Tuesday, November 2, 2010
how can i write what happened?
when you're going through what may very well be the worst day of your life there's a part of you that wants to memorize every detail, engrave it in your mind so it can have the kind of permenance it deserves. but then there's an overwhelming feeling of dreaminess, like cuting through the water at the bottom of a pool. there's this need to protect yourself, to forget everything. to pretend the last 10 weeks have been a dream. the last year has been a dream. everything is a dream.
i can't say that everything i think happened happened exactly this way, all i can do is try and go through the days one by one and revisit what i remember.
on thursday night my friend sara arrived to spend the weekend with us. i was at choir practice when she and o picked me up. i was so excited to see her. i remember the choir director was complaining that i was taking too many breaths in the wrong places of the song. i almost told him i was pregnant, not that that had anything to do with it, but it had to do with everything then. every moment, every movement. i held back and didn't say it.
sara and o and i headed back to the house, ate a late dinner, talked late and went to bed. on friday i managed to get an ultrasound appointment for the next morning. i remember thinking, "maybe i should wait til after halloween so it isn't spoiled" but i brushed it off and was grateful that it was a saturday appt so that my husband could come with and finally see the baby. we had a dinner party for sara that night. it was amazing. if i could just go back to that night and live inside of it. i'd live that night forever. i was so happy to have my husband and my amazing friends and i was literally glowing all night. we laughed, we ate, we played guitar. we headed out to the karaoke bar at a little after midnight and when we got there o and i told everyone about the baby. it was amazing. i wish something had happened, i wish our lives had just stopped there.
the appointment for the ultrasound was at 7:15 AM. we'd gone to bed a little after 3 and i was in the bathroom most of the night because singing and talking had parched me and i'd had about 6 bottles of water. before the ultrasound i was supposed to drink 32 ounces of water and not pee for an hour.
o and i were so exhausted. we went to reception to check in and while we were sitting there the receptionist's computer froze. so we sat there for a good 10-15 minutes. at one point, not able to hold it any longer, i got up to use the restroom. when i came back and sat down in front of the desk with o, he pointed to the word "DELL" on the computer and said "can you imagine? our baby is as big as that D there. can you imagine that little D inside of you with squiggly arms and legs moving around in there?"
what did i respond? what did i say back? i honestly can't remember. was it really nothing? did i say anything to him when he said that? is that when i knew something was wrong?
after reception we headed into the radiology dept and had to wait some more. i got up to use the bathroom again and when i came out o and the radiology tech were standing outside the door. she was kind of pissed i used the bathroom and i told her i just went a little, i swear, just enough to take the edge off.
we went into the room and she asked me what my due date was and i told her it was the end of may, a gemini. i remember saying if it came out a taurus i'd have to push it back in. she told me her and her son were geminis. she made a joke about it and i told her to stop making me laugh or i'd pee all over her table. she said they were used to it.
when she put the transducer on my abdomen i thought i saw movement, i exhaled and said, "there he is!" and she visibly flinched. i remember the exact lines around her eyes when i said that. i remember the curve of her back and how she seemed to get shorter. i knew then.
"Are you sure about your dates?" she asked "because i definitely see a sac, but it looks more like 5 or 6 weeks"
what did i say? i'm sure i told her about the ultrasound at 6 weeks, how i saw the heartbeat. how that tech turned the screen towards me and showed me that little pulse. she used thermal imaging so i could get a better idea of the size and where the heartbeat was. she told me my dates were spot on. i watched the pulse for what seemed like forever. i think i even asked where i could buy one of these machines. but what did i say when this tech asked me? nothing? everything?
she said she needed to do a transvaginal, to get undressed and lay down. she left the room. i looked at orion. what did i say? did i tell him it was over or did i only think it? his face was a mirror of my own. we both started crying.
she came back and inserted the ultrasound wand. i watched the screen for a moment, for a miracle and turned away when i started sobbing. was that me crying or orion? who touched my leg? the tech or my husband? did she look at him? did she tell us she was sorry. what happened? what actual words were spoken? all i remember was the way the examining table was against the wall and the sound my sobs made bouncing back off it.
