind wishes and support.
I started thinking about babies when John and I moved to the West Coast three and a half years ago. John wasn’t quite on the same page; he wanted some time to establish himself at his new company. He wanted some time to settle into our new life.
About two and a half years ago, we had a bit of a scare that left me thinking—briefly—that I might be pregnant. When I learned that I wasn’t, I was disappointed. I said as much to John, but once again, he wanted to wait. He wanted to make sure his company was stable and his future there secure.
To be honest, his reluctance to start a family pissed me off. It made me feel as though what I wanted was less important than what he wanted for his career.
So I got passive-aggressive.
In late 2008/early 2009, my husband spent a total of 16 days in a mental hospital due to a psychotic break. I recently came home after spending nearly five days in the hospital due to an emergency appendectomy during pregnancy. I feel compelled to share a few keys differences between our experiences.
- During my hospitalization, John was allowed to stay with me 24/7. The regular hospital makes it easy for family members to provide comfort and support to sick loved ones. Not only was John permitted to hang out with me all day, but my room even had a pull-out chair that transformed into a cot so that he could sleep over at night.When John was in the mental hospital, visiting hours were very restricted. I could only see him for 90 minutes a day, usually between 7:00 and 8:30 pm, or 1:00 to 2:30 pm on the weekends. I wasn’t allowed to join him in his room or even walk onto the ward’s floor. Instead, I was confined to the visiting room.
Although the limited access was almost certainly a safety precaution, that knowledge was cold comfort on the day John left the visiting room weeping and I couldn’t follow him to reassure him that everything would be okay. When someone is as confused and disoriented as John was when he first entered the hospital, having a loving spouse present would go a long way toward keeping him/her calm.
Last Sunday night at 11:00 pm, I woke up with a bad stomachache. I’d been having minor stomach pains at night for a few days prior to Sunday, but I wrote them off as some kind of normal, pregnancy-related thing.
Anyway, I got up that night and sat on the living room couch for an hour or so, to see if being upright would help the pain go away. It didn’t, so I woke up John around midnight and told him what was going on.
He phoned the on-call OB, who told us to go to the hospital to have everything checked out “just in case.” Before we left, I threw up.
On the labor and delivery floor, I got hooked up to two monitors: one to measure the baby’s heartbeat, and one to see if I was having contractions. Everything looked normal, and the nurse suggested it was probably just a case of food poisoning. Before she took us down the ER, I vomited again.
As soon as we got into the ER, they slapped a blood pressure cuff on my arm. My blood pressure was 70/35, and all of a sudden, there was a whirlwind of activity around us. People hoisting me onto a gurney, drawing blood, inserting an IV drip into the crook of my elbow. I threw up again, and then again.
My sweet husband is going to make an awesome dad!
*We play cards a lot. Lately I’ve been losing. I blame it on baby brain.
For eleven years now, I’ve recognized the benefits of taking things one day at a time, not dwelling on the past or getting lost in dreams/nightmares about the future. This was a particularly helpful practice when John was in the hospital, “floridly psychotic,”* but before anyone could give us any indication of the cause.
At that time in my life, I had to be exceedingly mindful of staying in the present, because it was easy—it was ridiculously easy—to let my thoughts wander back to the two days leading up to his hospitalization and berate myself for not catching the fact that something was amiss sooner. He’d been saying strange things all weekend, but I’d just chalked it up to stress.
It was also easy to get caught up in worry about what might be coming down the pike. Would the medications work? Would he get better? Would he be paranoid and delusional for the rest of his life?
One morning, maybe the second or third morning he was in the hospital, I got out of the shower and started to sob in the bathroom. There was a strong possibility my husband had schizophrenia, and I was terrified.
A couple days ago, I ended a post with a story about how drowning victims sometimes fight their rescuers until they need to be knocked unconscious and plucked from danger.
Well, this is me, trying not to drown.
John and I went to see our baby for the 20-week anatomy scan on Wednesday. Everything looked great—baby is healthy and growing right on schedule. That night, though, I saw blood.
It was actually the second time I’d started bleeding. The first was about a month ago, after John and I went hiking in Palm Springs. That time, the doctor chalked it up to dehydration. On Wednesday, however, I was simply doing my desk job. No lifting heavy boxes, walking long distances, or forgetting to quench my thirst.
When we talked to the doctor about it on Thursday morning, he said it was my body’s way of saying, “Slow down.”