I climbed onto the stretcher and made the midnight call to my husband – come back, we might be having our baby. Again, our car sat in the emergency room parking lot. Again, I was denied food in case we went into surgery. Again, I was hooked up to a magnesium drip, convinced my skin might be on fire and my blood was lava flowing through me. Again, I cried instead of sleeping.
We choked back emotions as we said goodbye for our first time in this new stage. We were supposed to be giggling, giddy for the birth of the baby that would take us from two to three, babymooning, putting together a nursery and dreaming of what life would be like in four months. Instead, Kevin walked out of my hospital room, retrieved our car from the emergency room parking lot and went home alone to the house I would not see again until our baby was born.
With pen and paper thrust toward me, Dr. D asked the question I’d never discussed with my husband, “Knowing the severe complications your baby may face due to prematurity, do you want us to take full resuscitation measures?” I frantically looked from person to person, trying to get a read on the room and have a conversation with my husband via our eyes alone. What was his stance? What is mine? Is this a situation where we go with our gut or is there a deeper level of thinking we’re supposed to reach in the next 25 seconds? I could throw up.
At 8:00am on the 25th of May, we made our first drive to the Grand Rapids Medical Mile. We navigated parking ramps, elevators named by colors, hallways named by numbers and the many offices packed into various buildings named by donors. We sat anxiously in the waiting room, hopeful not for a great outcome, but even just for some answers. I remember looking at the other couple in the waiting room and realizing I was in a place solely for people with botched pregnancies. How could I belong here?
I don’t know what people thought when they looked at me on Mother’s Day last year. Were their wishes hesitant? Did they make a conscious decision of what to say or not say to me before the even saw me? Did they wonder, like I did, if I would actually be a mother? I was in the darker side of the grey area that is a woman pregnant with her first child on Mother’s Day – with child, my body threatening to be without.
Sure, my womb was all but shutting down, but my baby was still thriving, and as long as she was thriving, there was no reason to change our course.
So we wait. I bleed. I cry. I pray. We wait.
We made the conscious decision to celebrate the gender reveal as if the real meat of this ultrasound wasn’t about placental problems. So off we went to the little, local hospital down the road on a Friday morning, my bladder full, my husband praying for a boy.
To this day, I still can’t really describe the devastation I felt on that day. I’d hoped so badly our pregnancy wouldn’t be defined by the havoc of our issues – that they might be temporary. But on this day, I lost all hope that things could return to normal.
In my heart, I fully believed we were starting our family with this pregnancy. But in my mind, what toyed with me, slaloming in and out of my thoughts, was that we might not even have a baby at the end of this. To go through so much and end up with nothing seemed too unfair to be possible.
The good days felt cruel. We could see right through them. Behind their transparent bliss lurked the bad days. We knew we weren’t out of the woods, but starting blood loss again was harder than starting it in the first place.