Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Life :: Feelings Are Just Feelings

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First off, if you're expecting an email or text or phone call from me, I promise it's coming. My to-do list for this week is a million miles long and life has been all about my body and baby lately, which I'm sure will be the trend for awhile now that I'm 32 weeks along. Over the past few months I've seen and called more doctors than I can count on one hand, but besides being a walking science experiment, my pregnancy has been relatively easy and life is starting to come together as we near the end. However, it's been a long road and patience is not my strongest virtue.

Yesterday I had to go to the hospital for a shot (normal procedure for moms-to-be with negative blood types) and spent almost 6 hours at the ER (because everyone knows that anything having to do with an emergency room or urgent care takes forever and isn't remotely treated like an emergency or with urgency). Well, actually, first I went to the ER, and then I was shipped over to Labor and Delivery because I'm in my third trimester, but then the nurses there were like, why are you here because they could have done this over there. I don't know people, I'm just following instructions.

(Sidebar: If I've learned anything from pregnancy it's that there is a major lack of communication in the medical field especially when it comes to nObamacare, and the people who you are supposed to trust with your health rarely know what's going on. The whole system is frighteningly disorganized and if you want anything done you to need to talk to 8 different people and more than likely they will all give you different answers. Super comforting, right? More later though, I'm thinking about making a documentary on this.)

It was an interesting day. After taking my information, they had me go into the triage room, which is a limbo type of area. This is where women are checked to see if they're going into labor and need to stay or if it's a false alarm and they can head back home. I was given a hospital gown to get dressed in, even though women were there with their male partners and they'd all be able to see my ass. I don't care if nurses and doctors see me in the buff (at this point, I'm used to it) but I don't need random dudes to join in on the peep show. The gown was like a sheet with snaps and I had no idea how to put it together, so I asked one of the nurses for help and she was very nice. Actually, everyone there was nice. They may have been confused about a few things, but they were still nice.

I was directed to a hospital bed that was more comfortable than my mattress at home and the curtain was pulled shut. To my left I could hear a newborn screaming like a baby pterodactyl and to my right was a pregnant couple that sounded young enough to be my own kids. After a few minutes, a nurse came in and before I could tell her why I was there she strapped me down with a monitor that showed my baby's heartbeat on a screen. She informed me that I wasn't having any contractions, so that's good. I told her I was just there for the shot, but by the way, I've been feeling really intense pain in the upper right side of my back and the right side of my chest under my ribs and is this normal? She told me it was probably just a pulled muscle and to take some Tylenol.

(For the record, I don't believe her. As of now I've felt like someone is stabbing me in the same spot for the past 5 days. I've been using a heating pad constantly unless I'm like, in the shower. I'm putting this out there so we can all sue if it's something serious. Also, I'm pretty sure that Tylenol pays ER personnel to promote them. A few years ago I went to get my ovaries checked out. After hours of tests, I was told that I had cysts but they were too small for surgery and I should just take Tylenol until they go away. Then I was sent a $700 bill. Thanks, Mr. Doctor, your medical advice was worth every penny.)

The girl to my right was there because at 34 weeks she was already feeling contractions 10 minutes apart. I heard a nurse say she was going to stick a [medical device] up her [female genitalia] to check her cervix. The girl wailed in pain. It was terrifying. Five minutes later, she and her baby daddy were laughing, snapping selfies and playing with the ultrasound machine. But as the youngsters were moving on, I was still stuck on one thought, one feeling, that I constantly have to ignore.

I was so not made for this shit.

I had my blood drawn for the 10th time in 5 months that day, and I got the promised shot-in-butt. Before I got pregnant, though, I was really scared of needles. Actually, "scared" is an understatement. I would shake and cry when I had to get my blood drawn, and I'd lie to my doctor about the shots I'd received. I don't know how I got my ears and nose pierced without fainting, but I digress. Anything having to do with being poked and prodded by doctors or dentists freaked me out. I didn't like the idea of anything being put in me or pulled out. I'm over it now, which is good, since giving birth is probably the biggest procedure that could ever happen to one's body (and something will indeed be pulled out). Of course, when I think about everything that could go wrong, all badassness goes out the window.

When I had any kind of medical appointment when I was little, my mom would get me a treat on our way home. We'd stop at Dairy Queen or grab a bagel from Einstein's. I still do this. It's habit. On my way back from the hospital, I got a McFlurry. After having the baby, I'll need a feast. My mind has always filed "medical stuff" under "something bad that happens to you" instead of "normal part of life" which is what it is. Besides being blessed with good health, I was always terrified of getting hurt. (This was filed between "getting in trouble" and "getting dirty" in the "bad stuff" folder.) My sister, on the other hand, seemed to love getting in trouble and getting dirty, which sometimes resulted in getting hurt, and the poor thing also had more health problems as a wee one. She's completely immune to pain now, and will probably be one of those women who doesn't realize she's in labor until she sits on the toilet to poop and a baby pops out.

Needless to say, I'm jealous. As for me, I'm a feeler. Not just physically, though.

I feel all kinds of things, all the time. Over the years I've learned to tame my feelings. If I didn't, I probably would've killed myself a long time ago. I wish I was joking. Don't worry, I'm good now. But what I'm trying to say is that we can't let our feelings control our lives. You can feel pain, but not let it take over. You can be brave and you can also be scared, at the same time. It's up to you to decide which feeling you want to choose to fill your thoughts and guide your actions. Mind over matter. Worry, for instance, is pointless. It can get in the way of our happiness if we let it. Let's say that I'm worried my baby will have explosive diarrhea seven times a day. I don't think this is possible and I'm actually not worried about it, but this was the least morbid example I could think of. I could either...

1) Worry for my entire pregnancy about how bad my kid's diarrhea will be, and then have to clean it off the walls every day for a year.

2) Enjoy my pregnancy and not worry about my kid's diarrhea, and then have to clean it off the walls every day for a year.

Clearly, the outcome is the same. So, why worry? Will it make your situation better? I don't think it ever does, which is why I choose faith over fear. Feelings are just feelings, and whether or not I feel that I was made to be a mother, I still am one. And even though I won't be knitting my son sweaters or making him fancy meals, I think we'll get along just fine because I'm really good at talking about poop.

And as for the birth, I'll just pretend I'm pushing out a really big one.
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