This was our first time at the ER. Every other time we'd gone to after-hours peds which is a normal pediatrician in a normal office.
Of course primarily I was terrified of all of the extremely sick people in the ER. Like the teenager who had a 103 fever and looked like death. Or the 4 sorority girls who were getting checked after after a girl at our local University had just DIED of meningitis.
So Dylan and I kept to ourselves in a quiet area while Mr. GG went to get us dinner. I didn't let Dylan out of the ergo.
But then suddenly I was crying. With real tears. (Not like sobbing, but it was real.) And I was a little surprised. My brain couldn't stop replaying the night I went into pre-term labor over and over in my head and the emotions of that night: fear, panic, disorientation, all came rushing back.
My friend had dropped me off at the entrance to the ER, but there are 3 entrances to the hospital, just one of which is the ER. I went to the ER door, but there were so many people. And I was crying. And bleeding. And it just didn't feel like the right place. Do you go to the front of the line? Wait? I'm not the kind of person to just go in and be all hysterical. It may sound really stupid that I didn't go in, but no one had prepared me for what to do in that situation. So I went in a different entrance instead and I think I went up to the L&D floor, but I can't even actually remember. After wandering around crying, finally a pregnant lady helped me to the triage.
So I was in the ER, with Dylan, and kept seeing myself hesitate at the entrance and imagining what would have happened if I had walked in. I truly felt the same helplessness and fear.
I'm great in general, but I doubt certain parts of my experience will ever leave me. Luckily, I have very few triggers, but revisiting the "scene" was pretty intense. I just wish I had known what to do that night.
If 1 out of every 8 babies are born pre-term? Why don't we talk about it? And what to do if it happens to you? I understand it's scary and pregnancy is already a time of worry, but actually going into to pre-term labor is much scarier than worry. Why don't we take hospital tours earlier? Or talk to everyone about the NICU?
What I went through was terrifying and traumatic, but I also think the system let me down.
November is prematurity awareness month. Go to the March of Dimes and show your support.