Oh Baby, Oh Baby
Some days you wake up and the universe hands you things that you are not prepared for, but you are always able to work with it, or you never would have been dealt this hand in the first place. Today was one of those days. This morning my husband and I woke up like little kids on Christmas; today was our first ultrasound, & at 16 weeks, I could barley wait any longer to find out what kind and how many little ones we were having!
Our visit with our midwives the week before consisted of discussing my light and irregular spotting, as well as we were unable to find a fetal heart beat. They decided to send me for an early ultrasound, instead of waiting until the usual 18 to 20 weeks to find out what was happening. I was not worried at all and practically floated out of the office that day.
We arrived at the clinic, and took our seats. A woman with a nice smile walked us into the dimly lit room, I hopped up on the table and we reviewed the reasons for me being there. Lots of warm jelly and a few minutes later, we decided to do a vaginal ultrasound, as what was showing up on the screen was too hard to see.
The obstetrician came into the room at this point, introduced himself, and proceeded to the computer screen. They both stood there, just staring off at the monitor; their mouths slightly open, their heads slightly cocked, suspending their breath in midair, almost like they were seeing into the future, penetrating some crack between distant dimensions. It seemed funny to me that there wasn’t a bag of popcorn in his hand. What came next was something I was totally unprepared for.
“I am afraid the only news we have for you is not good news.” I felt my husband’s hand tighten around my thigh. “You are carrying a baby that miscarried seven weeks ago, it should be around 10 inches in length and it is only two. We are so sorry, would you like to see what we are looking at?” I felt my heart sink, only a little, as it so tends to do in situations that require my strength and vulnerability simultaneously. “Yes,” I pipe up, “I would.” A giant screen flashes on in front of me and there it is, a giant bubble floating there like a popped balloon, slowly deflating. In the center, a tiny being, no heart beat pulsing on the screen, just floating there, dancing slowly somewhere between time and space. I almost feel distant from my body and the room; you wait your whole pregnancy to meet this being and finally when you do, all that’s left is a shell, this little soul took flight long ago from this belly, without my even knowing it. There is something romantically haunting about the image on the screen and the feeling in my chest.
They offer up their condolences once again; as they know I miscarried at five weeks just six months before. The woman and man leave the room, almost like ghosts do; you don’t hear a door, they are just there and then they are gone. Blink, blink. In the dim darkness of the empty room, my husband and I embrace and begin to weep. Weep away all the expectations, all the love for this unborn baby and all our sorrow. There is an invisible black hole beneath us on the floor and it catches all our tears, all that is being shed, and sucks it across galaxies. Maybe a star is born somewhere else in the universe; that would be nice.
The door quietly opens after a thousand years and a pillar of light shines in from beneath the curtain. A kind voice asks into the darkness, “Are you okay?” All I can muster is, “Uh huh.” I pull myself up; in these situations, “Are you okay” really means, “Please hurry up now, there is a full waiting room of patients out front”. So we dry our tears, quick, quick and head out the door and into another door, where we discuss the suitable ways in which this full yet empty belly can let go and move on. Be strong, little warrior, be strong.
On our way out of the clinic, I go to the bathroom one last time. (Surprise, surprise at this point, I am well familiarized.) It isn’t until I step out of the stall, standing front of the big mirror and pull my shirt down over my big-little belly, when I lose it. Hot tears stream down my cheeks and I can barley see, but my hands can feel my big bump and my heart knows that it is empty inside. I feel like a little kid who got tricked; someone shows you a box of ice cream, except when you open it, there is nothing inside. At this point, all that comes up is, “Its not fair!” A voice inside my head is screaming it at full volume. All these beaming women around me with their beaming bellies, so why me? Why was mine the one taken away? I know that I will never know, as you never can in situations like these, but it feels necessary to ask.
As it all comes out, in my restroom confessional, my level-headedness and breath begin to come back to me, slowly, slowly. I am a believer in karma, yes, and maybe this is straightening out mine, or this little being’s, somewhere along the line. I am also a believer that the universe is always unfolding, as she always has and always will, with you and I, and us all in it. I take a deep breath; the first sign that yes, I can get through this. I take another, even deeper breath, another sign that I am strong and this is not the end, this is only one chapter in the story of my life.
I look up into the mirror and give myself a gentle smile. Hi, I love you kiddo, don’t ever forget it. I stuff my pockets with toilet paper; a warrior readying her satchel for the journey ahead. I stand up straight and walk out the door, straight into my husband’s arms. This hug is eternal and healing, for all three of us.
We walk, hand in hand, out where the slate grey streets meet the slate grey sky. The cool January air feels good on my face, it feels fresh, and penetrates my body and mind with a much-needed clarity. I instantly feel lighter. I embrace my husband once more, he feels so good right now, medicine for my soul. My belly sits snug between us, it needs a hug too, I guess. I look into his eyes; they are raw with emotion and filled with hope. I feel it too, babycakes, I feel it too. We both take a big deep breath of fresh air into our lungs and hop in the car, then we drive away, into the rest of our lives.
Autumn Rose is currently living in Victoria, BC and starting her business, A Heart Spark, which is centered around providing bodywork, perinatal & placenta medicine, and many different modalities of healing, including cupping, acutonics, and yoga therapy. Visit her online at www.aheartspark.com and www.facebook.com/aheartspark