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Friday, April 18, 2014

Broken

Listening to a friend crumble through the bottomless spiral of miscarriage while another honors the anniversary of hers brings me back. Like a haunted viewfinder I can look backward but take the lenses away when it gets too hard. It was several years ago. So crippling I can't remember the day or the year...only the season. It was gray. Joseph and I and my bulging belly shuffled to Georgetown Hospital for the glorious first glimpse of our baby...still on the fence if we want to know if she's an Abby or he's an Aaron. Giggling in the dressing room with another pregnant mom, taking guesses at how each was showing what we were having. I just hit the 20 week mark and was hoping baby was going to give us the money shot because I knew we only had one chance. His/her health was never even on my radar. Two perfect pregnancies gives you that wide, comfortable bliss which sadly became a launching pad into darkness with no compass. Positioned on the table with my excited husband holding my hand the tech begins what quickly became the worst moment of my life. Within minutes she asked to leave the room but will be right back. I look to Joseph and he smiles completely unaware that this may or may not be a bad sign. I noticed the small things. The way her face dropped when she looked at our baby. The way she moved quickly typing over the leisurely pace she did when she began. The way she moved the monitor away from us before leaving the room. And finally...the 20 mins she stayed gone. My broken smile was no match for Joseph who was now complaining about the length of time and wanting to see the baby. She returned with a doctor. The grim reaper in a lab coat who could only mutter the words, "I am sorry but there is no heartbeat". Every word that followed was a blurr. I heard labor and delivery, no option for c section, hospital, how fast...it was all just a moving train with lights and sounds I couldn't recognize. I felt numb and struck all at the same time. I felt for the first time, at that moment, I would not survive this. At least not wholly. Two days and 37 hours of labor later I delivered a perfect baby. I refused the sex and refused to look at it. I prearranged with the nurse to be medicated the second the baby arrived so I can numb myself into oblivion which became my deepest regret that lay upon me today. I left Joseph. He was there with me, every moment as I labored and cried and fought the passing of a baby I would not take home. He saw the arrival and as the baby was rushed out, so was I leaving him to pick up the parts of both of our broken souls. I was too weak and I failed him. The emotional pain was so wretched my brain couldn't process it. It's when I saw the cat. Telling Joseph about the cat had his attention. Every few mins I saw a cat leap through Labor and Delivery - so lucid was I that I knew it didn't make sense and yet, the cat was there. I kept hearing him and seeing him. I knew it didn't make sense and thought maybe it was the medication but I wasn't totally sure. The cat was so real. Asking the nurse about it was sure to get me a psych eval but I did it anyway...visions are normal on morphine but the cat was a new one on her. As Joseph held my hand I hear him mewing...there he is, I yell. Joseph, can't you hear that? I can hear him so loudly now! His eyes fill with tears as he chokes on his words...that's a baby, he said. Honey, it's a baby. I felt instantly like I was falling, falling through the last few days, all at once - This is Your Life, my hell...and I hit the ground. There was no cat. Only the trauma so devastating not even I could endure it. And my Joseph, holding all of us close and suffering as deeply as I was never let me feel that I left him. But I did and he held me until I came back. It took several months for me to hear he was a boy. A perfect, healthy boy. We tried again once we got the green light to move forward and suffered through an equally evil act pf universal retribution when we lost a baby girl only one week later than our son. More destabilizing but summoning up the numb from before, we held our breath and moved...again through the dark and murky. Questioning why, yelling at Gd, angry, devastated, lost, broken, spiralling, falling, waking up and dying all over again... Test results revealed another perfect baby who for someone unknown reason, decided to leave; again. Weak and empty I want to stop. Joseph says when the pain of losing them becomes greater than never meeting them, he stops but he will do whatever I need. I wait. I see them in my dreams. I feel them calling me. I am sure I am losing my mind. I knew the girl wanted in first. I broke and made my deals with Gd. I hated him but frankly I needed him. I wait, I second guess, more deals, more pain. Then the calm comes. The signal to me it's time. We try again and nine anxious months later, we meet Livvy. I've heard it said that that worst nine months of a woman's life is the pregnancy after a miscarriage. I can attest. 19 months later, our little boy came...back? Jack Aaron Isaac - arrived safely and happily. Whether they changed their mind and came back I will never know...I like to think they did. But I also know there is a hole in my memory where they once lived. I never saw them, never held them, never knew them...it's how I grieved them. Sight unseen. When I look at them now I feel sure we have met before. I feel secure they are where they belong but an oddly familiar feeling of having been with them. Maybe I am still losing my mind or maybe it's the cat. I still can barely think about these dark moments but I try to so I can some how honor them. I survived. Because that's what I do.