We pulled into to Joshua tree mid morning, blue skies and the regular desert wind cutting an otherwise perfectly beautiful day. We walked the flea market, found a couple treasures, had coffee and then met up with Denise and her crew for lunch at Pappy & Harriets. Within in minutes of sitting however, I felt something go wrong. A slight stabbing in the right side of my back that seemed to radiate down my stomach into my lower groin until it finally forced me out of me seat entirely. I walked around the restaurant, tried to shake it off but it only grew worse and more intense as the hour wore on. Finally we decided to leave the group and head even further into the desert where I figured I could rest at a friend's house nearby, there in 29 palms. (A nap or warm bath is always my first thought remedy) Big mistake. By the time we got there I was immersed in a full blown attack, sweatting from the pain that kept growing. An attack which eventually brought on uncontrollable vomiting from the spasms in my back. I grabbed my things and called for Mike and the boys to get in the car. I knew I needed help. I also had a vague idea of just how far away from any "real" help we actually were.
At 23 weeks I knew there was no chance of survival if the baby was in fact coming. It was all I could figure, even though in the back of my head I knew none of my labors had been this violently painful. I was sure that I was having contractions so I started to talk myself through the worst case scenario. Falling in and out of focus because, at one point, the pain felt like it was going to rip me in half during that 30 mile stretch in search of a hospital. Somewhere along the drive it got to be too much, I called 911 for help and had delusional visions of a helicopter landing in the middle of the highway to help rescue me (immediately) from this God forsaken state I was in. Not the case. The operator told us we were better off driving the remainder of the distance ourselves rather than waiting on an ambulance to reach us.
To make a long story short (er) - the first hospital we made it to turned out to be a nightmare in itself. I had to beg for a wheelchair to get to me L & Delivery seeing that I could no longer walk steadily. Then left freezing on an exposed table in that shock of pain while the nurse consistently ignored me and my desperate pleas to please figure out if I was in fact dilating with the now increasingly intense contractions that kept coming. All and all, it came down to three hours of pure agony in that room, with that woman, before being sent homeward with a pain pill and a "you really shouldn't be this far from home" kick out the door. The rest of the ride I don't remember much. We eventually made it to to our local hospital where a fleet of familiar nurses took me in, hovering over me like a bunch of overprotective grandmothers, weilding IVs, heated blankets, socks, medication for the pain, and lots and lots of positive promises aimed at figuring out the source of pain. Once I was assured the baby was fine, and my cervix still closed, I knew I could get through whatever was in store for me the rest of the night. Luckily, with a few tests they were able to determine quite quickly that it was likely the cause of a kidney stone, or possibly even the baby sitting on one kidney too long, causing severe pain and swelling. Either way, all that matters is that it ended well. I spent two days recuperating in that room, gathering strength before moving to my mom's house to rest for the remainder of the week. I slept more in those three days than I have in years. Or so it felt . . .
As of yesterday, I am back at home.
In a clean bed, with a new book, feeling almost like myself again. From here on out I'll be retired to sticking around town. Resting more than I want to and hopefully enjoying the last trimester of this pregnancy by taking it slow. There are plans and trips I had in mind that will have to wait. And the desert, well . . . it will be a long while before that same urge strikes me again. Like anything, it's going to take some time.
Anyway, thanks for listening. I figure we are quick to share all the incredible highlights that pregnancy brings, but tend to shy away from some of the frights it can entail as well. I've known a few with each of my pregnancies, but this one, this one takes the cake.
The beauty of it all is how quickly that pain is forgotten. Once that baby is here that nightmare of a day will seem like only a shadow of itself. Just, like magic.