It was mother’s day.
I was laying carefully in the hammock under the lilac tree in our back yard, the phone on my tender belly. It had been ringing constantly all morning. Not with Happy Mother’s Day wishes, as my four year-old son ran in and out of the house.
On the other end, first my parents. Both mom and dad. Dad first telling me how much he loved me and that everything would be ok, all the while mom talking over him in the background, telling him what to relay to me; their broken daughter. I rocked gently back and forth, in the mesh string
hammock brought home from a trip to Mexico.
Then it was my Aunties, all of them. Most could relate. All gave love and words of encouragement. My brother and sister came through the back gate, a huge beautiful bouquet in their arms.
It was mother’s day.
I was so tired.
Sore. Hoped up on pain killers and ice packs.
In a daze, too tired to focus.
Four days ago I was in the kitchen, making sandwiches with my girlfriend. Spreading mayo on soft whole wheat bread, stacking it with turkey and cheese. Just the way my Kanen, and her Audrey love them. The kids were chasing the puppy outside, we were swapping stories. I was five months pregnant. My big belly making it difficult to navigate around the island in my little kitchen. My cheeks rosy with maternal glow.
The phone rang. It was my doctor. The results from my routine blood work were back. Just in time for my first ultra sound, the following day. This is the moment a pregnant women looks forward to most. The day she gets her ultra sound, sees her baby for the first time and learns the sex of her baby. I just knew it would be a girl, Mirabelle. She said something “interesting” had shown in my hormone level, but not to worry. She would follow up with me after my appointment.
I hung up the phone and looked at my girlfriend. “Don’t you dare! Everything’s fine”. She said, reading the look on my face.
My stomach was sick.
My ex-husband and I sat silently in the lobby of the genetic counselors office, waiting for our technician. He squeezed my hand. I was so nervous it made me nauseous. He was calm. Certain as he always was, that everything would be okay.
Finally it was time for the belly goop and little B&W TV monitor. Our technician was a pregnant woman, younger than me. We were anxious and excited. There is nothing better than hearing the sound of your babies heart beat, and seeing you’re for the first time. I held his hand as she quietly started working.
I watched his face.
I didn’t notice hers.
When I finally realized how quiet the room was, I look at her. “I’m so sorry”. She said, placing the wand back on the machine, then abruptly left the room. I was so confused. What the hell was she talking about? Sorry about what? I looked at Rick, his usually stoic face, fallen.
The doctor pulled back the curtain, sat on the side of my bed and said “would you like me to call your doctor?” For what? I wanted to know. Why would no one tell me what the hell was going on!
“I’m sorry. There is no heart beat”. He said. As if that would explain everything. “Well check again! Maybe she didn’t do it right. You check”. I demanded. “There must be some mistake”. “No.” he said.
I think I screamed.
I think I cried.
I may have even hit him.
He walked out of the room. Left us alone. I was still screaming, tears pouring down my cheeks. “You are free to go” he said, not daring to enter the room fully this time. “Free to go?” Seriously? Fuck you.
I remember only saying, over and over again, that I didn’t want to go through the main lobby where all the other pregnant mothers would be sitting. I didn’t want to scare them. Didn’t want them to see my pain. Hear me crying.
Our doctor met the two of us at her office at 8am the next day, Saturday. The office was closed. I was grateful no other expectant mothers, would see a pregnant women with a huge belly and blood shot eyes. I wore sunglasses and a hat, just to be sure. She had birthed our son, we knew her, trusted her. She lovingly laid out our only option. A DNC. Surgically removing the baby, via the operating room. My baby was too big to do any other way, and carrying around a dead baby waiting to deliver the old fashioned way was so not happening. She explained the risk of major surgery. Of me being put under. I remember little.
She only had one time slot available so my procedure scheduled for the next day. Sunday, 7am. Mother’s Day.
It’s so hard looking back to that day as I swung in the hammock, in too much pain to move. That day I thought my dreams had died with my baby. That there was no way I could make it through the agony of that loss. But if I hadn’t gone through that, I wouldn’t have my beautiful, healthy twins.
Mirabelle and Isabelle.