(I'll include trigger warning here because we are still in a hospital, though the traumatic elements are behind us in this story.)
The maternity ward at the hospital was worlds different than the ICU. Worlds! I could turn the lights off. I could sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I had a real bathroom with a door that shut and locked. With a shower! A shower!
Oh, my goodness!
I have to tell you something.
Never, ever, ever decide that shaving your legs can wait one more day. Because you never know when you might be in intensive care for a week where they don't do bathing. (Ok, they dry wash your hair in a weird hat. And here, you can have some towelettes.) But no showers. Well, you guys, I was like Harry without the Hendersons. Well, you get the picture. I was now, understandably, overjoyed!
The only annoying part, besides the whole I'M IN A HOSPITAL factor, was that every time my heart left sinus rhythm (read: average) they would call the desk and insist that a nurse check on me. I mean, really, this is a good thing. It really is. Responstabiggle and all that sort. But still annoying. At least I stayed in sinus rhythm while sleeping. Always. Yay! Here's a wonderful revelation: I am normal when I sleep! Woo!
Josh and I watched movies, ate together, talked about the future. It was like a series of dates all scrunched together (minus the circumstances.) Good thing, too, because we've had only a handful of those in the past two years!
This was the least worrisome of my hospital experience. I was relaxed. No one was whispering about emergency C-section anymore. The doctors faces were relaxed and relieved. The nurses were doting. (Word gets around. Everyone loves a good hospital drama.) They started using new words that meant signing papers and going home.
The OB and the cardiologist, I was told, were in conference. They both agreed that baby and I were fine enough to go home. As long as my mom was there and I swore to remain on total bedrest. And I would promise to check out a heart monitor at some point to reassure them.
Also, they needed my bed. Motivation, people! Winter babies telepathically communicate to one another that IT IS TIME. Or so I presume. Because if a birth is going on, there several other labors also going on. Well, it's the impression I got from the nurses. Seriously, they had way more time for me when I was in intensive! ;)
On the 11th day of my hospital adventure I began the paperwork. In the morning. So yeah, I was discharged somewhere around early afternoon. I loved the paperwork. So. Much. But it was my ticket out of the joint. The necessary evil to secure my freedom.
We got my things packed up. I put on something other than pajamas. Whoa! I forgot what it was like to feel like a normal human. I was basking in this. But man, something messed up my hormones because I had zero heat tolerance. I went home in the January cold in my shirtsleeves. With the window of the car open. Ah, the snow and the cold air! I used to hate it intensely and now? Now it was breathtakingly beautiful!
The trial was over and from here on out it was a test of patience.
And of humility.
Letting others do things for me.
Cooking, homeschooling, child care, getting a glass of water!
Swallowing my pride each time I swallowed an ugly pill to manage my symptoms.
Because I have learned in my life, experience and research: there are always long-term consequences to taking medication. In this case, my kidneys would be taking the hit. It is regrettable that all drugs come with this baggage, and it will be nice when/if science catches up. But it was necessary and appropriate in these circumstances. Had I begun managing my symptoms sooner through nutrition it might have been avoided altogether; (I will be happy to describe my journey back to health through this method in a later post.) But hindsight is 20/20. And even the best diet and lifestyle can run into snags because we live in a broken world. So I took it, not lightly but with understanding, in preservation of myself and my unborn, and by grace we were both delivered.
(Well, baby doesn't get delivered until the next post. Wink. Wink.)
This ends the hospital saga, though we will revisit those halls of hope and horror when I tell the birth story of my third child. I am amazingly grateful to God and to my family for lifting me up and carrying me through this experience. I just can't stress this enough that it is not something I did with my own strength. I was weak and powerless and fully dependent, physically and emotionally. But maybe this is how it is supposed to be. I can see the headline: Divine Love accomplishes the impossible through grace, faith and good will of many working together to bring about healing and restoration. Ok, that's way too long for a headline! But even so I am humbled and thankful.
Praise the Lord, O my soul!