I arrived at the hospital later that afternoon, to discover what toilet privileges meant- I was to remain in my bed all day except when I needed to go to the toilet. Oh and I would be sharing my pokey tiny window room with someone. Great I thought I hope they are not a psycho. However the current occupant was leaving and tonight I would be on my own.
Daniel and I perched on my bed with the curtains awkwardly around us trying not to listen to the couple next to us, trying to talk very quietly (if you have met Daniel you know how hard this is) Hours passed (as is usual in Hospitals) and we found ourselves silently giving the couple had gestures to get moving and giggling like shell shocked teenagers. Finally they left. It was now late; I was in my room on my own.
When you enter hospital long term there is no induction of the rules -what to expect of your day/night, how you are supposed to behave, what your rights are, how long can your partner stay with you? I found that night I could hardly sleep lost in a strange wasteland of sickness, concrete walls, babies screaming all night, nurses shining torches in your eyes right when you had just finally gotten to sleep, strange smells, a weird plastic mattress, plastic pillows and by morning I just wanted a long hot shower. Which would require me getting out of bed and crouching over my suitcase to retrieve items- was I even allowed to do this? What was my place in this hospital? Who was in control here? I felt very scared all of a sudden at the looming three months, I missed my dog, I missed Daniel, I missed my bed linen and I just wanted a nice hot cup of tea and to understand my place in this world again. By the time the day nurse started her shift she came into my room to find me half naked sobbing hysterically crouching over my suitcase. I needed a hug. She didn’t give me a hug. She directed me back to bed and told me it would be ok; lots of women are admitted long term. She mentioned perhaps it was better for my mental state to be closer to that tiny window. She ok’d my shower-but in a plastic chair.
Ah my plastic chair showers. I lived for those. Sometimes I would sit there for over an hour with the beautiful water just gushing over me. I would close my eyes and imagine I was behind a waterfall in the jungle somewhere. Then I would open my eyes and see the grey walls mocking me- you are in a public hospital sweetheart calm down. LOL. That day I quickly realised I would be needing some creature comforts such as my pillow, a soft blanket, a glass for water, my teapot some china and tea. And FOOD. I needed my own food. Considering how sick I was this pregnancy and how fussy I am, I was not going to get through the next three months on hospital food. Just the rattle of the food trolley coming was enough to start the seasickness and once that smell wafted by well you get the picture… Suddenly becoming along term patient it dawned on me how many other people must be here long term, how depressing these walls were, how awful the food and the plastic you are supposed to eat and drink off is. When you are sick, when you are desperate, when you are scared, mental health is so important. How uplifting would it be to have the walls painted some beautiful soft colours, to have proper china to eat and drink off, big windows with lots of natural light and simple nourishing food? Anyway I’m certain there is some occupational hazard /cost reason for the way things are.
The next day a nurse came in to inform me that I would be getting a roomie. RIGHT. Can you please move me over to the window? They were very hesitant about it (cleaning reasons) but I was pushy so they did. My obstetrician had promised me my own room because of how long term I was, so it really was the least they could do!! My roommate entered with her family and my heart immediately broke for her because she had a toddler. Here I was crying and complaining and she already had a baby at home, how awfully hard for her family!! Oh and she wasn’t a psycho. In fact having a roomie was the best. When we didn’t have visitors we would bitch and gossip about the mean nurses (such fun) and because she was allowed to walk around the ward she would tell me what other people were around. We religiously watched the bachelor and bitched about that (of course) and we talked about our pregnancy fears. I mean the doctors would pull the curtain across for “privacy” but we heard everything anyway, so once they left we would discuss it. We actually got along so well and were so comfortable with each other that the nurses stoped pulling the curtain when doing obs, or looking for the babies heartbeat. It was also the reason that neither of us was going to get a private room. But I think I would have gone crazy on my own so I honestly didn’t mind. The only part that made my heart ache was being told the private rooms had huge windows/ balconies that opened up!! Fresh air. God how I missed fresh air and sunshine.
We are now about four days in and a routine scan was booked in. I was actually excited. The PSA who was wheeling me down in my wheelchair was excited. She told me she would take me the scenic route!! Yipee!! The scan took hours as I now came to expect. It was incredibly painful. They couldn’t work out my cervical length. Specialist after specialist started piling into the tiny room. Here we go again. Any excitment I felt dissolved, I felt sick and the room had suddenly become fifty degrees. A bed was called down for me. My obstetrician was called. My cervix had shortened so much they could not measure it. I wasn’t even twenty-two weeks. I was beyond heart broken. My bed was put on an angle- head down feet up. I would not be leaving my bed until delivery. My upside down stage had very suddenly started.
Going stir crazy on bed rest, and modeling my gorgeous compression stockings on a walk back from the toilet. Its all very glamorous daaaaaarlings!!