The Accident

As long as I’m writing about scary things I’d rather not have gone through, I might as well write this one up, too.

The last Thursday in March I got into a car wreck. It started hailing as I entered the interstate, southbound from Salt Lake. Ruby and I had dropped Wesley off at the airport and then had lunch with Kyle (I mean, if we’re in Salt Lake we might as well see Kyle). As I was getting up to speed, my car hydroplaned and crashed into the concrete barrier.

Everything seemed to stand still as I pulled out my phone to call 911. The adrenaline secreting through my body made my motions seem sluggish and disoriented. It seemed to me that there was tangible time between dialing a number and the number appearing on screen, although there is usually no discernible difference between touching the screen and having it react.

Ruby, in the back of the car, was totally ok. She was the first thing I looked at after the accident, and she just looked at me with her big, brown eyes. Didn’t even cry. I’m not sure she even recognized that anything had happened. Since her carseat is still rear facing, she took the entirety of the accident in her cushy carseat, and she never displayed any indication that she had been hurt by the accident. The worst thing was that she missed her nap that day because of the chaos and took a few days readjusting from it.

A couple of men who were getting on the interstate behind me saw the accident and pulled off to the side of the road to help me. They seemed like construction workers, and they helped me get my car out of the flow of traffic, helped me locate my glasses (which I can barely see without, so it was adding to my disorientation), and stayed with me until rescue workers arrived.

I felt ok, nothing hurt. Everybody kept asking if I was ok, and all I could say was that I was shaken up by what had happened, but otherwise all right. I could see the burn of where the seatbelt had caught me on my neck, but through the shock and adrenaline, I couldn’t feel it yet.

A couple of off duty highway patrolmen stopped by, as well, to make sure that everything was ok before the emergency team got there. When the EMTs arrived, they got my vitals and looked me over. My blood pressure and heart rate were high, but that’s fairly normal for this kind of situation. I could feel the baby moving, and I wasn’t contracting, so I was pretty sure that physically I was ok. Judging by the seatbelt burn, I am really grateful that I was wearing my seatbelt.

The on duty highway patrolman had arrived, and he declared my car undrivable, and offered to drop us off at Kyle’s office. We filled out paperwork for about an hour, and then he took me and Ruby back to Kyle’s office. Ruby seemed to think that being in the cage of a cop’s car was pretty cool.

Kyle took the rest of the day off, a co-worker dropped us off at the FrontRunner station, and we took the train back to Orem, where Kyle’s car was parked. I called my midwife, and she told me a couple of things to keep an eye out for. Amy brought us dinner. I was slowly calming down from the accident, and the physical ramifications of the accident were slowly manifesting. Mostly, the seatbelt burn hurt and I was sore across my chest where the seatbelt had caught me.

That night I started vomiting over and over again; when I called my midwife she recommended I get looked at. So we went to Labor and Delivery at the hospital, which is where they handle post-motor vehicle accident pregnant ladies. They hooked me up to fetal monitoring, and everything with the baby looked fine. They gave me an IV and some anti-nausea medicine. About two and a half hours later I was done with a clean bill of health for both me and the baby, with instructions to come back if anything looked amiss. As far as we can tell, the vomiting was my body reacting to the stress and trauma of the situation.

I had been a little nervous about going to the hospital; I was afraid that baby would be in distress and they would want to induce. Fortunately, I was 36 weeks which meant that if they’d induced, the baby probably would have been fine. If that had been best we would have induced, but I wasn’t really in a great position physically (so sore!) or mentally (still kind of freaked out!) to be going through labor. So when the nurse hooked up the fetal monitors, and baby’s heartbeat and brain activity were looking totally normal, it was a huge relief to me. I was also nervous about getting bad reactions to the news that we’ve been planning a home birth, but everyone that we talked to at the hospital was really kind and positive about it. They put my information into the system so that if we end up with a hospital transfer there will be less paperwork. A few days later, a hospital clerk called me to get some more information since I’m technically registered at the hospital for delivery now. When I explained to him why they had put my information on there, he made a note on my file and told me that he thought it was a good idea to have a backup plan, but was otherwise very congenial about it. It was actually very reassuring to have the hospital staff be so accepting and kind about our plans.

I left the hospital feeling like a new person. The IV drip had rehydrated me after the vomiting, the anti-nausea medicine had calmed my stomach, and the fetal monitoring had calmed my nerves. Before we got checked out, I had felt pretty confident that nothing was wrong with the baby, but it turned out to be tremendously reassuring to know for sure.

I took it easy over the weekend, some lovely people brought us a couple of dinners, and I was able to handle my responsibilities all the following week. Which is good because Kyle had to work really late the following Monday and Tuesday to make up for all the time he missed at work. So it was good that I was feeling better, albeit sore.

At this point, most of the soreness has passed. It’s been about a week and a half, and I’m glad for the distance from the accident. I’m tremendously grateful that nobody was injured seriously, especially the kids. It’s probably just about the scariest experience I’ve ever had in my life. Ever since the accident, I’ve been particularly grateful for little things like hearing Kyle read subversive bedtime stories at night, tiny hugs and kisses from Miss Ruby, and for a thousand other small things. Thanks be to God that we’re all alright.

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