I woke up, flat on my back in a dimly lit room I didn’t recognize. Curled up against me, in a bed that was far too small for two grown people was a man I did not know, but for some reason I was not afraid of him; he seemed safe, familiar, and strange at the same time.
I woke him up and asked, “Where are we?”
“In the hospital”, he said.
“For Put Pie.”
“Put Pie? Is that a dog?”
“No….Where are you going?”, he said as I got up and made my way out of bed.
Then it all got foggy. I could hear him speaking, but couldn’t absorb what he was saying. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know where I was going. Going? I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t know my name. I was standing and trying to walk, but everything was so difficult. I moved and felt a tug on my left arm. I looked and I was being trailed by a pole on wheels with IV drips that were attached to my arm. What the hell was going on?
The man in the bed had turned on the overhead light and I could see that right in front of me was some kind of medical table with a clear tub on top. I looked at it and there was a baby inside of it. A baby! Why is there a baby here, I thought. Then I got dizzy and felt my legs go wobbly, I sat back down on the bed next to the familiar stranger and started sobbing.
As I cried, slowly the memories started coming back to me. I remembered the pregnancy. I remembered the difficulties, painful hips, swollen feet, sleepless nights. I remembered the anticipation, the fear, the joy. I remembered the induced labor that seemed interminable, the delivery, the pushing which ended up being the easiest part, the baby, my baby… and I kept crying. What was happening to me?! How could I forget?
I reached for a button and pressed it. A voice responded over a speaker and I said, “I need help. Please help me.” Almost immediately, a nurse with a kind face came in and even before she asked I said, ” I forgot where I was, I forgot who I was, I forgot I had a baby. How could I forget I had a baby? I thought my baby was a dog. How could I think my baby was a dog?”
“It’s the magnesium”, she said.
The magnesium?…the magnesium. Then I remembered. I was given magnesium after giving birth because I had developed preeclampsia. The magnesium was to prevent seizures. I remembered the parade of nurses that had come by and marveled at how well I was doing considering the magnesium. It had never occurred to me to ask what they meant. I was too busy getting used to having a baby outside of my body.
It wasn’t me, I wasn’t crazy; it was the magnesium.
I reached for the baby in front of me and brought her to my heart; I looked at the man on the bed, my husband, my wonderful supportive husband; and said, “I’m okay. I’m going to be okay.”
And I was and I am.
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