May 8, 2015:
Fluttering sparrows flitted overhead, darting around the vivid umbrellas as if dancing to the lively mariachi music. I pushed my plate toward the center of the table, hoping to avoid having my shirt meet the last bits of enchilada sauce, lettuce, and sour cream. Settling back against the wrought-iron chair, I widened my gaze to the perfect blue sky. Almost summer. Almost like I didn't teach today. Almost pure peace.
"Ummmm..." Heat coursed through my body as I tried to find the words to tell Husband that...
His eyes locked onto mine, widened, and I knew I didn't have to bother with the words, but they tumbled out anyway. "Um, I think my water broke... I mean, maybe I'll go to the bathroom and check, but I..." As I scooted back my chair to let my beach ball belly up, I happened to look down at the ground.
Blood. Blood was everywhere. There was a puddle of blood under my chair. On the patio. At El Vaquero. And when I'd stood up, more had gushed out. I sat back down. Then stood back up. We should go!
Nope, because more gushing, more blood. Back down again, because clearly standing up was making it worse. "Okay, so, um...!!!" What do we do?! I can't get to the car if I can't stand up without gushing blood everywhere! Blood is bad! Is something wrong with the baby?!
For a few seconds-hours-years, we just sat there, clutching each other's hands. Our minds racing, but our bodies paralyzed, trying not to ruin everyone else's dinners on that gorgeous Friday night.
Finally, my mom's secretaries (who we'd said hi to earlier, as they'd sat a few tables away from us by chance) somehow noticed our quiet distress. "Are you guys ok?" one said with a motherly smile, just as Husband began dialing 911.
"No, um, I... there's blood everywhere..." My face burned as I pointed to the concrete below my chair.
"Oh, it's okay!" She pulled up a chair beside me and the other two ladies came over to Husband. "I used to work in an OB office, and sometimes a blood vessel breaks. You're just having the baby today, that's all." She patted my arm. JUST HAVING THE BABY?! She's not due for another three weeks!!!
"Have you called your mom?"
"Um, no, he's calling 911..." I gestured helplessly at Husband.
"It's ok, we'll sit with you until the ambulance comes, then." One of her friends began calling my mom, and Husband and I started to breathe again. Before we knew it, the comforting sight of a yellow box with sirens pulled up, and the panic surging through me shifted to a surreal haze.
"Here, you're ok, you can walk to the ambulance," the paramedic gestured toward the patio gate. Walk through all those tables of people? With blood all over my pants?!
Obediently mortified, I nodded and shuffled behind him, at first trying to pull my shirt low to cover the blood and then yanking it up again as I realized I didn't want to get blood on it!
"We'll get your bill! Here, give us your keys and we'll drive your car to the hospital!" Thank goodness for my mom's secretaries!
"Congratulations!!!" grinned the waiter who held open the patio gate. I winced. OMG, soooooo sorry you have to clean that up...
|"Hey, let's take a picture and put it on Facebook!"|
"Wow, you're so healthy! I never would have guessed you were 31!" The medic chuckled as he handed my ID back. Healthy? Is that his polite way of saying that I look like I'm twelve?
Hooked up to monitors, with qualified medical professionals and on the way to the hospital, I started to settle in and enjoy what a ridiculous story this would make someday. "Can you imagine what all those people back at the restaurant are saying?!" I giggled at Husband. "And those poor workers who have to clean that up?! We'll never be able to eat there again!!!"
"This is so weird! Now WE're the people in the ambulance!" Gazing out the window at the cars we were passing, watching backwards as roads I'd driven all my life became unfamiliar, I felt like I was standing outside myself. "I've never been in one before, have you?"
All at once, the whirlwind of highways was over and we were pulling up to the homelike roads of campus. Oh yikes. This is really happening. We're going to have the baby.
My adrenaline began pumping again as they lowered the cot down the ramp under the imposing shadow of the medical center. I turned my head and... There. Was. My. Mom. Flailing across the parking lot with that silly, limp-limbed run of hers. How did she beat us here, when she was 10 minutes farther from the hospital than we were? How did she know where the ambulances would pull up? She's so crazy!!!
My silly, funny mom. Breathlessly running up to our little crew, squeezing her way right in between the medics and blabbering on with a thousand questions as we wove our way up the back hallways of the hospital, completely ignoring my pleas that I don't think you can just walk up the back entrances with the paramedics. Of course she beat us here. Of course she found the right place to go. She's hysterical!
But as funny as it all was, my anxiety was kicking in. I needed more calm, not more excitement. Husband finally shooed my mom into the waiting room and we settled into the little prep room for hours of checks, monitoring, trips to the bathroom and waiting. ("What had you eaten?" the doctor asked as we told the story. "If it was something small, we might not have to wait the whole 8 hours." "Ummm, I ate a whole dinner of enchiladas...")
"Are you having any contractions?" I shook my head uncertainly as the nurse hooked up the monitor to my belly. "Oh, look, that was one!" she exclaimed as a tiny cramp scampered across my belly. Sweet, I can barely even feel them! She may be dramatic, but she's easy too!
Husband and I wound down our flurries of texts to friends, and having done the math, I curled up to take a nap. With a C-section coming at 2:30 a.m., I'd better sleep while I can!