My First Helicopter Ride

I first started writing the story about my pregnancy with the twins here, the first day of the beginning of when things started to get very complicated. I was planning on doing several posts throughout the next six weeks about the things that I went through. But for some reason I just couldn’t get moving on it. I had it all written down in “bits & pieces” and lots of snippets in a purple notebook that I kept in my purse. I even organized the handwritten mess and torn out pages into seperate pieces to post.

Every time I sat down to type up the story on my computer I would get listless and zone out in memories from a year ago.  I would go into my shell. I thought alot about all that happened. I got lost in the memories. I got busy with the babies and kids. I worried that maybe I was sharing too much. I procrastinated and time flew by.

The twins’ first birthday came and I started to think about all of the trips back and forth to the hospital while they were in the NICU. These tiny little babies in isolettes connected to tubes and wires and monitors and nurses. They were still my babies and I couldn’t wait to take them home.

I would go to the hospital three seperate times a day to stay with my babies, to hold them, feed them, and give them baths. I was home the other part of the time to be with my other two children. After I would put the boys to bed I would make my last trip of the day to the hospital to feed Elsie and Mallie and rock them to sleep. It was a busy schedule, but we made it through. I can’t believe the year has flown by so fast. I can’t help but thinking back about everything.

Each night when I walked through the hospital parking lot I would look up at the lit up hospital sign, the blue letters watching over me as I trudged around snowbanks and made my way to the entrance. Each time I saw that sign, I would think, pretty soon I will not have to see this sign every night. Pretty soon I will take a different path. I will not have to walk through the ER, down an empty hall with artificial light flickering above me, and down to where the babies were. Pretty soon I would have a different route. Pretty soon I would be able to take my babies home. Pretty soon I would rock them on my couch and put them in their cribs. My route would be stairs and bedrooms instead of hospital rooms.

But before all of that there was the beginning. The story I intended to write. The sequel to “The Beginning of Complicated.”   It happened September 13, 2010. I’ve been meaning to finish it for a while. But better late than never.

***

The doctor sat in the chair by my bedside, legs crossed and hands clasped around his knee. I wasn’t used to seeing him on this end of the bed. Ususally he was at the other end in green scrubs delivering my babies. He was not my regular doctor, but he was on call. He was also the doctor that delivered Bradley and Collin. I knew him. I could understand his accent. I liked him. I trusted him.

But this time it was the worst conversation I have ever had with him. I sobbed. I bawled. I shook uncontrollably with tears. I wanted to hate him, but I couldnt. He was giving me the facts. He was trying to save me and my babies.

“We have mostly stopped the bleeding. As long as the bleeding is under control we can send you to Peoria. The helicopter is on it’s way,” he said. “If the bleeding doesn’t stop there is a 75% (I can’t remember the exact statistics that he said. I just remember it was horrible. They were not in my favor.) chance the babies will not make it.” The rest of that conversation was a blur. That last sentence stopped me in my tracks and hung over my head. I prayed. I pleaded. I sobbed.

Soon a young guy sauntered into my hospital room in a green flight jumpsuit with a cocky air,  “My name is Tom.” (I don’t remember his name. We will just call him that because he reminded me of an annoying blonde version of Tom Cruise in Top Gun). “We are going to get you ready.” He asked me some basic questions. The flight nurse came in with a thick file under her arm, I assumed it was my file.

They messed with the tube and wires. They strapped me onto a small board. I worried about my bare butt falling out of my hospital gown and my belly rolling off the other side. They covered me with a sheet, my arms across my chest Hannibal Lecter style. They wheeled me out to the flight pad; oxygen, IV, and monitors. I felt so helpless. I tried to breath. I had no way of doing anything. I watched.

They put large head phones on my head to block the noise. “It’s a tight cramped space,” he said. “It is loud, so you will wear these. We can talk to each other,” he said, motioning to him and the nurse, “and will be monitoring you and the babies. If you need somthing this is the signal,” he gestured a thumbs up or down.

The smell of the spearmint gum he was chewing was really annoying me. The blonde nurse’s pink lipstick irritated me. Everything irritated me because I just didn’t want to be there. I was still in shock that all this was happening and there was nothing I could do.  They monitored my contractions. They chatted nonchalantly back and forth. It seemed like they were flriting. I watched them out of the corner of my eye because I couldn’t turn my head, I couldn’t get comfortable with this big belly or these big headphones. They were pissing me off, probably because they were so normal at the time and I was not.

I tried to guess what they were saying and got bored with this after a while. The pain was too much and it was hard to concentrate. I was afraid to sleep. I watched the cornfield pass in a patchwork blanket beneath me. It was a thirty to forty-five minute ride on a tiny little board and the vibrations of the helicopter were killing my hips. It felt like an eternity.

Somewhere after the helicopter ride but in a hospital bed – I opened my eyes to a darkened room. TV. IV. Tray net to the bed. Monitors beside that. This was becoming all too familiar. I searched for a face, any face. I peered through blurry eyes. I tried to lift my head, it was too heavy. I tried to find the call button, my arms wouldn’t move. I tried to roll to my side, my body didn’t respond. I craned my neck to the left. I was relieved to see Brad. He was on the couch sitting next to his mom. The daylight was shining through the cracks of the shades, framing the pair as they were both texting on their phones. “What time is it?” I tried to speak, but it was hard to talk. My throat was so dry and scratchy. “I’m thirsty.”

“They won’t let you have anything to eat or drink yet, hun,” Brad’s mom said, coming to my bed side.

“Please!” I begged. “I’m so thirsty. Ask the nurse for ice.”

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

They wouldn’t let me have anything! I’m not used to not getting what I want. I tried to stay calm. I was hormonal, pegnant, and in shock from doctors, nurses, operating people with masked faces, helicopter rides…

But that is the good thing about Brad’s mom and why I like her. She gave in. She gave me a little sip of her orange juice when nobody was looking. It was so good. Probably the best sip I’ve ever had. Relief.

Eventually they took me to a normal room. A room that I would be staring at for many long weeks. I still remember the Norman Rockwell calendar on the bulletin board, the top of the tree out of my window. I could also see a parking garage in the distance. Plain curtains. White sheets and blankets. An extra large plastic mug of ice water on the tray next to my bed which the nurses always filled.

I was so sad when everybody left me and went home. I was staying there. I was stuck. I was there for the long haul. Bed rest! Really? Guess it’s for the best. I buried my head under the covers and cried myself to sleep.

Those were lonely weeks to follow.

xxx

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