Let me rain on your parade

Let me rain on your parade

Two days ago was my first ultrasound. When you watch TLC’s “A Baby Story,” this always seems like a joyous thing, with the mom-to-be, lying comfortable on the table, glowing angelically and perhaps shedding a tear of joy. In real life, ultrasounds go like this: You follow the directions on your requisition to a “T,” drinking the requisite 40 gallons of water and holding your pee for five hours before the test. You glow — because you are literally about to explode from the pain of filling your bladder to three times its capacity. The tears you shed are probably ones of severe pain from the devastation the 40 gallons of water are wreaking on your tiny bladder.

If one were to hypothetically break the rules and sneak into one of the hospital’s bathrooms and pee a little to relieve the gut-splitting agony of a threatened bladder rupture, even THAT would not be quite enough to allow one to comfortably rise from the standard doubled-over-with-horrible-discomfort pose one is forced to adapt when one is in a position to personally turn the high desert of the inland Pacific Northwest into a lush marshland in approximately 90 seconds.

And just imagine this horror of being in such waterlogged discomfort, the blood flowing to the muscles holding together your frail bladder to the exclusion of your brain, which, in its blood-deprived state, may be rationalizing the brutal homicide of the cheerful technician who not only refuses to let you pee, but then stretches you (and your screaming bladder, which may I remind you does not like it when you deviate from the almost-bearable doubled-over position) out on a table and then FIRMLY PRESSES A HARD DEVICE against that very organ whose control you are trying with all your might to retain.

In a cruel twist of fate, when I told her about my extreme discomfort, the ultrasound technician asked how much I’d drunk and when. When I told her (verbatim from the requisition), she said “Oh, you should probably only drink HALF that much next time.” That didn’t really help with the murderous thoughts.

Of course, when I saw the baby’s heartbeat, confirming once and for all that my drinking water wasn’t merely laced with hCG, all of my homicidal urges vanished, and I forgot about my bladder to the point that I almost peed myself. Fortunately, the only leakage that occurred was from my eyes. (And later my nose, since apparently pregnant women not only see a huge increase in blood volume, but in snot volume as well.) In fact, if the “Baby Story” people had been there, I would have done them proud. If they’d managed to survive that initial homicidal phase.

With Chris out of town on business, I was rather glad we’d told his mom, as a pelvic ultrasound complete with teensy heartbeat would be a bit hard to explain otherwise, and the alternative would have been trying to find the right department in a hospital a few towns over while operating on a painfully full bladder. And apparently the baby wasn’t too worried about her knowing, as it was obviously still there and alive.

All before and during the ultrasound, I was burning up. I thought it was some kind of side effect from having too much water in my bladder. Perhaps my hyperthermia was all in my head, comorbid to my criminal insanity. Later in the evening, while sorting files in the basement, I realized that I was still feeling deathly hot. I went upstairs and took my temperature, which turned out to be 99.9. So at least part of my incredible discomfort was probably attributable to the fact that I have the flu.

Over the past few days, I’ve taken cold showers, swaddled myself in ice packs, guzzled vast quantities of water (despite my recent traumatic experience with aforementioned beverage), slept 16 hours a day (waking up nearly hourly to frantically take my temperature) and subsisted on bread and oranges. (Hey, you try having morning sickness and a flu at the same time and we’ll see how healthy your diet is. At least I gagged down my prenatals and progesterone pills!)

So far my temperature has stayed around 98.6 during the day when I’m icing and drinking, hasn’t gotten higher than 99.5 even in the dead of night, and according to my books, it’s only something to worry about if your temperature goes 1.5 degrees above normal.

I may have to worry about the baby sticking. I may have to worry about getting decent nutrition when even that old antinausea standby, ginger, makes me sick. I may have to worry about peeing my pants, killing people and overheating. But on the bright side, at least we know I’m getting enough water.

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