Yesterday, I had to head by the hospital to have blood work done before my big c-section.

The way it works is you just show up anytime between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm at the main lobby - there's no appointment. They direct you to the registration desk, where you prove you can and promise you will... pay for any- and every-thing they decide to do to you including the "mucus recovery system" you didn't ask for or need. Also, they make you sign a document saying you have read and understood the Patient Rights Pamphlet, however, no one will give you a copy of the Patient Rights Pamphlet until you are actually admitted a day later. In the document
that says you read and understood it (the one that you can't be admitted to the hospital without signing), it also says you will get the Patient Rights Pamphlet once you get to your hospital room. Yeah, that makes sense.

When you walk up to the registration area, there's a woman with a clipboard standing there who wants to take down your name and tells you to sit far away from other patients. She will call you when an admittance clerk is ready so you can't listen in on those who are currently discussing their medical conditions and insurance status. You are not allowed to stand too close to them, HIPAA regulations and all, lest you overhear that the guy in front of you who has a pulmonary condition and is planning surgery to correct it but he's had to wait until his wife was well enough to care for herself while he was in the hospital with his pulmonary condition and he doesn't know if his insurance will cover all the cost for this surgery for his pulmonary condition but his doctor says it doesn't matter because he really needs this operation for his pulmonary condition and can he get lunch in the hospital cafeteria after this even though he has this pulmonary condition? But if that guy simply lacks the ability to modulate the decibel level of his voice, you will hear anyway... along with about 100 of your closest friends in the waiting room. I'm not sure what HIPAA has to say about that.

When I walked up to the woman with the clipboard, I started with my explanation, "I'm here to..."

She took a look at me and interrupted, "You're having a c-section tomorrow and you're here today to do the type and cross and meet with the anesthesiologist?"

Me: "Um... yeah." (??!!)

She looked down once at The Dormouse, who was standing next to me, and said, "You had her here too, didn't you? Upstairs right?" *points to the area of the hospital where the maternity wing used to be*

Me: "Um... yeah again." (
am now just a little creeped out - do I have a sign on my forehead or something?)

"OK, what's your name?"

Me: "You mean you don't know that already?"

She claimed she remembered me from four years ago, but I really think she only recognized me from the
RhoGAM shot I went in for a few weeks ago. And she probably got the c-section thing because the place was lousy with 9-month pregnant women waddling around. Why else would I be there? If I was in labor, I'd be at the emergency entrance. Right? Right?

Once I was "in the system", they sent me down to ambulatory care to wait for the lab folks to become available. The KingofHearts had arranged to be off work so that we'd have child care for The Dormouse in case this took a long time. I settled in for a long winters' nap, given my experience waiting before.

Immediately upon sitting down, the Dormouse announced that she had to go to the bathroom, so KoH took her hand and led her off while I waited for my name to be called, not believing that it ever would in a million years.
They weren't gone three seconds when the nurse stood at the door and hollered "Mrs. Alice?" into the crowded lobby. I walked in and she had me sit down. In the process of two minutes, she had drawn blood, checked off all the information she needed for her chart, given me instructions to follow for the surgery and shooed me out. Except for one quick moment where she was moving so fast, I thought she might stab the needle in my eye, it was uneventful. I was back to my seat in the lobby before The Dormouse got out of the bathroom.

Would that my surgery goes as quickly.

I'm anxious to meet this baby. Anxious to see her greet the world. Anxious for her to meet her big sister.
Anxious for her to tell us what her name is going to be (they do tell you right? Because we are no closer to a chosen name than we were eight months ago. This baby has a very real chance of being named "Three".) Anxious to find out if she's healthy. And - ok, I'll just say it even though the superstitious little old man part of my brain feels I'll jinx the last statement by writing this out loud - anxious for an end to all the pre-ecclampsia, big feet, round ligament pain, numb and tingling fingers, heartburn, shortness of breath, crackling in my ears, mobility problems, and cramping toes that delivery is pretty much a cure for. You'd think after three pregnancies, I'd get used to this "sharing my body with another human being", or at least my body would get better at it, but it seems, much like getting an advance copy of the Patient's Right Pamphlet, no such luck.

Today is the big day... so I'm guessing it'll be at least awhile before I get back to the regular blogging... Unless, of course, I figure out how to break into the hospital's email system and get some work done from my hospital bed. thereby prolonging my maternity leave. (You laugh, but it wouldn't be the first time.) In the meantime, check here for updates and possible "live blogging" the event as it unfolds minute by minute. Or at least live blogging how it might go in my friend's imaginations. That'll probably be more entertaining anyway.