Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Two years ago today, I spent most of the day in the offices of a perinatologist and a genetic counselor. They spoke to me with sympathy in their eyes. They gave me a tiny bit of hope around a table in the genetic counselor's office and then took it all away again in the dimly lit ultrasound room.

There was something wrong, something very, very wrong. The doctor put his hand on my knee and I couldn't contain my tears any longer. It would take me two weeks to come to terms with my decision, but it was in that moment that I knew. I knew that she was leaving, that we had reached the moment I had been subconsciously waiting for since a moment in the shower months before, when I first felt that something wasn't right.

I remember the doctors bowing out of the room, making comments about how this was a lot to take in. It was too much for today. We'll give you some space. And in that space I crumpled into the arms of my mom, who squeezed me too tight, which could only mean that she was crying too.

When they came back, they laid out the incredible decision that lay before me. A fucking terrible, impossible question with no right answers. I felt my soul kicking and screaming, looking for an exit from this nightmare of a life I had just landed in. This could not possibly be happening to me, to my baby. I had to leave.

So we did. I walked out of that clinic like a zombie with ultrasound pictures and two pieces of reading material in hand: 'A Time To Heal, A Time to Decide,' and a spina bifida pamphlet. We went to see my husband at work, since he could not get the day off to come with us. I flung the black and white ultrasound pictures in his face first.

Look, here is our baby. She is definitely a girl.

He looked at them, his hope still hanging in the balance. It's not good, I told him. It's actually really, really bad.

His face fell and I felt bad for giving him the news while he still had a night of work to finish, but I was so numb. I had already been crying for most of the day, and there was nothing left.

My mom stayed the night, packing up our Christmas decorations the following day. There was a box of random stocking-stuffers and holiday paraphernalia that ended up sitting on one of our kitchen chairs for months.

I was a shell of myself, numb to the world. I remember so little of those days, the in between.

Eventually I would make the phone call, schedule the room in the hospital in the bigger city, walk down that impossibly long hallway, climb into that horrible bed, push out a tiny baby, fall in love with her, and then leave without her.

How did I do it? How in the world did I ever do it?


Hope's Mama said...

I don't know and I ask myself the same question each and every day.
Looking back, I am totally in awe of myself and I am of you as well. I don't know how I'd ever do it again.

Hope said...

Oh Aleina...
I hear you and I'm right there with you!

I don't know how any of us did it, or how we are still standing today?

I don't know how we got up out of bed and kept on living, during the days in between, during the days after...even today with our new littles...

Thinking of you as you remember her,

Dana said...

This has me in tears. It was such a nightmare to live through and I'm often amazed that any of us have lived through it. That being said, it's hard to believe that I could ever possibly live through it again, but having done it once, it is possible (I just hope it doesn't happen!)

biojen said...

Me too, every word. We got our news on December 18th but didn't get the amnio back until the 30th. I've spent the last week trying so hard not to remember. I hope you are having an easier time this week. Thank you for putting into words what I could not. I'm thinking of you and little Layla.