Today is the day my oldest son (AKA my Liberian prince AKA my little man AKA Human GPS) turns sixteen years old. Sixteen years old.
The shy, chubby faced little boy who entered our family several years ago has blossomed into a young man. He’s taller than me. His voice has changed into a deep tone and he has a visible “Adam’s apple.” He’s old enough to drive (as he has mentioned many, many, many, many times). He’s old enough for a part-time job. His feet are ginormous – as is his appetite (though he miraculously seems to burn the calories as fast as he consumes them; his metabolism must be “sky high” I guess). He’s still my sweetheart, but he’s definitely not a kid anymore. Before my very eyes my little boy has evolved – has grown. How time changes things.
Today is also the day that I visited the obstetrician to begin the process of addressing my “missed miscarriage” (or was it “incomplete miscarriage?” Need to check the papers). One day I was a beaming mother-to-be of twins; another sad day I was a woman reeling in pain from hearing the words “No more cardiac activity.” A dizzying array of thoughts swarmed through my mind in a series of seconds-long flashbacks of the last several weeks: my joyful surprise at learning that I was pregnant; my shock and subsequent elation upon learning that there was not one, but two little blessings inside me; my intense fear when I experienced unexpected cramping and bleeding; my incessant prayers for protection over my womb. Silence in the room as these moments flooded my thoughts – and then the silence was filled with my raw, grief stricken cries.
What a detestable day that was. The day the laughter died; the day I learned the babies died. That day – just last week, but it seems so long ago now – has come and gone, but the pain has not. Nor have the vessels which once housed potential for future life and love. Though my hope, my happiness, my dreams were savagely ripped from me that awful night, the physical evidence remains. Their souls might be gone, but their bodies are still with me. Still part of me. Still in me…
How time changes things.
I need, they say, to purge the “tissue” from my uterus. Get rid of “the remains.” How cold and impersonal such language is, the language used to discuss what to do with the problem…the problem that is what is/was the bodies of my deeply wanted, deeply loved change-of-life babies. I wondered who, what they’d grow up to be…but it seems that I wondered in vain, as they will never grow up to be anything. They will never grow up at all, and they have stopped growing. They are gone – but like a cruel joke, they aren’t actually gone. They are still within me as I type…almost as if they’re still holding on. Like they don’t want to leave me, don’t want to let go, don’t want to go. Their hearts are broken and so is mine. The difference is that theirs is devoid of movement, beating, activity; mine has all of that, but is devoid of hope, of joy, of purpose…
The day after. I went to the OB for the first of now four post-emergency room doctor visits. After the devastating news, this step seemed like little more to me than a billable formality. Another set of ultrasounds; more blood work; more urine; more vaginal swabbing/pelvic examining/platitude murmuring about loss/small talking/stating of miscarriage statistics and the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities especially given my “age” and my fertility issues, etc. I nodded and spoke at the right intervals as expected. But I felt like a robot, a ghost, a zombie…something not really human, not really alive. However, I know how to perform. How to switch on when needed. How to jump through the hoops. It never really leaves you, that skill. It becomes you, and you become it – it is a clever parasite.
They did all their exams and scans and labs. Had me come back and repeat them again. Compared them to my other reports/visits. And made the final determination confirming what I had already been told and knew to be true. Though a part of me secretly hoped it to be wrong, a mistake, untrue, I knew otherwise.
With miscarriages, it seems that there are a slate of options one can consider. Thus, you can pick the lesser of the evils available to you. One of them is “watchful waiting” for “nature to take its course” over a period of hours/days/weeks for your body to finish the process of miscarrying. Another is “medical management” where you are given medication to hasten the process. There is also “surgical treatment” where a doctor uses a surgical procedure (such as dilation and cutterage or other means if warranted) to complete the removal.
I envisioned this day so differently. It was supposed to be all about my little man like all birthdays are around here. In my household, birthdays are our kids’ “Christmas” or “Hannukah.” It’s the day it’s all about you. The day you get to shine. The day we get to celebrate the role you play in this world on the very day that you entered it…it’s a day of cupcakes at school; cake at home; dinner of your choosing with the family even on a school night; hugs and prayers and love – and gifts. It’s a day of laughter and a day of promise. It’s a day we look forward to for months because it only comes once a year.
But today, it’s a day of, “Mom, please don’t do anything for me. Please don’t bring anything; please don’t buy anything. I just want you to get better. Please just stay in bed and be okay.”
It’s a day of cramping. Of bleeding. Of lying down with a protective covering beneath your hips and extra absorbancy adult undergarments clad around you. A day of whispered tones and worried glances cast your way from the doorway. A day of pizza delivery instead of a nice restaurant birthday meal for your precious son. A day of painkillers and a day of nausea. A day that threatens to imbrue, to obscure, to sully, to dampen the beauty of the day God allowed your son to be brought into this world by his beloved, never-to-be-forgotten late mother.
It’s a day where your tears drench yet another pillow and your breath comes in ragged puffs; where the depression threatens to drown your very soul with grief; where you cannot muster enough energy to be angry at God but wish you could; where you feel selfish for all of these thoughts because you have a house full of children, adopted and biological, while some have none.
It’s a day that hurts. A day that sucks.
A day that still hasn’t ended.
Please God, just let it be over soon.
Let me sleep and pretend this was all a nightmare. Not reality; just a terrible dream. Because dreams end, just like little babies’ heartbeats end. Dreams end…I just want it to end.