So 12 years ago today…
(This story brings up such primal emotions from the core of my soul that I simply can not bear to read it -but especially, relive it- feeling the way I do about this little girl right now. I fucking MISS her so god damn much!! I only say it out loud every so often because, well, frankly, it makes me cry and I can’t spend the rest of my life crying. But I think about her constantly and there is always a gnawing, longing feeling in the pit of my core that is only abated by her presence. I wish I could go back…)
I was two weeks overdue with my youngest daughter. Not only was I overdue, but this pregnancy was considered high-risk because I developed gestational diabetes. I was sick and tired of taking the bus to my doctor appointments every week, I was sick of the aspartame taste of Diet Coke, I was sick of poking my finger or arm with a needle four times a day. I was just sick of it all.
The day before, my mom had called me from work with some food for thought. One of the nurses told her that taking Ipecac syrup would get my labor started enough for them to have to admit me. If I took some of this nasty crap before my doctor’s appointment, I should be in labor before the end of my exam. So, you know…if I was really tired of being pregnant there were ways to get labor induced. When I woke up Valentine’s Day morning, After heaving my enormously swollen body out of bed and into the shower I said fuck it, gimme the syrup!
My mom and I stopped off at Rite Aid at 8:00 sharp and bought this tiny blue bottle of Ipecac syrup. I got back in the car and mustered all my strength to swallow. It’s like swallowing thick thick cooking oil but with a sharper taste to it. And it feels miserable going down, like you can taste it in your stomach. It’s supposed to make you poop. The theory is that the stomach contractions for the poop get the uterus contracting too. We were told that within an hour I would start feeling the effects. So we hurried off to the doctor.
My doctor’s office was a zoo all the time, and they were always late with my appointments. Today was no different. We waited about 45 minutes before being called into the exam room. I still wasn’t feeling ANYTHING. No gas, no cramps, nada. My doctor did her thing and once again shook her head when she looked through my chart.
“I still don’t have that Something-Something test to confirm your due date.”
Ugh. I’d seen a different doctor at the beginning of my pregnancy, but when I was diagnosed with diabetes they transferred me to this doctor. They were supposed to send over my chart, which included this test that confirms due date, but in four months they had not arrived. This was why I was ssoooo overdue; without being able to confirm my due date (other than me TELLING them what it was) they were hesitant to induce.
“Why don’t you go and have lunch, come back at 1 and I’ll get you checked in, this is getting riddiculous.”
The words I’d been longing to hear!!! I thanked the doc and my mom and I rushed out the office as quickly as we could.
As we walked to the car my mom asked how I was feeling. I was feeling just fine! Humph, some great labor inducer Ipecac is, I thought. We got into the car and headed out to the other end of East LA and had lunch at our old family favorite restaurant, Ciro’s. We ordered the usual, chicken flauta plates. I ate 6 flautas, plus rice and beans and a little salad.
I was gulping down the last of my soda before we left when suddenly…I did not feel so good!! My belly churned into a tight knot and showed no signs of relaxing. I could literally feel bubbling in my bunghole. I told my mom we better GO!!!
(from this point on things are gonna get graphic-read at your own risk!)
Luckily the hospital was only about a mile away so we hurried off as fast as we could. My mom had to get a wheelchair for me because there was NO WAY I could uncross my legs without a fountain of diarrhea spewing forth. She pushed me into the emergency entrance and within minutes I was in a private birthing suite. I was in incredible pain, doubled over in fact. My mom helped me to the bathroom and I sat on the toilet and let it go. Oh my god, the pain I was in!! At this point I very well could have been in labor but the stomach cramps from the Ipecac were SO STRONG I literally thought I was going to poop out my organs.
When I was finally finished (so I thought) I cleaned myself up and started getting into my gown and onto the bed. This hospital was a teaching hospital so there were students of all sorts performing all kinds of procedures. Soon a nurse came in with a nursing student. She instructed the student to give me 4cc’s of Stadol to help ease my pain, then she left him to his own resources and left the room. He proceeded to poke me at LEAST 20 times before hitting my vein. Finally he got it, and I felt the coolness of the medicine as it traveled through my arm and into the rest of my body…
And that was the last lucid, conscious moment I remember. The nurse gave me WAY too much painkiller and I knocked out. I remember trying to wake up, and I remember hearing things going on around me.
“Do you smell that?” My mom asked babydaddy John.
“Yeah where is it coming from?” He asked. I heard them sniffing around the room. ”I think it’s Andrea!”
I apparently shat myself in my induced stupor. I remember feeling John and my mom changing the sheets around me. I remember the doctor coming in and examining me. I remember how painful that was!! I wanted to shout for him to stop but I couldn’t move my mouth. I remember hearing his ominous words…
“The baby’s in too much distress. We gotta get it out now. Get her into the surgical room STAT!!!”
I remember being lifted from the bed onto a gurney. I remember bright lights above my head as I was wheeled into a surgical birthing room. I tried so hard to speak but my mouth simply would not work. The only thing I could even remotely move was my eyeballs. I saw John’s eyes poking out from behind a surgical mask.
I was strapped onto a table like Jesus was nailed to the cross. I didn’t feel any pain but I could feel pulling and tugging at my midsection. The surgeons made some jokes about menudo. Then I remember looking over and seeing John in the corner of the room holding what appeared to be a giant cocoon of some sort.
Next thing I remember was waking up in a recovery room. I was in my right mind, finally!! I tried to sit up but a sharp pain coursed through me right where they sliced me open. I turned my head to one side and saw a couple other gurneys just like mine, only empty. I looked to the other side of the room and saw three little newborn incubators lining the wall; one of them had a baby in it. For a moment my heart lifted but it quickly deflated; no, this baby looked like a doll, it was just too perfect and pink and cute. And BLONDE!!! Yeah that was NOT mine or John’s kid!!! Just then a nurse came in, and I asked her where my baby was.
“She’s right there sweetie!” She said in a thick Filipina accent, gesturing towards the angelic darling little bundle.
“No, you don’t understand. I had a Mexican and Asian baby, not a white baby. My baby’s gotta have dark hair. That’s a white baby.” Now I was getting worried! Had they switched my baby???
“She’s yours sweetie!” The nurse said as she put the bundle in my arms. I took one look at her and instantly knew that not only did she look just like me, she had a wrinkle in her forehead that matched her daddy’s forehead; it was like a thumbprint. This was definitely MY baby!
My mom and dad came in shortly afterwards and they too thought she was just the cutest little thing! The nurse came in and told them what I’d said, and they all laughed and blamed it on the drugs. No, I really thought that this baby was too cute to be mine! It was as if cupid had created her himself, just for me on Valentine’s Day…