Thursday, March 14, 2013

A very bizarre evening

This is long, and I apologize for that, but it's quite a roller coaster story, so if you're into that kind of thing, read on.

Settling in at the hospital

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I headed over to the hospital for me to be admitted. The c-section/surgery was supposed to take place today in the afternoon, but as I might have mentioned before, they wanted me to go through some preparatory treatment before the surgery, so we needed to come in a day early.

The feared paperwork was slightly unpleasant but bearable, and only took about an hour. The room I was given was clean, with space for two beds, but only my bed was in there. There was a phone, internet (after a couple of phone calls), and a TV. My doctor’s residents came in a small group and took my history, performed an ultrasound, a nurse came and chatted and explained routines, and a lab assistant came and took blood samples. I was hooked up to a baby monitor. 


It all seemed pretty normal until the blood bank requested that my husband go down to their office to “make arrangements for the blood.” When he came back he was in a slight panic. As it turns out, the blood bank will only release two units of blood unless somebody donates blood in your name. My doctor had requested six units, so when my husband appeared at the blood bank, they basically asked him, “Where is the blood?” When my husband did not present them with six units of blood, they gave him a couple of phone numbers to other blood banks and advised him to start calling - including family and friends - and told him they had to have the blood by 10 pm.

So there we were, using the hospital phone and our cell phone, calling around – strangers and friends – trying to find people that could come donate blood in my name. It was bizarre. An added challenge is that my blood type is not the most common one: A-, but what proved to be the biggest obstacle was the fact that most people don’t actually know their blood type. We found one person, and a very blessed friend with connections found three. One of those three went to the blood bank and was turned down “because she’s European.” Turns out, they don’t take blood from Europeans, due to certain illnesses. Tell me the logic of that. I am European. You’d think I’d be more compatible with a German’s blood than any other nationality’s blood.

One of our friends, while giving blood, asked the blood bank what people usually do to find blood, or if there’s a big accident, and they told her that they never have any problems, because as soon as something happens, everyone’s uncles, cousins, siblings, aunts, etc. show up. Of course. My aunts, cousins and one sibling all have my blood type. Unfortunately, they’re thousands of miles away, plus, you know, they’re European so they couldn’t have donated blood anyway.

My husband's meeting

In the middle of our frenetic phone calling, my husband – who to top things off, is still suffering from the flu with pretty severe sinus headaches, a bad cold and fatigue – had to go to an important meeting. Now, he is in general a laid back person, but when it comes to things like these, he doesn’t have my “It will all work out” attitude, and was quite worried. So, although he really wanted this meeting to go well - instead of appearing serious and composed, he now ran in there asking people about their blood type, and then suffered through most of it, constantly blowing his nose, losing his voice, and worst of all, his trail of thought.

I didn’t know exactly how his meeting was going, of course, but I knew he was upset and that he would have trouble keeping focused the way he had wanted to. So when eventually, after a lot of phone calls back and forth in our little community, a friend of Abraham’s father, who is a doctor at the hospital, went over and talked to the blood bank, and they told him that “all was OK,” I couldn’t wait for my husband to come back to the hospital so that I could ease his mind, and tell him that the blood issue was taken care of.

The surgery is postponed

Then right before he came back, one of the residents came in and told me that the other surgeon who was going to participate in the surgery together with my OBGYN, was stuck at an airport in Europe, and was not going to make it by today, “Unfortunately, your planned cesarean/surgery will have to be postponed.” I was free to go. Incredible.

Habemus papam

Just then, I glanced at my Kindle, and saw a picture of the Sistine Chapel chimney with white smoke pouring out of it.

Discharged, still pregnant

My husband came back just moments later, and we were discharged. Home by 9:30 pm.

Traumatized four year old

Before we left home that afternoon I had sat down with Abraham and had a long talk about how I was going to stay in the hospital for many days, and how he might not see me for a while since little kids are not allowed to visit the hospital. He was not happy, but seemed to understand that he would be OK with “his boys” at home, and grandma. I shed a tear when I left, knowing it would be hard for him who has never been apart from me.

Now here I was, a few hours later.

He gave me a big happy hug and asked me about the baby, so I told him the whole story of the doctor stuck in a snow storm. Then he asked if I was going to lay down with him, so I did, and he went to sleep. He obviously thought nothing of the fact that I had told him I would be gone for a long time and then came right back: it was like he hears stories of surgeons getting stuck in snowstorms and surgeries being postponed, all the time.

Sum it up!

So there you have it. First we’re hit with this whole blood bank affair, then our surgery is postponed, a new pope is announced, and our four year old is slightly traumatized. All in one evening.

Now what?

This morning I found out that the doctor will be back tonight, that they expect me to come back in on Saturday, and that the surgery will take place on Sunday. I told my doctor, “I’m not going to hold my breath,” but he was not in a joking mood. He let me know that he too is worried, and I appreciate that, of course.

I’m spending the day performing what can best be described as a reboot of my brain. I didn’t realize how much mental preparation I had done for this surgery until it was postponed, and now I have to work up to it again. In the meantime, I must admit I’m actually relieved, since this delay means the baby will be past the crucial 36 weeks gestation when he is born.

Tomorrow I will take my mom to the store, have some nice food, and then we go again. Are you ready?


  1. CRAZY! Especially about the blood. I think the European thing has to do with mad cow disease (at least, that's the deal in the US, I think). I can't imagine trying to round up people to donate blood.

    Best of luck this weekend! You'll be in my prayers!

  2. Wow...what a process! I'll have you in my thoughts this weekend. I also can't imagine rounding up blood donors! You'd think at least they might have told you this, oh, who knows... maybe when you first came in pregnant and knowing you would need a C section? I hope all goes smoothly for you now!