Life has been extremely overwhelming. And happy. And sad. And scary. And stressful. And freeing.
Last year around this time I was about 1 week pregnant. Least expected because I’d miscarried fewer than 6 months before. I was carrying another child and had no idea. Life is wild.
I was slower to tell W___. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When I finally mentioned it, it was rather uneventful. No optimistic anticipation. No tears of joy. No creative ideas on how to break the news. It just was and I just did. No pomp. No circumstance.
A week or so later, he was on his 3rd hour of playing NBA2K18. I was waking up from my Sunday nap contemplating whether I’d attend evening worship. The decision was made for me during a trip to the restroom.
I’m sure he’d never heard me say his name the way I said it that afternoon.
“W____!” Half shriek. High pitched. Filled with frustration and incredulity.
I was bleeding. I stood in one of the corners of our tiny apartment crying. I replayed the first instance in my mind uncertain if I could keep my sanity if I had to endure another in such a short period of time.
“We’re going to the emergency room. ”
“They can’t help me.”
“Let’s go,” he said, grabbing the keys and ushering me towards the door.
Emergency rooms are a mixed bag. A kid with a hurt leg limped in with an older woman. A man in a wheelchair pushed himself around with one leg. The receptionist and security guard told in jokes and shared the news of the day in hushed voices, breaking away to assist newcomers and answer questions.
I got up every 30 minutes to diagnose myself.
“The baby is okay.”
“You don’t know that.”
I was beyond optimism. I was beyond thinking happy thoughts. I wanted to hear if my baby’s heart was still beating.
About 2 hours after arriving, they finally grant me a mental reprieve and wheel me into an ultrasound room.
“Before we begin, I have to let you know I can’t tell you the results.”
An odd disclaimer followed by silence.
The gel was cool. I had gotten used to a warm gel and the sing songy voice of the tech at my doctor’s office. Rosy cheeks, mouth fixed in a seemingly permanent smile. Her glasses rested on her nose and her eyes shone from behind the lenses. Warmth epitomized.
This tech was younger. Not quite “cold,” but definitely used to giving bad news rather than good news.
I looked away from the screen to a set of shelves to my left. The sound of airy emptiness poured through the speakers as she swiped the transducer across my abdomen.
I balled my fists and ground my teeth. More airy emptiness. No sadness. Just numbness.
Then a thump.
My chest was heaving and eyes streaming tears of relief.
I think my sobbing startled the tech. I still avoided the screen, but the sound of my baby’s heart caused a wave to rush over me.
“That’s a heartbeat. From what I can tell, things look fine. ”
I continued to cry. Face turned away from the screen.
“Things look fine. See?”
I turned to look at her as she offered analysis she’d previously said she couldn’t offer.
“You have a subchorionic hematoma, but the baby is fine. ”
The grayscale globs on the screen made no sense, but I was happy to believe her.
“Thank you. ”
The second we were alone again, I told him.
“She said the baby is okay. ”
“I told you not to worry. ”
I’ve never been so happy to hear an “I told you so” in my life. Little did I know that the next few months would be full of them.