When my alarm went off Monday morning, it just wasn't a good scene. I was that kind of tired where you feel like punching somebody. You know, because you are so tired. And that seems like the only logical solution. I somehow made it out of the bed and into the shower, into my clothes and into the car so J could get me to the station for the 6:53 train to New York City. And the minute I'd boarded and settled in to my window seat, I leaned my head against the wall in hopes of getting a little more sleep before the work day began.
I drifted off for a while, as the seats next to me filled up and the car got more and more crowded, and I came to sometime after we'd stopped in Fairfield and were on the express route to Grand Central.
I was hot when I woke up. Like, really extremely hot. They'd jacked up the heat that morning, I suppose because of the unseasonably cold temperatures, and I'd been leaning against the vent as I slept. I took off the cardigan I was wearing, but that didn't help. I kept getting hotter. Then my stomach didn't feel quite right. Then my vision started to go a little blurry. I realized I was about to pass out or something.
You know what the worst place to be is if you feel like you're going to pass out or something? The window seat of the three seater aisle on a crowded train that is on the express route to New York City and won't be stopping anytime soon.
I knew I needed to lie down. I mean, it wasn't as though I was going to die or anything, I was fully conscious, and not even panicking, I just needed to lie down. But, of course, I came to the awful realization that if I wanted to lie down, I was going to have to make at least a little bit of a scene, because those ladies sitting next to me? They were going to have to move.
I tried my best to get over it. I sat back, took some deep breaths and closed my eyes, but I just felt worse, so I resigned myself to the inevitable, and in my most polite voice, told the women that I "didn't feel very well, sort of like I'm about to pass out, and I'm five months pregnant, and would you mind getting the conductor for me?"
Great, I thought, now everyone knows. No one made too much of a fuss though, thank God, as I put my head down and pulled my knees up towards my chest, as my seat companions, who'd graciously and quickly gotten up to make room for me, suggested.
Within seconds I felt 100 percent better. I guess I just needed to put my head down, like I'd thought, so my circulation could get back to normal. But I'd already set the wheels in motion, as I knew would happen when I realized I had to go public, and a few minutes later the conductor (Why had I asked for the conductor? It had seemed like the right thing, but what could he really do for me?) appeared in the aisle with a banana and a bottle of water.
I sincerely like most of the Metro North conductors I've met, but this one could not have been more unfriendly. He all but threw the items at me, told me to "eat that," and away he went, almost as though he had seen it all before and I was just another pregnant woman causing problems on the train, and couldn't I see he was busy? And how could I have let this happen?
I did what he said, though, peeled the banana and started to eat, because I figured it could only help, and I was taking my first bite I saw a very tall gentleman walking through the train car, calling out, "Where is the girl who is not feeling well?" and I had to raise my hand and say, "Oh, that's me," despite kind of wanting to jump out the window. Jumping out the window at that point seemed like the best option.
The man was very nice, though, I've got to admit, and asked if I'd like him to test my blood sugar levels, to see if maybe I was hypoglycemic, and I said sure, and was offering my index finger as I finished the rest of the banana, when I realized I had no idea who in the world this man was, and stopped him so I could ask, "Wait, are you a doctor?"
A registered nurse, he replied, and I happily gave him back my hand.
My blood sugar was fine, I was fine, and we all returned to our regular activities.
When I got to Grand Central I called my doctor's office to ask them if I should be concerned, and the nurse told me that feeling faint while pregnant is actually fairly common, that I'd done the right thing by lying down and that she was nearly positive nothing was wrong, but since this was my first pregnancy and it had never happened to me before, maybe I should come in for a quick visit that afternoon and get checked out.
So I called my office and told them I'd be taking a sick day, I called J and asked him if he could pick me up in a couple hours, I got a scone, so no one could accuse me of not eating enough, and I got right back on the train heading back towards New Haven.
The rest of the day was rather uneventful and even pleasant. I slept almost the entire train ride home. J picked me up, got me some lunch and made sure I was ok, and I slept a little more before he took me to my appointment, where he patiently waited with me, sitting on a chair in the corner while I sat up on the examination table, for the doctor to show. We laughed, thinking up ridiculous baby names.
After a quick check - my blood pressure and the baby's heart rate were both just fine - the doctor declared that "pregnant women are simply more prone to fainting." I told her that yes, I'd heard that. We talked about the fact that I've been really good about eating enough, but probably didn't get enough breakfast before leaving the house that morning, and how if I felt that way again, the best thing to do is lie down, like I did, although if it happens again on the train I'm probably going to opt for the jumping out the window routine.
I didn't like what happened, not at all. Besides being a pretty stressful way to spend the morning, I don't like feeling weak, and even though I'm well aware that "pregnant women are simply more prone to fainting," I, personally, like to think I can somehow avoid it anyway. That maybe I'm somehow better and stronger than everyone else.
Which, of course, I'm not.
When annoying or bad things like this happen, I like to at least try and look for a positive, and there are a couple in this instance. I caught up on some sleep I probably badly needed, for one thing.
There were also a few wonderful moments of female unity in the midst of all the commotion that morning. One of the women sitting next to me reassuringly told me that she'd fainted on the train when she was pregnant so she understood, and the other, who had been sitting on the far end of our row and had gone to find the conductor for me, told me upon returning to her seat that some man she'd encountered in another car had the nerve to say that "They shouldn't allow pregnant women on the train."
She told me she looked right at him and asked "And how many babies have you had?" Then she smiled at me and said in a conspiratorial whisper, "If men had to have babies, the world would end."