Not Quite Right

“You don’t look so good,” said Dale on his way through our kitchen to the basement.

I was sitting on the sofa, Michael in my arms.  I’d spent the morning getting Zach off to school, playing with Melinda, nursing Michael.  Dale and the subcontractors were furiously trying to finish our basement, since they’d already blown the timeline of having it done before Michael’s birth.

Our house was a four bedroom colonial; in every thought I’d ever had about homes, four bedrooms seemed to be all that we could ever imagine needing.  We had one for Melinda, one for Zachary, one for us and one for guests.  We often had family staying over these days, what with only being four hours from many of our relatives.

But with baby Michael on the way, we knew we’d have to move Melinda into what now served as our guest room, and give Michael the nursery adjoining our own.  That left our frequent guests with no where to stay.  Our house had a huge basement, and we reasoned that we could afford to finish off two thirds of it into a guest room, full bathroom and a den/office/rec room area.  We’d hired Dale, my friend Diana’s contractor husband, after his bid came in lower than the other two we’d sought.  He was a friendly, trustworthy kind of guy who seemed almost protective as he’d gone about his work with my very pregnant self overseeing him.

They were nearly done.  The bathroom was functional, the walls were drywalled and “mudded”, and now all we needed was paint and carpet to finish off the job.  For now, it was fine; Michael was still sleeping in a bassinet in our room.  The guests had all left after a few days pitching in, and now it was just me, my babies and…Dale.

I was still taking ibuprofen for the afterbirth pains, something I didn’t really remember doing after my previous two labors, but I reasoned that baby number three might have been the straw that broke my lower abdominal muscles.  I was sore and tired, but of course with my other two children I hadn’t had quite as much on my plate.  I had returned from the hospital to a needy twenty two month old, a seventh grader nearing midterms, a husband who was working eighteen hours a day, and a pile of email and website updates that could simply not wait.  When Michael slept I often was on my laptop, trying to play catch up.  While the fans were sympathetic to the fact that I was recovering from Michael’s birth, none of them were sympathetic enough to wait for several days while good seats at shows got snatched up by locals rather than the die hard fans who scoured my site multiple times a day for the latest news and information.

“Gee, thanks Dale,” I responded, easing myself off of the sofa to lay Michael in the stroller for a nap.  I gently put him down, tucked a blanket around him and gave Dale my best “See, I”m completely fine and no one should be able to tell that I just had a baby” smile.

“You should rest when the baby rests,” he responded, not taking the bait.  “We’re just painting today, nothing loud.  Seriously.”

I laughed.  “Thank you, Dr. Spock.  But I have way too much to get done while both kids are asleep to rest myself.”  I nodded to him, as if to signal the end of the conversation, and went about my business.

But he was right.  I didn’t feel right.  The cramps were still really painful, and I was a week out of birth.  The cramps should be mostly gone right now, and I should be done bleeding.  But I wasn’t.  The bleeding was still heavy, heavier than it had been a few days ago.  I sat at my computer, trying to focus on the redesign I was trying to finish up, when I felt something pull inside me.

I ran to the bathroom in time to see a clot the size of a large pancake expel itself from my body.

Something was definitely not right here.

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