We walked and we walked and we walked. It was glorious! The sky was blue, it was 80 something degrees, the water shone bright cerulean, and the sand was perfect. At our Cayman Islands port stop on the KLOVE cruise we chose to wing it, so we got dropped off at the public beach and walked the 4.5 miles back to the cruise ship.
Near the end of our trip I started feeling a little woozy. Nothing major, and nothing abnormal. See, I get a little woozy not infrequently. I’ve always supposed I’m sensitive to low blood sugar. So I really didn’t think anything of my lightheadedness. Even nearer the end of our walk I fell something wet pass into my panties. Again, didn’t think much of it as pregnancy tends to lend itself to more discharge than usual in my personal experience.
We arrive on the ship to freshen up. I pull off my swim suit and find blood. Not a lot, but not a little. I start crying while I’m telling Josh it could mean nothing… but it could mean something.
Duty calls so Josh is off to a sound check while I sob, alone, all the way down to the medical center. I walk in and the doctor tells me to leave and come back when they’re open at 4:00pm. It was something close to 3:00pm. The sign on the door that I walked into said “opening hours 14:00-16:00.” So I stayed and explained myself despite his dismissal. He tried to dismiss me again. I said bluntly “it could be a sign of miscarriage.” As if breaking from a trans his eyes dart up to meet mine and glue to me intensely as he informs me I have to go to shore immediately to visit the emergency room. I start backpedalling because that sounds dramatic and risky with the ship scheduled to leave only 2 hours later – last tender was scheduled to leave from shore to ship at 5:00pm. But, alas, I said the magic words to get his attention and I’m rewarded with the most stressful and lonely journey I’ve taken to date.
They stick me in a room, I lay on a bed, and I just cry. I cry ugly tears. I’m alone and crying for the life that may or may not still be alive inside me.
Next thing I know I’m getting on a tender boat. Ashamedly crying the whole way from medical center to shore. I’m crying for fear of being left behind and completely alone without a way to communicate with my family (no cell service nor wifi the entirety of the cruise) as I miscarry our child in some third world medical center with dirty tools and poor resources, then having to stay in some room all by myself without so much as the clothes on my back as I try to figure out how to fly home… all the while missing my daughter, my husband, and the rest of our cruise vacation.
A nice man brings me to another nice man who delivers me to the emergency room. It’s nothing much to speak of, but, to my relief, it looks promising; it looks like the people know what they are doing, it looks clean, and it even looks friendly. I see the nurse in triage shortly and talk her through the happenings of my body. She tells me I have to drink water until “I feel very full” so I can get an ultrasound. So I do, I down one full bottle, then another, then a little more slowly pass a third bottle of water down my esophagus on into my sloshing stomach. Then I wait, while sipping on a fourth bottle of water until I think I might have to pee. It’s a strange thing, waiting to pee. I watch the minutes disappear on my watch and pray for pee. Finally, some 25 minutes later, I feel like I have to pee. I’m not certain but I really have to get back on the ship so I go for it.
The triage nurse leads me back to the ultrasound area and I’m seated to wait. It’s 4:00pm. It’s 4:15pm and I’m tapping my feet nervously to the sound of the minutes ticking away on my watch as I focus very hard on not peeing my pants. Yup, I had to pee. I had to pee bad. It’s 4:25 and the ultrasound technician finally comes for me. I pull my pants over my hips so she can get the lowest part of my belly for the ultrasound. She leaves for warmer ultrasound gel even though I don’t care and would rather get on with it and comes back what seems like an eternity later with gel that’s actually no warmer. She sticks the device on my belly and immediately says, “this bladder is too full.” I laugh, thinking she’s trying to make light of how I commented about having to pee so bad. “This bladder is much too full, I’m going to have you use the restroom and come back. When you’re done we will do a vaginal ultrasound.” In my head… “You’ve got to be kidding me! Couldn’t we have started there! I’d be on the ship by now! Instead, it’s 4:45 and I haven’t even seen a doctor yet!” Out loud, “Ok.”
