Posted on | May 4, 2016 | 11 Comments
It was a busy morning… like all mornings are when you’re juggling getting ready for work with pregnancy, fixing breakfast, and mothering a six year old. There were the normal fights over what to wear (both mine and his) and the battle of “just try one bite or no (insert some sort of bonus)” between Banks and J.
It was, by all accounts, just a normal morning.
There was a twinge of sadness in the air, mine, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I just felt… off. As a result, I was a bit more subdued, a little less exuberant about heading out the door and getting J to school.
We had pulled out of the driveway and started down the street when all of a sudden, the silence of the car was broken by a sweet, tender voice.
“Oooooh. Oooooooooooooh. Oooooh. Ooooooooooooooh…”
I smiled a little and looked back in my rearview mirror. There was J, buckled in and clutching his lunchbox.
“I had a dream so big and loud, I jumped so high I touched the clouds…Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-a-ohhhh”
He was singing. He was singing about how it was going to be the best day of his life. His li-i-i-i-i-i-ife.
And something in his high tenor struck me and suddenly my tears began to fall uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop. I cried all the way to his school and after I dropped him off, I called Banks and cried some more. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something terrible was going to happen. It was J’s first field trip for school so we thought maybe, just maybe that was all it was. Maybe I was sad because my little boy was growing up. Maybe it was just the pregnancy hormones that made me feel like somehow I was never going to see my child again… like something awful was going to happen and it wouldn’t, ever, be the best day of our lives.
But Banks eventually calmed me down.
I went to work. I did a few lawyerly things.
And it wasn’t until 9:00am that the bleeding began.
By 9:30 I was in my OB’s office. I waited an eternity filled with smiling pregnant women and exhausted mothers with the tiniest of infants in carriers beside them.
Finally they called my name and I shuffled, eyes downcast as though I had shamed myself before these women… as though I’d done something wrong that had left me on the other side of their happy. I couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t smile at the babies who cooed and smacked in my direction.
The ultrasound nurse was kind but she kept the screen tilted away from me. I heard the click and pull of each measurement, each silent picture of what was happening inside me. Still no one spoke. The doctor came in and in a moment his voice pounded out into the silence:
“Measure it again,” he said.
And I knew.
I knew what they weren’t saying a moment before they said it. Just no heartbeat. No growth for two weeks. The baby was gone.
The baby is gone.
They gave me a room to cry in then walked me out the back door into the cold lobby. With no pregnant women to watch me pass, I let the tears fall. I went home, alone, to wait for Banks to arrive… to wait for the hospital to call to schedule the procedure that would take away what was left of the life I never had a chance to know.
They called around 1 and we went back to the doctor, ushered into a room with a giant wire torso of a pregnant woman hanging from the wall. Around her belly a gaping red sash hung like the beginnings of my nightmare.
There were papers to sign and date and initial and then we were sent to the hospital for a backless green gown and white knee high stockings.
“Are you pregnant,” the woman asked at the check in, and the tears began again as I whispered out “Not anymore.”
And then they took me back to my room to wait the few hours before and until it would all be over. I thought it would just be me and Banks. I thought we would stare at each other and cry.
But we were not alone from the moment the first nurse came into the room.
My hours there were suddenly full of women with hugs and stories of loss that they whispered and braided around me until I was encapsulated by their strength. My nurse suffered through two losses. My anesthesiologist assistant, five. They held my hands and squeezed and nodded and just… Knew. They knew the way only women can. They caught and dried my tears before they fell. They brought me into their arms and rocked me gently into the sleep I needed to carry on with the task ahead of me.
In a moment I was asleep.
And then, a tiny lifetime later, I was awake.
But our baby is gone.
And for all of their strength and compassion, I am still broken.