The life of pregnancy ensued. Cravings of dumplings, crushed ice (only from Quik Trip), Butter Pecan ice cream, (entire quarts in one sitting), cucumbers with salt, and Mexican food (which I never eat), took over every waking moment of my day. I struggled to gain weight despite my obsession with food.
At the end of my first trimester, I bled enough for the doctor to show a little bit of concern. Lowering my amount of activity was in order – leaving me to stay home a high majority of the time. Cabin fever kicked my ass. But I was pregnant and that was all that mattered. Nothing was going to break my excitement for this little gem.
Finding out the gender of my upcoming angel – I was elated to carry the little man I had so been blessed with. I proudly showed off his sonogram pictures, flaunting his penis to anyone that would look at me for more than five minutes. “Hey, I’m having a boy…wanna see his weenie?” Yes…I said weenie.
Close to the end of my second trimester, literally on the verge of my third, I was up late one night at my mother-in-laws house. I couldn’t sleep and my husband was knocked out. Somewhere around 4am, I decided to call it a night. I went into the bathroom to tinkle…which is seriously complicated when you’re pregnant. I had a moment of embarrassment as I sat down on the toilet, feeling the liquid gush down my legs. Way to go ass, I thought, you just pissed yourself inches from the toilet. Damn, I must have really had to pee…that was a lot. And then, I noticed it wasn’t urine on the floor. It was blood. It was a lot of blood. It was the ocean I had swam in just a decade before. I screamed. I was a damned banshee.
Needless to say, I ended up in the emergency room, dripping with every step to my designated room. I waddled with a “don’t fuck with me, I’m too pregnant for this shit” attitude. All I could think was…FIX IT. Whatever it is…FIX IT! The nurses did their thing and the doctor came to me promptly. My husband sat across the room as I soaked the bed with that all too familiar crimson fear. The doctor ordered for a sonogram. And that’s when my world slowly shattered.
The nurse came with the machine and set me up to hear the babies heartbeat. She moved that wand around for what felt like years. She tried to hide the scowl of auditory strain but it was clear to me. “What’s the matter,” I asked. She shook her head and kept moving that stupid wand.
The doctor returned and she tried whispering. I say tried because I’m blind as a fucking bat, which means my hearing is sickly keen. “I can’t find it,” she said. Without skipping a beat, I yelped, “well, you’re machine must be broken or you aren’t looking in the right spot.” I started pointing to a specific spot on my stomach. “His heart is right here. It’s right here, damn it.” The doctor appeased me and asked the nurse to grab another machine. Apparently, I’d come between a shift change so the nice doctor was leaving. Before he made his exit, he asked me if he could pray for me and my son.
Rule of thumb: when someone says they want to pray for you…they think you are fucked. Ain’t no one praying for you when you win the lotto. But I took it. Whats the worst it could do, right? I’m no believer but that man’s eyes said he needed to pray for me. He couldn’t leave until he made peace with this situation. And so he prayed. And then he left.
I was still bleeding all over that white bed in that white room on those white sheets when the new doctor walked in. This man had absolutely, positively NO bedside manner. Zip, zilch, NADA. The nurse returned with a new machine and searched for the heartbeat of my little love all over again.
Deafening, terrifying, endless silence.
The doctor exited and came back just a short while later.
“We are preparing a room for you upstairs in the hospital.”
In no uncertain terms, with just a few pauses for dramatic and quite frankly, traumatic effect…this doctor laid it all out on the line.
“There is no heartbeat. We believe the fetus has terminated. We will be setting you up in a room to induce labor.”
The nurse put her hand on my shoulder. My sons father put his hands to his face. The room was still.
“I don’t understand.”
“Ma’am, the fetus is gone. We will deliver it upstairs in a room that is better suited.”
This man just told me my baby was dead. My baby was gone and they were going to pump me with some shit so this dead baby would come out of me. I was going to deliver a dead baby…why was he dead…how did he die…what did I do…what the hell is happening?
“I’ll leave you alone for a moment to talk.”
To talk about what? You just said my baby was dead and I was going to deliver a “fetus.” You referred to my child as “it.” I didn’t even have to look at my husband. I knew what I had to do. So I grabbed the sheets from around me and made a makeshift diaper. I slid off the bed and stood by the door. “What are you doing,” he asked.
I’m going home.
I opened the door and walked through the lobby. The nurse ran to my side as did the doctor who, just moments ago, was standing at a counter looking at his next paychecks file. The nurse tried to explain that I had to wait for a wheelchair to take me to my room.
“I’m not going to a room. I’m not staying here. I’m going home.”
She tried to interrupt me. But she didn’t know me very well. With tears in my eyes and agony in my throat, I choked out the words, repeating them until I couldn’t anymore.
“My son ain’t dead.”
I checked myself out against doctors’ orders. I returned to the house and plopped my feet up on a pillow and rubbed my swollen belly until I fell asleep. I did not move from that bed until all traces of blood were gone.
Two days later, my OBGYN saw me for an emergency visit. The drum of my sons heartbeat was the affirmation that I had made the right choice. I fought for my little man when everything said he was gone. I could have listened to that doctor and had my son born 3 months premature. I could have ignored something in my soul and let my son die at the hands of a man who referred to my angel as “it.”
My son is a part of my soul, my heart, my everything. And nothing can match that attachment. Not a machine and sure as shit not another human being.
My body had killed off an unborn a decade before. I lost one. I would not lose another without a fight. I am my sons soldier and he is my country. My sons heart is my heart. If he were dead, my heart would cease to beat. I am 1000% certain when I say I did not guess. I knew. And no one will ever convince me otherwise.