I took the kids “home” last week for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s always a little weird to be back in the town I grew up in. It feels at once familiar and completely strange. I keep expecting to see all the people I knew growing up, but hardly ever do. I run into ghosts of myself every once in awhile. I keep meaning to show my children where we lived, where I went to school, the places we used to go. Some of those places aren’t there anymore (too many of them as a matter of fact). That very small town has become a decent-sized city. You truly can’t go back again.
Tuesday, we took the kids to the City. My sister and her girls, my brother and his three, and my mom joined us. On the way there, we drove through Oakland. Ry and G were born there. Just before we hit the bridge freeway, we drove past that hospital. Honestly, if I hadn’t driven myself there when Grace was on her way, I never would have been able to tell you where that hospital was, despite the fact of spending 21 days there before and after Ryley’s birth.
When my pregnancy with Ry crashed and burned, I was in San Ramon. That’s where I was admitted, found out my baby was still alive (blessedly), had the first of numerous ultrasounds, and was told I had an abruption of the placenta. I was also told they “could not handle a 23 weeker” so during that first long night, I was transferred via my first ambulance ride ever, to Oakland to a place that supposedly could “handle a 23 weeker.” Because it was the middle of the night, because I was laying down on all kinds of monitors and the first of the drugs to stop the contractions, I had no idea where I was going. I never saw the outside of that hospital until the day I left, 5 days after Ryley was born. I’m sure the way there is etched into Michael’s brain. His body probably would still have adverse reactions to seeing that place. I could tell you to the smallest detail what my hospital room looked like, and what the view was outside my window (at least the view looking sideways and somewhat up), but not how to get there, not which floor to go to, not what elevators to take, nor what anything besides that room, the delivery room, and the ultrasound room looked like.
When I was at 41 weeks with Grace, my doctor sent me to that same hospital for a non-stress test. I had no idea where I was going. I expected something, anything to look familiar. Nope…..nada. It should have, right? I mean, I’d just spent three weeks there the year before. I did end up in one of the same delivery rooms, and the same doctor delivered G. But it could have been somewhere else completely as far as familiarity went.
It was so surreal to drive by that hospital. I pointed it out to the kids but in my brain I was thinking “wow, I never would have guessed it was right there”. That place that held the beginning for two of my children…….familiar and yet not. I dream about those three weeks sometimes – waking up in a panic, feeling like it’s happening all over again. I can hear the sounds, smell the smells, remember the fear and worry. But I can’t tell you how to get there. I can’t tell you what floor to go to for L & D. I can’t tell you where to park. You can’t go back again.