Thursday had been a great day and I polished off the evening with some wings and chowder and a pair of pints at the bar up the road. Watched March Madness, did some work, and just kicked back after a great week of working hard and having fun. Lu was feeling generally okay, but her stomach had started to bother her a bit, so she went to bed early wiped out from the tough work of creating life within her womb all day/all night.
Friday everything went bad. Fast. I woke up feeling icky and before long icky had become full-blown awful. I’m not sure if it was the lukewarm chowder from the day before or an actual virus, but something got inside my belly and it tried to find every way out possible. I was leveled. Friday passed in a delirious haze that gave me a tiny glimpse into what it’s like to pregnant. I was nauseous, extremely uncomfortable, dangerously dehydrated and cloven in two by a powerful headache. Friday Lu waited on me, bringing me Pedialite, water and anything else I needed even as she cooked and fed herself, straightened up the apartment and did some work. Unfortunately, she was only a little bit better off herself.
Her stomach ache had become worse and both of us started to get worried. We knew that all kinds of weird things happen as the fetus grows and the womb enlarges, but this just didn’t feel right to her. Calls were made to the midwife and to Mom even as she searched online for reasons and explanations for her discomfort. The final analysis was either a mild gastrointestinal virus, ligaments stretching in her uterus, or most likely, that it was just one of those weird pregnant things.
But I wasn’t ‘there’ to help her through it like I would have been if I wasn’t utterly wrecked by sickness myself. Which made her feel alone and me feel helpless and both of us feel really scared and on edge. I slipped in and out of sleep all day having bizarre dreams and growing increasingly sore from being stuck in bed while she tried not to get too freaked out by the pains in her belly.
One thing that kept going through my mind both dreaming and awake was “How the hell can either of us ever get sick once we have a newborn? How, exactly, would that work?” And if both of us got ill? Forget it! Apparently as a parent illness is off the table.
Today I felt much better, but I also felt odd and different. Lighter, certainly as well as… shall we say… thoroughly purged. Saw friends at the shop today and although they were totally normal I didn’t feel that way at all. Being sick is such a private thing. It is something that is only shared with a partner or among an immediate family, but it’s also something that everyone goes through at one point or another. I kept wanting to grab them and tell them, “Look at me! I’m different! Can’t you see it? I had an ‘experience’ yesterday!”
But we all have private experiences. Moments that affect only us, that only we see on our own, through our senses and within our brains. Lu is having an incredibly powerful and private experience every day of this pregnancy, and getting sick on Friday gave me the tiniest glimpse of how she feels, just accelerated and condensed into a 24 hour period. That brief illness changed me slightly. I can only imagine how much she will change as a result of growing this baby.