I stir awake. My eyelids heavy and hurting. I look over at the red lights flashing on the clock by the bed.
I inwardly curse the asshole who forgot to set the clock to the correct time. I gently reach my arm over a sleeping Roman to grab my cell phone. The screen turns on, temporarily blinding me and causing Roman to twitch. I quickly press the phone into my chest, dimming the light and peek at the screen. 2:25 am. Roman is only 14 hours old.
I try to settle back into my new-mom sleep but my overstretched, sad, little bladder is begging me to get my tired ass to the bathroom. This would be my fifth trip to the bathroom since 9 pm. I tell myself not to panic, that it’s just my body flushing all of the IV fluids out of my system, which is also why I’ve been sweating like a dog all night. I even tried to open the windows earlier on in the night, but was yelled at by the night nurse for exposing my newborn to fresh, outdoor air. I was naked, wearing only pale pink maternity panties and a pad 3 meters long and just as thick.
I gently, gently push myself up to sitting. I feel the saggy skin of my stomach fall over my underwear. I itch it. It feels like skin that has been confined for several hours: under too-tight jeans, underneath the back band of a bra, underneath the tops of socks. My abdominal muscles hardly work, so doing something as simple as getting up from the bed requires more effort than I had thought and the thought makes me really sad and so, so tired. I think of the effort that will be required of me to regain that musculature. And I’m not talking about Gisele Bundchen abs either; I’m talking about just enough abdominal strength to sit up from a supine position in bed, something that everybody else (including me) takes for granted.
I shuffle over to the bathroom, cringing at the thought of how much it is going to sting once I start peeing. I pull down my underwear, give a cursory glance to my pad (not overly bloody), sit down, and pause. Good, at last something actually works as it is supposed to. Thanks, Kegels! I feel the now-familiar sting and then, all of a sudden, pressure. “Oh shit,” I thought. “My uterus is falling out!” I immediately clench my thighs together and do the biggest, strongest Kegel I could muster, but the pressure becomes greater. I squeeze my eyes shut and hold my breath.
All of a sudden…
I feel something pass and fall out of me. It splashes in the toilet water.
I let out my held breath. I open my eyes. I’m scared to death to look at what just came out of me. Flashes of scenes from scary sci-fi movies fill my head. What the hell just came out of my body? The pressure I felt in my vagina subsides. I delicately wipe and throw the paper into the basket, not wanting to obscure whatever scary object just came out of my body. I pull up my underwear and turn on the light. It takes a while for my eyes to adjust. I look over, terrified, into the pink water in the toilet. At the bottom is a red circular blob, about 2 inches in diameter.
It was a freaking blood clot.
I stand there and look at it. I debate whether I should take a picture of it so that I could show it to my husband the next day. I start thinking of funny names we could call it: Clyde the Clot, The Red Marble, Ruby Tuesday.
I’m losing it.
I flush the toilet, turn off the light, and try my best to climb back into bed next to Roman. I look at his smushed face and kiss him on top of his dark hair. In this moment, with his teeny little body next to me, I don’t care that I can’t walk normally because my vagina is so swollen. I don’t care that I’m starving, but I’m too scared to eat because pooping will make my butthole feel like it’s going to rip apart. I don’t care that my muscles are so flaccid everywhere that I can’t physically hold my farts in. All that matters is that he is here, right next to me, the last piece to my little family puzzle.
But for crying out loud, passing a blood clot that made me think my uterus was going to fall out? Peace out, yo. I am NOT going through that shit again.