I pee long and slow, like my pee tubes are squished by all the pee pushing on them.
She sticks the probe up my wahoo and starts the process of looking around and taking pictures. I don’t know what anything I’m seeing is but feel comforted by the pictures she’s taking. Finally, she tells me what she sees and I can finally breath. She says the tiny flickering I see on the monitor is my living tiny baby. She says a darker swirly mass outside the baby’s sack is the blood I’m seeing in my pants. She says it appears everything will be fine as the blood is coming from a feeding tube of sorts having a rough go at attaching to my uterine wall but that the blood should pass by the child and that’ll be the last of it. But she does say there’s a risk the blood could push the child out if it gets higher in volume.
I put my pants back on and wait for a doctor to come see me. It’s 4:55pm. It’s amazing how the fear of being left alone on a strange island can completely occupy your brain and make you tap your feet and pace like a mental person. I contemplate just leaving the hospital without talking to the doctor, but find myself stuck behind the threshold of the door, not compelled by duty or physical barrier but by the need for the whole story and how to keep my baby safe. He arrives at 5:00 and I’m exploding on the inside. I hear lots of words and some of them stick. Complete bed rest. Can bathe. Can get up to eat. Need to have a follow up appointment ASAP. Can get back on the ship.
He walks me to the front, one more stop to pay $500 something for my painfully long and drawn out visit, then I’m on my way – half convinced the ship left me even though the ship’s ground man is present and waiting to bring me to the terminal.
Finally, I see the last tender still awaits my arrival as do a handful of crew members and two random cruise ship passengers. We speed on over to the ship as I chat, somewhat mindlessly after my severely emotionally damaging afternoon, with a nice man and his son. Jack Storm was his name, how cool is that? Anyways, Jack Storm singlehandedly plucks me out off my emotional hurricane and sets me on solid land with his kind nature. He was probably a real person, but I think he was an angel.
The tender boat latches on to the slowly departing ship and we get off without a hitch. I dutifully march behind a small parade of cruise folk as they lead me back to the medical office to get all of my results on file. A nice lady named Amee (a Premier cruise artist liaison of sorts) asks me if there’s anything she can do. The only two things on my mind anymore are getting word to Josh that I’m safely on the ship and that I need dinner. Amee marches off to inform Josh, who at that moment was singing songs about Jesus for the cruise ship masses, and another nice lady takes my room service dinner order, free of charge.
I sit in my room and wait. I wait for 6:30 to roll around because I know that’s when Josh is scheduled for a dinner break and I will see him appear in the doorway to check on me. It’s 6:40, no husband, so I ignore my bed rest rules after a mere hour and set out to find him. Largely, I’m desperate to hold the child I can hold. Secondly, I’m desperate to see my kid and my husband.
I find the high class dining room the band is scheduled to dine in and a waiter marches me through the entirety of it. Embarrassed, I keep my head down, staring at my body clad in sweatpants… all too aware how my hair looks exactly like a birds nest. We arrive at a private dining niche and I launch some words untactfully at Josh, “Why haven’t you come to see me?” Everyone probably heard me, but I hope they didn’t. My only defense is I’d been through trauma and apparently my tactful filter was malfunctioning. Sorry Josh.
He pulls me over to talk privately. Ever the tactful one. I find he was misinformed and was told not to bother me as I was ordered on bed rest and was certainly sleeping. I tell him the bed rest part is true but instead of sleeping I was anxiously watching the clock and the door, waiting for his inevitable worrisome face to appear.
I then go hug my daughter, hard. Then sit down at the dinner table because I don’t know what else to do.
Sometimes life dishes your rotten lemons. My lemonade? Well I found some good parts out of those lemons, squeezed them hard, and got a little tablespoon of lemonade to quench my dehydrated throat. Bed rest means full days of largely solely snuggling with your toddler. That is, when you have the mommy attached toddler I do! It was perfect, Maisy developed a 103 fever the next day and with a mom ordered to do literally nothing she had all my cuddles all day that day, and every day that followed for a week as we waited for her fever to normalize and my bed rest to be over.