Postpartum Complications Scene 13: My Drain Tubes Come Out

(Scene twelve is here.)

On Tuesday, eleven days since the Friday night when I went to the emergency room, I am alone in a hallway by the ultrasound rooms. I’m daydreaming about my ultrasounds during my pregnancy. I had my first one when I was nine weeks pregnant and I remember seeing his small body move like a jellyfish on the black and white screen. I think about how full of awe I was as I watched him. My baby, there you are.

I realize how different this ultrasound will be. Instead of searching for life today, they are searching for any problems still lingering in my torn up body.

After they push my bed into the tiny room, a young technician begins squeezing clear jelly on my squishy, childless belly as she searches for remaining signs of infection.

She is not saying anything.

“I sometimes forget that ultrasounds can be used for things besides looking at babies,” I say, trying to make conversation with her.

“Yeah,” she says, quietly probing my belly while she stares at her computer screen.

The silence makes all my fears feel loud, but then I remember how a friend had sent me a text with Psalm 121 earlier that morning and I try to mediate on it: I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

These verses inspire my short prayers:

God, lift my eyes.

My help comes from you alone.

You know me, Lord.

You made heaven and earth and you are big enough to be enough for me in this moment.

Nothing else but your grace can give me lasting comfort.

Over and over, I pray these verses back to God.

Finally, a radiologist comes in with my sonographer and tells me that both of my tubes can come out. It is the first bit of good news in long time.

He begins taking off the tape that is holding my tubes in place. The skin on my deflated belly stretches and pulls like dough. He grabs some scissors and cuts around a particularly tricky area.

“Be careful,” I wince. I tell him how the nurses accidentally cut my skin a few days ago when they were adjusting the tape on my belly.

He senses my anxiety and asks if I want to remove the tape myself.

I do.

The first tube is ready to come out of my belly. It is tiny, maybe the diameter of a pencil, and it glides out of me so effortlessly you’d never have known the force exerted to thrust it in to me.

(Scene fourteen is here.)

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