By: Heather Somaini
Same-sex parent writes about checking her wife into the hospital in Los Angeles.
Hospitals…are very confusing. It takes awhile to get used to them. But then once you do, boy, the world is your oyster, isn’t it? On that first day at Cedars Sinai, the world was not my oyster. I had a hell of a time parking and then got lost trying to find Tere in the Maternal Fetal Care Unit. But I eventually found her.
When I finally got to her room, they had already hooked her up to a fetal monitor and the display was blipping all of her uterine activity. It wasn’t good. She was back to having those mini-contractions or what they like to call uterine irritability. On December 8th, our pregnancy with boy/girl twins was at 22 weeks.
Since I’m sure you know a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks, you know that babies born at 22 weeks are essentially not viable. Some babies born at 22 weeks have had heroic measures taken at that time but honestly, Tere and I weren’t even thinking about the possibility that these babies could be born soon. Of course, other people were.
The hospital doctors gave Tere Indocin, a drug that can be used to delay premature labor. Premature labor. We all hear about it – the miraculous cases of babies born so early and as small as a pound and nursed to life. But no one talks about how many babies that just don’t make it. I was afraid of the latter but not on that day because that wasn’t us, right? We were fine. This was just a little bit of uterine irritability; they’d give Tere a drug or two and we’d be home in no time – a few days at most.
We met Nicol that evening. She was just about to end her 12-hour shift in the MFCU. Nicol was fun, a straight talker, and easy to get along with but most of all, she was an awesome nurse, completely dedicated to her patients. And lucky us, we were now her patients. Nicol came in with her big smile, super blonde hair and matter of fact information all wrapped up in her 5’2” frame. Although Tere would ultimately meet and get to know a lot of nurses at Cedars, Nicol was the one I spent the most time with since we were both there mostly on the weekends. My 12-hour days at the office meant that I came by the hospital late at night during the week….ah but I’m getting ahead of myself again.
Nicol, our nurse, our angel. I know she looked at us skeptically that night – she told me much later that she sort of didn’t know what to do with us and that we didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. I look back and I’m grateful that we didn’t. If we had understood it all, we may have not kept it together as well!
Hospital rooms are notoriously small and when one becomes your home for a protracted amount of time, it seems miniscule. They brought in a rollaway bed so that I could spend the night with Tere. We both laughed. There was no way on God’s green earth I was going to sleep on that cot in this tiny room. Our gorgeous, gigantic house with my comfy bed was only maybe three miles away – I was going to stay there. That may seem cold and heartless, leaving Tere in the hospital by herself but I think she knew best. I needed my sleep and would only be a pain in the neck if I were at the hospital. So she was sending me home later that night.
But in the meantime, our friends Julie and Amy arrived with what I now recall as Genghis Cohen Chinese food – one of my ultimate favorites. We all laughed and ate and talked for a few hours in this tiniest of rooms with one chair and a window seat to sit on. It was a good night and turned out all right.
We would have a number of good nights at Cedars but for now, we would call it a day and the three of us would make our way back up Nichols Canyon to our respective homes while Tere settled in for a night of fetal monitoring…