Happy Birthday Scrappy-Doo – A Story in Two Parts
It was hot. A Monday.
I had been waddling around VBS the week before and working from home. It was harder this time around, and the older ladies at church kept coming up to me with worried expressions. They would pat me on the arm and say “It will be over soon, dear. It will be over soon.”
I was looking forward to one more week, doing nothing but putting my feet up and a few good books.
But there was this headache. And my check-up the week before left Dr. Duncan with a crease between her eyebrows.
He’s not growing, she said. I’m concerned.
Uh, ok. I’m concerned now, too.
I’d like to run some tests, she said.
Now, no one has ever maintained that pregnancy is dignified. In fact, it’s pretty much the most undignified position you’ll ever find yourself in. Literally.
To my utter mortification, she handed me a large platic container. It was orange. And huge. It looked just like a jug of OJ that you’d find in your grocer’s refrigerated section.
Except that it was empty.
I was then informed that over the course of the next three days I was to, shall we say…fill it up? And keep it refrigerated. Every. Last. Drop.
I’ll spare you further horror. It wasn’t fun. It was undignified. My big ole orange jug right there next to our milk and cucumbers.
I did this all weekend, hauling that sucker with me to church in a cooler and hiding it in the ladies bathroom. Since, at 37 weeks, I was averaging about 30 minutes between visits, there was no possibility of leaving it at home.
Monday morning, I was told to bring my orange jug to the hospital lab.
I was filling out paperwork when she called me on my cell.
Did you bring your jug? she asked.
Yes, I have it here, I told her. I’m dropping it off now.
How are you feeling? she asked.
Tired, I said. I’ve had this awful headache since yesterday. I didn’t sleep well.
It got very quiet on the other end of the phone then.
Vicki Duncan is a great OB. Terrific. She saw me through my first pregnancy and had guided me all the way to this point in my second. I changed my insurance just to have her again the second time around. She was a no-nonese kind of gal, had a great sense of humor, and did not tolerate any melodrama from her patients. Realistic and down-to-earth, but with a heart of gold and immeasureably kind.
She also could be a little scary when she got serious.
She got serious right then.
Adelle, she said, in a voice that was quiet and terrible. I want you to listen to me. I want you to stop whatever you are doing. Put down the pen. I want you to go upstairs to Labor and Delivery. Do. It. Now.
I did what she said. I also got scared.
Gabe and I scurried to the elevators. The nurses upstairs were waiting. She had called ahead. They put me in a room and took my blood pressure.
I don’t remember what it was, but it was high. Really high. Scary high. That was when things got strange. My head was hurting something awful. The nurse started talking to me in this very high, sing-song-y voice. The voice you use when you are trying to calm a hysterical child, or a frightened animal. Or a crazy person.
The nurse said she had to call Dr. Duncan and she’d be right back.
By this point, I was getting mad. This was not on my agenda for today. I had relaxing to do. I had plans.
The sing-song-y nurse came back. She was still talking in that funny voice.
Ok, so, I just spoke with your doctor, she announced, beaming. Everything is going to be fine. You’re going to have your baby today!
If there were crickets to be heard in that hospital room, you would have heard them. Or a pin drop. Or some other cliche for when you are shocked into total silence.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Happy Birthday Scrappy-Doo!