Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Thursday

I lingered under the covers that morning. It was the last morning I would awake with you in my belly, though I didn't think of it that way at the time. I couldn't. The past week had been a whirlwind. Still, somehow, a sense of calm had settled in. It would become the eye of the storm.

All the appointments, the tests, the phone calls, the overwhelming agony, the river of tears that had been cried, all of it was leading to that day. Thursday had arrived. I felt sick. I felt numb. Somehow, I pulled myself out from under my cocoon of blankets and set foot in the world again. One step and then another. Where did the strength come from?

Soon I found myself in the shower. It was our last shower together, though I didn't think of it that way at the time. The warm water washed over me, sliding over the curve of my belly, replacing the tears I wanted to cry but couldn't. I closed my eyes for a moment to ask for angels, or spirit guides, or whatever you want to call them, to please, be with me that day. To my surprise, I felt surrounded. It was almost as if I couldn't move, I was so tightly encircled.

The drive was solemn. The familiar straight stretch up I5 offered little in terms of distraction. It went too fast. Too soon we were navigating the streets of the last city you would ever be alive in, though I didn't think of it that way at the time. The tension in the car was palpable as we took wrong turns and backtracked, in a rush to meet a doctor on his lunch break. Finally, we were ushered into a tiny room with a papered table and handed a stack of paperwork. I filled in the blanks carelessly, weary of writing the same information so many times one week. Eventually the doctor slid into the room and retreated to his stool in the corner, slouching against the wall and chatting casually with us. A matter of moments and then he was leaving, a nurse entering with the information for our admittance to the hospital.

We had originally expected to be admitted at 7, but the nurse called us before we had even left the parking lot to let us know we could go up to Labor and Delivery whenever we wanted. I did not want to go yet. I didn't want to go at all. We said we would be there at 5.

We decided to go to the mall. It seemed surreal to be in the midst of normal people going about their every day lives. But we had to find something for you to wear. Eventually I found the sweetest little dress that would end up being much too big for you. It would be the only dress we would ever buy for you, though I didn't think of it that way at the time.

We ate lunch overlooking the ice rink that I spent many hours at as a little girl. It wasn't until I saw a little girl, all dressed up in a tutu and bright white skates, gliding along with her dad, that it hit me. It was Thursday. It was our last day together. I was never going to get to skate with you. We were going to the hospital in a handful of minutes and it would be the end. It would be over.

I lingered in the car, the hospital parking lot sprawled around me, the labor and delivery ward towering above me. I caught glimpses of balloons in the neatly stacked grid of windows and immediately felt like an outsider. My baby would not come with balloons. My heart swelled and the tears sprung to my eyes. I doubled over, holding on to my belly, wishing I could make you better, wishing harder than ever that I would wake up. It was the last time you would be in the car with me, though I didn't think of it that way at the time. I didn't want to go. I couldn't.

And yet, somehow, I opened the door and set foot in the last building you would ever be alive in, though I didn't think of it that way at the time. The hallways seemed endless as we made our way to the nurses station. We were taken to the very end of the hall, far away from the baby we had just heard crying and the joyful celebrations of other families. The last room. The last bed. The last hours.

1 comment:

AnnaMarie said...

Hi Aleina, I'm here through GITW.

"My baby would not come with balloons." Yes, exactly, live babies come with balloons, flowers, gifts, dinners delivered, and joyous friends and family; lost babies come with cards of condolence and silence.

I'm so sorry to hear about your dear Layla.