at some point she got what she needed and left. and then what? what did my husband and i say to each other? did i get dressed? did i get up? how long did it take? at some point she knocked to come back in and i told her i wasn't dressed yet. or my husband did. and she went away again. we held each other and wept.
she came back and said she had paged my midwife, she asked if we could go back to the reception area and wait. at first i started to walk towards it and then i stopped. i couldn't. all those women with their big round bellies, all waiting to see their babies. i would be a train wreck, an atom bomb in the middle of the room for them. their worst nightmare sitting across from them. orion and i sat outside the exam room next to water cooler. at some point someone came up to fill their water bottle and apologized for intruding.
what did we do while we sat there? i lost all sense of time and language. i remember the feel of my husband's hand in mine. i remember his face looked exactly like mine. i remember the carpet was dirty and the chair was a little too small. the sound the water cooler made, how i thought my chest was making that dropping noise. the nurses who didn't look at us sitting there. how long were we sitting there?
the tech came back, asked if we could pick up the phone in recpetion. we could not. she led us to the nurses office and we sat at a desk and picked up the phone. the midwife was one i hadn't met before. what did she say? "grace" someone had told her my name. "i'm so sorry" and then i broke. i have nothing after that. what did she say? what did i say? all i remember was crying.
i tried to get myself in order. we had to walk down the hall and out the door and past the maternity area. i put on my sunglasses and we left.
when we got the car i called my mom. i can't remember what i said, what she said. she picked up on the second ring, it was like she was waiting to hear from me. "mom-" i choked out. she knew before i even said the words, she started crying before i did. we went home and i had to wake sara up, tell her what happened, ask her to stay somewhere else. what i say to her? what were the actual words i used? she packed her things and made a phone call. at some point she tried to crack a joke and i remember the weirdness of the sound, her hair all mussed. it was a little after 9AM.
O and i tried to go back to sleep. we were exhausted. we clung to each other and sobbed. i cried even in my sleep. my eyelashes stuck together when i woke up. i had a dream. i woke up saying, "don't go little buddy." my husband broke.
I hadn't eaten, i couldn't eat but i still had all my pregnancy symptoms because i was taking the progesterone. my morning sickness kicked in and i started throwing up. i couldn't stop. i kept dry heaving. i laid down on the bathroom floor. orion said something about the cruelty of pregnancy symptoms. about cruelty. about god. i took some ambien and finally passed out.
i got up sure there had been a mistake. something was not right. i saw that baby at six weeks. i had a picture of it. where did it go? i paged the midwife on call. when she called me back i wasn't crying, or i was but i didn't want to be. "i know that baby was in there! i saw it!" she talked to me about the progesterone, asked me why i wanted this ultrasound, had pushed for it so badly. i remember my own words to Gina (the other midwife) the day before: "i just have this nagging feeling like the baby has passed and my body can't miscarry it because of the progesterone. i just can't shake it. i feel like there isn't even a baby in there anymore." had i really been right? where did that come from? i remember asking if the progesterone injections would force the baby to stay in me if it passed and Gina trying to reassure me.
the baby had passed, and because my body couldn't eliminate it it had started to reabsorb it. I asked the midwife on call to read me the radiology report. "decomposing... misshapen sac... measuring approx. 5 weeks... no fetal heartbeat... no fetal pole... blood in the uterus" she stopped. "do you understand?" i didn't. "is it possible that i lost the baby when i was spotting and got pregnant again and this is a new sac, a new pregnancy?" no, that wasn't possible. maybe i didn't even say that. maybe i just asked if there could be a mistake, if the baby could be hiding, if maybe they couldn't see it because i was so fat. i said everything, or maybe i just thought it. i can't remember.
we went for a drive. i sent an email to my girlfriends. i got phonecalls all day and didn't answer them. we laid in bed. we watched Adams Family movies and Farenheit 9/11. we cried all day. we held each other and cried all day. i wouldn't let orion touch my stomach, i kept catching myself about to rub my belly. we told the baby we loved it. we told her we were so happy we got to be her parents. we said goodbye.