Nearly four years I was involved in a very personal tragedy. Three days before going on a three day weekend trip to the-middle-of-nowhere-Texas I learned that I was pregnant. I had noticed that my body was changing one day while sitting in Art 102, which I was taking for Summer School. After class one day I decided to buy a pregnancy test kit. I had to confirm what my body was telling me.
I had made no decisions. I had not told the father. I just went to Texas as planned. The plans were set in stone. I couldn’t not go. So I went. I was at the LAX airport at 5 a.m. when I first started to feel, well, funny. I felt feverish. Sweaty. Exhausted. I chalked it up to being nervous. I arrived in Fort Worth/Dallas and immediately started running for my next flight to Austin, which was leaving one hour after I landed. And then I just started to feel even worse. I was completely disoriented. I didn’t know where I was. Where I was going. And yet, somehow I got on my next plane.
Mid flight is when it hit me. I was losing the baby. A baby I barely knew or understood. I hadn’t even heard his/her heartbeat. I hadn’t felt him/her swimming around in it’s little cave. The cramping was so intense. It felt like someone continually knocked the wind out of me. We landed and I ran to the bathroom. Nothing. I ran to one of the terminal shops for pads. Nothing.
I met with my friends mother and we drove three hours to our destination. We stopped once at a small Blue Bunny ice cream shop. We both ordered double scoops of Butter Pecan that immediately started to melt and leak from the little sugar cones in the summer heat. She held my cone when I had this urge. I sat on the toilet for what seems like hours feeling the blood rush from my body. The cramping intensified as I held on tightly to the steel handle that sat next to the toilet. What was the handle for? Disabled people? Or girls who miscarried in the-middle-of-nowhere-Texas and had to stop at the closet thing that had a somewhat clean bathroom?
That evening, in the hotel bathroom, I just sat under the spray of the shower. I allowed my body to purge itself. I said my goodbyes to someone I didn’t know. Someone I would never know.
Fast forward to January 06. Shawn and I had only been together for about a month and a half before I got pregnant, for the third time. I knew it the weekend of his birthday when the morning sickness flooded my mouth. He knew it too. Neither of us said a word. We knew that we would just do what we had to do. Afterall, what other options are there? But this would be the second time that I wouldn’t get to know the little creature that found it’s way into my stomach. And heart. A week later it started all over again. I laid on my bed with my legs up. Hoping. Waiting. Praying. I watched every minute tick by on the digital clock on the stereo. I counted to 60. I counted every minute. Until I could no longer count. And then I cried. I got on my hands and knees and screamed. Shawn held me and told me everything would be ok. He looked into my eyes and asked, “Do you want a baby?”. It sounded like a dumb question but I realized at once that we both wanted the same thing. A family. Just one more person to love.
What makes me think of these things? What makes me question the inevitable? I started reading a new Jodi Picoult book that’s about “wrongful birth”. There was a comment that a priest says about life’s struggles. He says that God doesn’t give people more than they can handle. In ways I never understood, I can agree to this. I have to believe there is something better. I didn’t have a chance to name them, to know if they were blonde boys or brunette girls. I didn’t have a chance to hold them, to know if they have a birthmark on their right hip like me and Jem. I didn’t have the chance to buy them Onesies and jammies with feet, to breathe them in and never forget their scent.
It all came as a rush when Scout finally said, “I wuv you mama”. And then when she walked away with her baby swaddled in a fleece blanket imprinted with kitty cats. I hope she will hold onto her baby for as long as she can. I still do.
Scout’s Baby, “Dot Dolly” pattern from Herbst’s Etsy Shop