Friday, March 26, 2010

Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor...Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor....Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor...Doctor. Doctor. Doctor. Doctor..We're not doctors!

On Tuesday, I reach the 28 week marker in my pregnancy. For me, this is one of the most important milestones in pregnancy. At week 28, I know that the baby will live if something is wrong and it has to be born early. I know this because my sister was born at 28 weeks. She was a tiny little thing, just 2 pounds. For several months leading up to her birth and for many months after, we spent a lot of time at the hospital. I've been thinking about that time lately because my father-in-law is having some health problems and he is in the hospital. We have spent considerable time there keeping him company.

Going to the hospital to visit anyone always makes me remember all the time I spent at the hospital visiting my mom as a child.

Before Anna was born, my mom was hospitalized for several months. This must have been when doctors actually determined your medical needs and not the insurance industry or the federal government. At that time, she was in the University of Michigan Hospital and for some reason, she was in a ward. I wonder if hospitals even have wards anymore. For her, it was a big room with beds lined up and a curtain that separated each bed. I remember she hated the ward. My dad and I drove to Ann Arbor from Toledo each evening. He would pick me up from whatever friends I was staying with and we would drive an hour and see Mom. Sometimes we would stop on Washtenaw for Arby's and bring Mom a sandwich. Back then, it was the only fast food restaurant on the way to the hospital. I knew my way around the hospital incredibly well. I would walk ahead of my dad, rushing to get to her and once there I would sit on her bed with her and tell her all about my day and do my homework. Then we would pack up and head back home for another hour drive in the car. We did this every day. Saturday and Sunday, we left early in the morning and spent all day with her. To me, this is what you do when someone you love is in the hospital. YOU STAY WITH THEM!

I don't know the technical reasons why my mom had to deliver Anna early. I remember hearing someone sometime after say that her placenta was dying, so that may have contributed to it. Anna spent over a month in the hospital until she was strong enough to come home. Guess what? We visited her every day just like my mom. My mom was actually discharged from the hospital before Anna was so eventually we all would go to the hospital together. About two weeks after she was born, I got the chicken pox. I wasn't allowed to go into the NICU where she was. I had to sit in a waiting room. I would read and color. I hated being by myself and not getting to see my new little sister. The highlight for me was when my parents would bring her to the door and hold her up and I would wave at her through the glass. I was sure she knew me and was happy to see me.

Last Saturday, we took the kids up to the hospital to see Chris' dad. He looked relatively good. He did have oxygen and an IV and I think those things threw the kids off. They hung back and were very leery about approaching him. For several of them, it was their first experience in a hospital besides going to see a new brother or sister. I watched them and contrasted it to my own experiences with my mom. It didn't matter what she was hooked up to, I sat on her bed and laid by her. I can distinctly remember when she was in the ICU once, I don't even know if she was conscious but I laid next to her in the mess of all her wires and IV's. A nurse came in and tried to shoo me away and my dad gave her a piece of his mind. I stayed put next to Mom.

This post seems a jumble of weird thoughts and memories. I guess it's just stuff I'm thinking of because I have been visiting the hospital so much lately. I know you are going to say, What's New?, but it just makes me miss my mom so much more.


Michelle said...

Jumble of thoughts or not, I want to come over there and give you a great big hug Jen. Many well wishes for your father in law's speedy recovery.

GramMO said...

You are what this world needs more of...Thank you for being so real. I wish I could make things better for you . Here's a big hug an. You're grit in integrity. All you all are in my prayers.

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