June 29 into June 30, 2012
A year ago at this time I stared at the white ceiling, then at the cabinets around my bed. A horrid shade of light pink shelving. My eyes then whirred around and caught light reflecting on the window. After watching the hues of the brick building next to mine shift and darken, I stared back up at the ceiling.
I was alone in the hospital.
My husband had gone home and put the kids to bed and the nurses wouldn't need to monitor contractions for several hours or until I felt them again myself. They'd stopped for now, so all was still. I could stop trying to be strong, stop trying to seem rational and put together about all this. I didn't need to gather information anymore or even hold a conversation. In short, I could cry.
But I didn't. Not right away. My brain was still whirring.
How did I get here? Was this the beginning of the end of this pregnancy, the end of this half pound being in my belly? Was this a death? It would have been, it could have been. If I had stayed at work and then gone home and had the picnic, ignored the barely perceptible contractions -- what then? I knew what then. I'd read the tear-filled posts by other moms on the board for incompetent cervices. But that was not my path. Why wasn't it my path? And now? Now that I'm here, what now?
The doctor had talked about a circlage, but said that in cases of prolapsing membranes, a circlage was risky. He also said that it might not be an incompetent cervix. I wasn't very effaced, as is usual for incompetent cervices. And if it wasn't my cervix, it was labor. And tying my cervix shut wouldn't stop that long term.
But I wanted to fix this. I wanted the hospital to find a way to keep him in. Because if we didn't... if I didn't do anything, what then?
He would be born, but he would not live. Could it be a death if the baby wasn't viable? It would hurt us as if it were a death. My family would rally around us. They'd understand our grief. But it wouldn't be a baby, would it? Not officially. Probably no funeral. No. I'd have a funeral. No. I didn't want this being to die.
My eyes fixated on a point on the ceiling, a tile just above the bed, turning grey as the late summer dusk called in the night.
I didn't want him to die.
I started crying. And praying. Then sobbing.
"God, this child is yours. He's always been yours. I can't hold him anymore. Please, hold him. He's yours. Protect him. Please take him. I can't. My body isn't carrying him well any more. Please take him, hold him."
Realizing how "please take him" could sound, but not wanting to be too presumptuous, in an even quieter, stiller voice, my soul, like the voice of a timid child, cried, "please, don't let him die. Don't take him back. You gave him to us. Please don't take him back. Not yet."
At some point all parents realize that their children aren't really "theirs." I had to face that fact early with my son. In the middle of the night, on a hospital bed, only days away from the day he'd be born.
Sorrow turned to anger and then back again to sorrow. In the still of the now fully descended night, I fought with God. I cried and I sobbed. I pleaded and I prayed. This wasn't right. I was grateful to be here, yes, to still have a chance for this baby, yes, but I was losing so much. I might even be losing him. I was on strict bedrest now. Probably for five months. What about work? My summer fun with my kids? The beach. My pregnancy swimsuit that I'd only worn once so far. My marriage. Gardening. This baby. Mostly this baby. I thought I'd gotten over that miscarriage hump. I'd thought he was a sure thing now. Healthy and strong, heart beating well. I'd thought he was ours.
I wrestled. I mourned. I wanted some answers or peace, something that said everything would be okay.
And then I got it. Not an answer, but a response nonetheless. "I am here."
That was it. No assurances, no peek into the future. Just "I am here."
But that was enough.
"Thank you." I replied. A few more tears came.
Salt on my cheeks, I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.
6/29/13 - Today my baby Jonathan sat up for the first time that sort of counted. I mean to say he stayed seated for more than ten seconds without me holding him. Up until now the record has been three seconds. He giggled with the girls who read him a book on the floor. He's still a little tender and more prone to crying than usual, hang overs from Wednesday's surgery, but for the most part that seems behind him and he's so happy.
He fed himself applesauce for lunch. THAT was a mess, but he was very pleased with his accomplishment. He'll be one next month.