All Summer in a Day

Any one out there remember Ray Bradbury’s 1954 short story? The story is about a class of school children on Venus. It constantly rains there due to the planet’s thick atmosphere. The sun is only visible for two hours every seven years on the planet.

That is what life is like on hospital lockdown. (Granted, the Bay Area’s fifth “final storm of the season” didn’t help this analogy.)

Naturally, last weekend was gorgeous – perfect 75 degree spring days. I could kind of see the light outside my hospital window. Mostly it was just bored friends and family sauntering around a mini-garden the hospital developed on the third floor.

On day five in the sterile ward (albeit stable with a bluish/purple wallpaper border to make the rooms seem “homey”), my husband convinced our nurse that the little mental stability I had remaining was in danger. Several minutes later the nurse returned to my room with a wheelchair for what my chart now reads as “prescribed sunshine therapy” (I am not making this up).

For ten wonderful minutes I sat outside in direct sunlight. But then we had to roll back into the ward so my medications wouldn’t be delayed. I can only imagine the roller-coaster of exhilaration to desolation those children on Venus felt during their two hours.

This entire pregnancy became an intense whirlwind during my seven-day stay.

  • I received a tour of Kaiser’s Labor and Delivery unit. This includes Observation Room A; L&D rooms 5, 10 and 11; Mom/Baby rooms 39 (twice) and 17; and OR 2. (Most people don’t get to see these rooms until baby birthdays.)
  • I learned how to deal with uncomfortable questions that I assume meant well. When we arrived in the Mom/Baby unit the first time the nurse worriedly questioned, “Where’s the baby?” (As though we’d forgotten him in another room . . .)
  • I took a glucose test for gestational diabetes. I made it an entire hour and five minutes before launching myself toward the restroom. My body did not take well to the sugar syrup “beverage.”
  • I learned what a baby’s kick and a contraction felt like for the first time.
  • I received a training period of what it’s like to get no more than two hours of sleep at a time.
  • I fully realized how much it means to me to be a mommy.

All pregnancy in a week.

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