30 May 2010

May 31st

Terry calls our midwife at 3:30 a.m. and mostly, I am concerned about waking her up, about the hour of the day, and I keep thinking, what if I'm wrong. Please be wrong. Who calls their midwife at 3:30 a.m.?"

Now, of course, this seems absurd. Ridiculous.

But then, I wanted everything about the moment to be wrong. I wanted to be wrong.

I wanted my baby to move.


Then there is the very real problem of the two other children fast asleep in our home, and so I reassure Terry that everything will be okay, and Tamy reassures me, and I get in the car and drive myself to Tamy's office alone while Terry stays behind with the children.


I am certain we will do a quick check and at worst, the baby's heart rate has slowed, and maybe, just maybe, I will be induced today and deliver our baby early.

Please just move.

I arrive at Tamy's office shortly after her, and she calmly tells me that we will check the heart rate with her doppler. She listens. I watch for signs. I watch her eyes. She hears something. Something. She is not sure though if the heart beat is mine or the baby's. I hold on to the something. Anything.


And so we both decide that going to a hospital is best.

I call Terry, and he has to call a friend to see if she would mind coming over. It's 5 a.m. on a Saturday. Who do you call at 5 a.m. on a Saturday to come to your house? Who do you call to wake up so early in the morning?

The children sleep.

Terry arrives at the hospital just as the technician, who is also woken up, arrives at the hospital.

She wheels in her machine.

The nurses stand toward the back of the room.

My doctor is out of town. They are trying to find another doctor.

Terry holds my hand while sitting in the chair next to the bed. Tamy stands at my feet. There is silence.

The gel goes on my tummy. More silence.


The technician quietly goes about moving the doppler across my tummy.

And now it all seems so ridiculous. The way the conversation went.

"Here is the baby's head," she says. "Here are the arms. The legs." She moves the doppler over my belly. "The spine."

No one says a word.

I watch eyes. I see the outline of the spine, the head, the neck.

I have to ask. I can't believe I have to ask, but I have to ask.

"And her heart?" I ask with a wide-open question mark at the end.

"Her heart beat?" I ask again.

There is an exchange of eyes once more.

"We are supposed to wait for your doctor to arrive," the technician says. "I am not supposed to say anything, but since your midwife is here..." she trails off.

More eyes.


"I'm sorry," she says. "I'm so sorry. There is no heartbeat."

The silence is heart-wrenching, surreal.

The world spins in the wrong direction.

"Can you tell me what the baby is? Can you tell me if it is a boy or a girl?"

"A girl," she says. "A little girl."

Move, goddammit, move.

The nurses begin to back out of the room.

I can hear Terry crying in the chair next to me.

My body is cold, so cold. The room is shrinking and growing all at the same time. I go numb. It's as if my entire self in some kind of protective measure tries to completely shut down. I cannot cry. I cannot move. I am shaking.

I only hear the pounding of my own heart.

The technician mumbles that she'll give us a few minutes, and she walks out of the room.

I can't understand anything that is going on. There is nothing anymore, nothing for a very long time that will ever make any sense. And some things will never make sense ever again.

May 31st has just begun, and it will be a very long day.

Some things about the day will be etched into my body forever. Everything runs into itself as one big, long paragraph without a beginning or end.

6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, and most of Spokane is still asleep.

My baby shower is still being planned for the next day. Sunday.

And for one absurd moment, I worry about needing to cancel the baby shower.

Someone, somewhere pours herself a cup of coffee.

Someone, somewhere is reading the morning paper.

And someone in the hospital just told me that I will need to deliver this baby vaginally. That I will need to be induced.

And I will give birth to death.

The world continues to spin in all the wrong directions.

May 31st.


Maryanne said...

oh Sarah, I didn't know. I am crying and so sorry.

your writing is beautiful

thislovelyjourney said...

Your remembrances of Grace always make me hold my babies closer and kiss them more often. For that, I thank you. And Terry. And Grace.

Kathryn @ Expectant Hearts said...

Sarah, you are such an amazing writer.. with an ability to put us with you right back in that moment.. I'm sorry...

Barbara said...

Sarah, I feel so privileged to have gone on this sacred journey with you now and so sorry that I could not have held you or touched your life in some way then. Your writing is both captivating and wrenching.

Sarah Bain said...

Thanks to all of you and Anne, truly, holding babies for so long was so painful and now it is so healing. I may just have to come daily to hold little Matthew. He is stunningly beautiful. I am glad now that we are neighbors!

Terry said...

And I still hold my breath...
still holding...
maybe this time...
I love you...