Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Baby, baby, baby

by Amy MacKinnon

Blood. There isn't supposed to be blood, but there it is.

My stomach flips, failing to right itself. My hands, knees, and voice tremble while talking to the obstetrician on call. His soothing words can't reassure me, but I'll repeat them to reassure those around me.

Only nine weeks into my third pregnancy and I'm on my fourth day of bed rest. I steel myself for each trip to the bathroom. But there's more blood this time. Too much.

This time the I speak to the nurse. She's become a friend, and this time the reassuring words do soothe me. She tells me her story. Her first pregnancy and three months later the spotting began. She lost that baby but somehow had conceived a second while still pregnant with the first. After being pregnant for eleven months, she gave birth to a son. Her miracle. I don't believe in miracles and we end by making an appointment for the following week.

My husband holds me saying it's probably for the best. We weren't prepared this unexpected pregnancy. He returns a few moments later, eyes full, voice thick. He's sorry. Sorry for the words he didn't mean, the baby whose life we won't share, his inability to comfort me. Yet it's the pain he shares that's the greatest comfort. We hold each other.

Our three-year-old daughter lays beside me in my bed, quiet, her head tucked under my chin as my husband and I explain the sister she longs for won't be. Our son, only eighteen months, doesn't understand all of it -- only enough to know his mother's crying. He wraps his chubby arms around my neck, kisses me a thousand times. When I smile, it's his cue to jump on the bed. The children have already begun to bounce back while I haven't begun to grieve.

Some days later, I sit in my doctor's office as if awaiting a death sentence. The morning sickness that's wracked me now resolved, my once-round stomach, already flat again. They don't keep me waiting long. The nurse embraces me. I thank her for her kind words and a short time later I leave, knowing I won't be back again until it's time for my annual physical. I won't be back every month, then every two weeks, and, finally, weekly for my maternity visits. The doctor won't measure my growing belly, chastise my increasing weight, share his own stories. I won't call him in the middle of some March night to tell him it's time.

In the parking lot, tears choke me as I try to find the ignition. Soon I can't breathe. I miss my baby. I desperately wanted that baby. I suddenly realize I'm a mother to a child whose face I'll never see, whose body I'll never hold. Though not a person of faith, I beg for my child.

Two days later the phone rings. It's the nurse calling with the results of my tests. I'm prepared for the call, she said it would be coming, I'm not prepared for the words. I'm still pregnant. My baby is still with me. My baby is alive. Words I didn't expect to hear because hope hadn't been a part of my life these past weeks.

I hang up the phone and fall to me knees. Lifting my shirt, I wrap my arms around my baby.

(My daughter is now 12 and the light of my life.)


Randy Susan Meyers said...

A heartbreaking post, Amy. Thanks for sharing this.

robert said...

Amazing writing, just beautiful, heart rending.

Tanya Egan Gibson said...

I love this post. Love hope. Love miracles. Thank you for reminding us that they still happen.

Kristan said...

Wow. And now I'm crying at work... Thank you for sharing your miracle.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Wow. Just Wow.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Thank you, Randy.

I honored to have broken your heart, Robert.

Tanya, I'm constantly amazed by the miracles around me -- both big and small.

Kristan, tears are the highest praise to a writer. Thank you.

Judy! Thank you.

larramiefg said...

Thank you, Amy.

Anonymous said...

It's unusual to cry in sorrow and then joy in such a short period of time.

Thank you for sharing your miracle.

Marsha Halperin Epstein said...

Thank you for putting into words some of the feelings that a person (very close to me) could not articulate when sharing news of her miscarriage. No miracle,there, and having a tough time getting pregnant again. Your post was a gift in helping me dig deeper to understand the pain, the loss and the sorrow.

Clara said...

Thank you.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Thank you, Larramie. <3

I appreciate your reading it, writermomof5.

Marsha, now you've gone and made me weep a little. Thanks for letting me know my words helped in some small way.

Clara, oh, Clara, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Amy, I have a huge lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Hugs.

Beth Hoffman said...

Amy ... I'm lost for words. Wrapping my arms around you.

Steena Holmes said...

Thank you. That's all I can say. Thank you.

Kelly said...

This is wonderful, Amy.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you Amy.

Amy MacKinnon said...

Hugs back, Delia.

Beth, again, hug to you as well.

No, Steena, thank you.

Thank you, Kelly.

Oh, Usman, so good to hear from you. Thanks.

Patry Francis said...

So beautiful, Amy. The faith you're searching for is found here, and in everything you write. But maybe that's what the faith is all about: getting up every morning and going out to search for it again.

Amy MacKinnon said...

"But maybe that's what the faith is all about: getting up every morning and going out to search for it again."

You always inspire me, Patry.

LaShaunda said...

I was about to cry for you, but instead I can shout.

At 40 I was surprised by the fact I was pregnant. We had a girl and a boy so I honestly thought we were done.

I think I was in shock for about four months.

That little person is 3 going on 22. He keeps me on my toes. I'm so glad God has a sense of humor. Thanks for sharing your story. Hug your kids. They're only kids for such a short time.

Amy MacKinnon said...

LaShaunda, congratulations on your little slice of heaven. And I do hug them, many, many times each day.

KELLY W said...

Wow, that is an amazing story.....so happy for you and you precious daughter.