As the three of us made our way through a pumpkin patch, myself, my husband Jorge, and our 3 year old daughter Natalie, Natalie continued to hand me pumpkin after pumpkin and I can still hear myself say, “Laura drop it, Dr. Biordi said don’t pick up anything” so I would drop it as she’d turn away.
Upon entering the patch October 19th, it was a glorious autumn late morning, a perfect day to pick pumpkins, and buy some seasonal treats. I visited the ladies room twice just as we had entered the patch and again just prior to getting onto the first hayride, and remember thinking, “This is an awful lot of urine for the amount of water I drank?” Then on the way out of the patch, I stopped for a third and last visit, a ‘one more for the road’ before we ventured on our twenty minute ride home.
As we drove away from the farm, with all our pumpkins, hay bales, and gourds in tow, I remember distinctively yet silently chatting with myself and thinking that it had been such a beautiful day so far. Literally from that moment on, nothing would ever be the same; we were then and there thrust into the world of ‘preemie-hood’!
After that thought, I began to feel a wetness under me, on my seat, in our car. I remained momentarily silent, yet utterly exhausted. Thus far, this pregnancy had been difficult, I was so tired of the constant eventfulness of this attempt at having another child. We were all so peaceful right now, and frankly I wanted to keep it silent in that I knew if I had mentioned to Jorge that all this liquid was coming out of me, he would force us to go to the hospital, and I just didn’t want to make one more trip to the hospital.
A minute or so later;
Laura: “Che…” (This is an Argentine phrase used as a familiar loving term, similar to that of ‘honey’.)
Jorge: “What babe…” (He answered me without looking at me, just keeping his eyes on the road.)
Laura: “Look at the seat, my water is breaking, or has broken?”
Jorge: (He looked down at the seat, which had been a light grey which was now turning into a very dark grey), “We’re going to the hospital.”(said matter-of-factly w/o emotion.)
Laura: “No, lets just go home, please…” (Here I start to whimper and begin to tear, because I realize I have no choice right now and this pregnancy is draining all of me, from me, true
Jorge: “No, Che, we’ll just go to the hospital, we have to pass it on our way home, and we’ll just check it out, it’ll all be okay, don’t cry, c’mon, babe, don’t cry.”
In that moment, the earth was tugging us in the right direction in that the intern on hand – the charismatic, and most thorough resident, Tolga – said had we gone home, we would have lost the baby. I entered the ER and calmly walked up to the desk where one would ‘check-in’. I told the attending nurse that my water had broke, and that I was only 24 weeks pregnant, and thought I might be miscarrying. I could feel the crowd in the ER starring at my back collectively feeling dearly wistful for this young mother. To my sheer and sudden surprise the nurse swung around the counter in such a blur that my quivering evolved into shock, I was frozen at her physical reaction. She stated, “Anyone who enters the ER past twenty-one weeks must be sent to the maternity wing immediately,” and needless to say, we were literally on our way down the corridor rolling toward the wing where babies were born before I could realize I was forced into a wheelchair?!
She wheeled me into a room inside the maternity ward and commanded me not to move, not to stand either – Jorge and Natalie were all of a sudden with me. The three of us not only remained still, but we were oddly silent in simply not knowing what to expect – words had no place in that moment. I remember feeling a sense of ‘no control’. I felt like my choices and my decisions were no longer to be considered, and that I was simply a vessel holding the gold, and that it was no longer ‘up to me’. It was as surreal as if I were watching me, and not able to speak, as if I were seeing me through a television screen.