And here I was, thinking this project might have run its course.
That was cute.
This was to be a week of triumphs. We should be moving into our house in a matter of days! I’ve imagined the post I’d write about the moment we step through the door. The grateful and pretty weeping. The loving embrace of my family. The high fives for making it through such an ordeal. The self-deprecating exasperation at myself for worrying now about all the unpacking to be done. Because there’s always something to worry about. It was going to be charming.
I’d already purged my feelings about being robbed, losing a pregnancy, leaving my family and friends to live on an island a million miles away, living in less than desirable circumstances, etc. Hope was abounding. I was becoming a better person. A stronger person. I was even given a new chance at doing everything right. Pregnant again! I was a veritable Chick-Lit heroine! We’re talking movie-caliber character development here.
Until my movie turned into a cartoon and a freakin anvil landed on top of me like Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius. All my emotional progress was obliterated in a very impressive onslaught of disappointment, anger, sadness, and bitterness. A mighty cocktail, that.
So while Sam was on the mainland (SEE! I’m adjusting to island life! That’s what they say here) at his best friend’s wedding, the kids and I were kicking around town on our onesies. I, being pregnant and determined to be the best pregnant woman I could, drank hideous caffeine free herbal tea, had a salad almost every day, drank lots of water, and best of all: took a nap every afternoon while Bella did before picking up Malcolm at school. Herbal Tea, people. I was exemplary. But I only told one or two people about it. I warned Sam not to get too excited every time he said something sweet. I didn’t refer to it as a baby. I didn’t picture it being born. I didn’t look at baby clothes. I didn’t talk to it. I was Coco Chanel.
When the signs began I can’t honestly say I was shocked. I half expected it, after all. But seeing the evidence of my correctness was still disappointing. There. I knew it. What should I do? Sam wouldn’t be back until the next afternoon. I had to pick up Mal from school. This was all very inconvenient. I woke up Bella and went to pick up Mal. I was Golem:
Maybe it will stop.
It won’t stop, Precious. Don’t embarrass yourself.
It won’t. It doesn’t matter. It’s over.
I assumed the worst. Makes sense, right? There would be no freaking out. I willed my heartbeat to slow down. I knew it was going to happen anyway, right? I was prepared this time. I was not attached. I was practical and accepting. It just wasn’t to be. It would not crush me. It just happens. It’s actually very common. …apparently a little more common with me… There was no real reason to cry. Coco wouldn’t cry. I had to keep it together in front of the kids. Dignity. Always, dignity.
I knew I had to go to the hospital but there was no one to keep the kids. The CDC doesn’t “do” hourly care, it’d probably take too long anyway, and I only had one friend whom I’d JUST made and didn’t want to ask her to watch my kids for 8 hours. I had to wait until Sam got home. Twenty-Four hours later.
Which is what I did. Bless him, he had his own stuff to deal with, like 10 hours of sleep over 36 hours, plus my giving him horrible news while at his friend’s reception then having to bear that news alone all the way home, and THEN take the kids while I collect my social security in the ER waiting room.
Ah, the ER waiting room. There are few real universal truths, but I believe the disproportionate ratio of seated patients to the names being called to “come on back” in the ER waiting room is one of them. Although the game show-esque call is appropriate because you do feel like you’ve won something when it’s finally your turn. Two hours I aged there before being brought to a room and deposited there. While left there, absolutely knowing there was no hope, I read a book. Because I was that OK. The doctor came in and told me stuff I was sure I already knew, but then threw out there, “but you never know.” What was that? No. No, I don’t think so. This is a No Hope Zone. See the yellow tape? But I smiled and said I understood then sat back to wait for her and her associate to return and “begin.” Whatever. I knew the drill. I had an IV put in me that was very painful and turned out to be completely unnecessary, as it was never actually connected to anything. It hurt like a mother. I’m going to have a righteous bruise to remind me of this experience all week long. Which, naturally, I’m thrilled about.
They did indeed reach the conclusion I had so stoically prepared myself for. Mmhm. Got it.
What the, NO.
NO. NO. NO.NO.
Some sort of support beam snapped inside me and I was crying. No, weeping. Strangled, face covering, mortifying weeping.
And they were soothing me and saying kind wonderful things that CLEARLY were making me cry more, so why did they continue? But they did. WHERE THE BLOODY HELL DID COCO GO? This was not the plan. I knew this. This was not a surprise. I am the one that told them what had happened. But no dice. I was in pieces. I hadn’t made a spectacle of myself the first time when it really had been Shock and Awe on my heart. I had received the clinically delivered news and nodded sadly. Maybe a tear or two escaped.
Now? I couldn’t stop.
They left me to compose myself and wait for “things to progress.” There was no composing. There was the opposite of composing. And then suddenly there was a priest next to me. Did I want to talk? Talk? He couldn’t even understand me when I told him my name, such was my decomposition. But he prayed for me. I thanked him. I was left alone again. Briefly. Any progress I made was immediately erased by a kind nurse, a random Mormon soldier, another achingly kind nurse, and finally the random Mormon soldier and another guy whose function on the ER staff remains unclear to me, but who revealed the priest before misunderstood me and thought I said I was Mormon. (I had been completely unintelligible, as I said.) But I let them pray for me anyway. I was constantly broken down from any propping up I attempted to do myself until I was reduced to an undignified, half-dressed, weeping, dirty, grieving, woman.
As I was leaving, saying goodbye and hugging these strangers who grieved with me, I realized something. Because I am very intelligent.
I was so sad the first time. I was so scared. It was all so painful. I cried. Of course I cried. But I did not grieve. Going into this one, I knew everything. I knew it wasn’t going to last. I knew it was gone. I knew what procedures they would do. And that knowledge was going to make it all easier.
See? See how easy this was?
But the grieving. The understanding and kindness given me. The treatment of my loss as loss and precious and worthy of tears. I was unprepared for that. I don’t know why. I don’t know why it wasn’t ok for me to extend the very same grace I would have given without question to someone else.
So this week is still going to be a week of triumphs. We will move our family into a house. I will say goodbye to these babies properly. I will look at my righteous unnecessary IV bruise and think it only right that pain should leave its mark. And that not only am I incapable of propping myself up alone, I can’t be put back together again until I am good and broken.
And I’m going to get myself a very large, very creamy, 100% caffeinated coffee.