The Two Words No One Wants to Hear: Bed RestJohn Cave Osborne
Caroline visited her OB GYN yesterday and learned that our little boy weighs 1-1/2 pounds. And while that’s very exciting, that wasn’t the number that I was most anxious to hear. 38 was. As in millimeters. The length of Caroline’s cervix. Which is well within the norm for 23 weeks. In fact, according to her doc, it’s actually the median length at this juncture, news I greeted with a sigh with relief.
Last pregnancy, at week 27? Caroline’s cervix was incredibly short. (Neither she nor I can remember exactly how short, but we both believe it was around 8mm.) Contractions (she didn’t even realize she was having) were likely a factor. Her OBG YN monitored her for 45 minutes and during that time, Caroline had 15. As such she was relegated to bed rest. Hospitalized bed rest, that is, which lasted one week. Then she came home where she was on bed rest for the next four weeks at which point she was ordered back to the hospital. She managed to stay pregnant until week 36 which meant that, all told, she was on bed rest for 9 weeks.
Which, my friends, left yours truly in charge of all things domestic for over two months — five weeks of which were unsupervised, if you will.
As you ponder that thought, it might be handy to remember that I’m the same brainiac who would go on to (accidentally) call my pregnant wife fat. And old.
Which is why you might be surprised to find that I actually fared pretty well. I was in charge of my stepdaughter whenever she wasn’t with her dad. And during that time, I picked up many different skill sets.
Like picking out pairs of panties. I dare say I developed a certain flair. I also became astute at administering reflux medicine. Carpooling to school? Not a problem. Volunteering at school? Also not a problem. Preparing breakfast? Not a problem, either. Well, except that I used to do it at night… you know… just in case.
But you know what was a problem? Doing Alli’s hair. Until, that is, I perfected the “top knot.” And that’s pretty much how it went. If I didn’t know how to do something, I’d just learn how. And eventually I became proficient. Or at least proficient enough.
On the nights we didn’t have Alli, I stayed in Caroline’s room at the hospital. At first on one of those bad convertible chair/bed deals. But eventually, on an enormous cot that a friend of mine was kind enough to lend me. This thing was preposterous. I swear it was bigger than Alli’s bed. And though the nighttime nurse had a problem with it, I truly didn’t care. For during that time, with so much on my plate, all I cared about was getting good rest. Which was pretty much impossible if I slept on the plastic/leather, chair/bed (read pleather ched). For the covering of the pleather ched was hard as a rock and stuck to my skin. Which meant that whenever I rolled over in a futile attempt to find a more comfortable position, I’d literally have to peel my damn face off of the thing.
But once the cot was around, all that changed. I used to scoot that bad boy right next to my wife’s bed and hold her hand while we watched crime shows until she feel asleep — at which point, I’d switch over to whatever sporting event I could find. I’ll never forget those days, nor how they managed to somehow strengthen our already incredible bond. And I don’t mean to get all hokey on you, but Caroline was my hero those days. How she managed to keep the triplets inside until 36 weeks, I’ll never know. Especially when things looked so dire at week 27.
Whenever I ran into Caroline’s friends, they, too, spoke as if Caroline were their hero. “Oh my gosh,” they would say, “I just can’t imagine what she’s going through. Is she okay? I mean it must be so tough on her. Is there anything I can do for her? Anything at all? Please tell her I’m thinking about her.”
Caroline, no doubt, was facing the test of her life, a fact that could never be acknowledged enough. But was it asking too much for her friends to throw in a footnote about the guy baking cinnamon rolls at night while divvying up reflux medicine into those bad little plastic day-of-the-week organizers? Could they not find it within themselves to give an “atta boy” to the man rocking the top knot while fumbling with the remote to try to find Dora and that damn monkey sidekick or hers? After all, once he drops his stepdaughter off at school, he’s going to get in a quick ten hours of work, before giving his dog fifteen solid minutes so he can drive to the hospital and watch “Monday Night Football” before drifting off to sleep on a cot he’s come to have legitimate feelings for. This just might be a tough time for him, too.
That said, it’s understandable that her friends never asked about me. (Insensitive tramps. Every last one of you.) Because pregnancy is about the mother. As well it should be.
Besides, looking back, it’s laughable how hard things were to me then. Now that I have nearly 3-1/2 years of parenting triplets under my belt (not to mention 3-1/2 additional years of parenting Alli under my belt), I bet all the juggling I did back then wouldn’t seem so hard.
Only if Caroline were to go on bed rest now, it’d be way harder than last time given that we three more children than. Especially hospitalized bed rest. Just the thought of it gives me anxiety.
Which is why the number I’m most anxious to hear is the length of her cervix. Because there are two words that neither Caroline nor I want to hear.
But if we were to hear them, I can promise you one thing: just like last time, we’d figure it out. Together.