I sat on the edge of the hospital bed, silent tears streaming down my cheeks as I stared hard at the curtain across from me. In front of me, a tray sat with a barely touched lunch that the kind nurses gave me to. I've been coming here every week for 2 months now. I guess by this point I've built some kind of relationship with the nurses here on Labor and Delivery. So when I said I wasn't feeling the greatest and talked about the errands I still had to run, they sent for a lunch tray so I can keep my sugars up.
And the food did look good. It was some kind of macaroni pasta dish, almost like spaghetti, but with macaroni noodles. The soup I wasn't interested in at all, since it was cream of mushroom. But there was some tea, and a carton of milk, and a bun. I ate what I could before the couple came across from me came in.
Today was decent so far, honestly. This NST went smoothly, as always. If anything, it went fantastically well, and showed that my pregnancy was nearing it's end and baby girl would be here soon. The line for contractions was starting to show some action, and her heart accelerated frequently which was apparently a great sign of healthy fetal movement. All these things got me excited but, admittedly, I quickly learned how I took them for granted all this time.
The couple were brought to the bed across from me, and the curtains were drawn before I could see them. I listened as I was picking away at my lunch, simply because there was nothing else for me to do, and they were simply right there. The tone in their voices made it hard not to overhear.
I gathered that the mother was like me. We shared the same obstetrician, and he had been sending here almost every week for a little bit now. And by the sounds of it, she was about the same week as me. I'm 36 weeks. We're both eagerly waiting to meet our little ones.
She sounded a bit frustrated though, saying she really didn't know why she was here to begin with. The babe was healthy, she was healthy. He just wanted to monitor it's growth because at some point in time in the pregnancy, there was low amniotic fluid.
I immediately felt the dread build up in the pit of my stomach, as I knew that term all too well. My brother, Thomas, had low amniotic fluid. He had no kidneys. He died.
I looked down to my cup of tea as I continued to listen, at this point invested in the mysterious mother across from me, hoping that I was going to hear a healthy heart beat and I can be on my way. But instead, what I heard was my worst nightmare, unfolding before me, in another mother's life.
The nurse was making friendly conversation as she set up the machine, and what should've followed next was a couple of seconds of locating the babe then strapping the probe to the mother's belly. But instead, there was silence. You could hear the scratching on the probe as she moved it around her belly, attempting to locate the heart beat.
"How has the movement been?" I could hear the nurse ask, concern in her voice as she moved the probe again.
"Good, I think?" The mother replied, uncertainty in her own voice, "I mean, he's been soft. I haven't gotten any kicks per say?"
The next words would twist my stomach, and immediately cause me to slip a lid onto my food.
"I mean, I felt him this morning. It was a sliding sensation?"
No.. I thought, looking at the curtain across from me, my heart racing as I gripped the bed beside me, 'No, no, no! You never use sliding as a way to describe movement!' I thought desperately.
'A baby doesn't slide. A body slides.'
Silence, thick and tense, filled the room as the scratching on the probe continued. And it would be the last time there was silence while I was there, because next the nurse was briskly walking out of the room and calling for assistance down the hall. The mother was breathing frantically, I could hear her, and I clapped a hand softly over my mouth to muffle myself as my eyes welled up. I was a silent witness. I shouldn't be here. But I had to wait another 10 minutes before I can test my sugar and leave.
I'm also fairly sure no one knows I'm still behind this curtain.
Foot steps rushed into the room, and the mother's curtains were yanked back as another nurse joined the original, and started instructing the mother on how to move around. I could hear them manipulate her, roll her onto her sides, onto her back. Once or twice they were get a heart beat, but then it would be announced that it was the maternal heart beat, not the babes. Soon, a doctor joins them, and he begins his check.
"We need to get an ultrasound up here," He murmurs to the nurse beside him, before he explains to the mother that they aren't finding a heartbeat, so they just want to look and make sure baby is alright.
The mother, by this point, is distraught and sobbing. Her heart ache was so profound as she insisted that she felt her baby move just this morning.
I look at my phone, my vision obscured by silent tears that ran down my cheeks. I still had 5 minutes to go, but the ultrasound tech was on their way.
That was my cue. I needed to leave.
Packing up, I cleaned my tray, downed my bitter tea, and quietly hopped off the bed and pulled aside my curtain. And without another word, or stopping to speak to any nurses, I rushed out of the room and down the hallway, my hand still over my mouth as I could hear the mother continue to plead.
Once the doors shut behind me, marking my departure from L&D, I took a deep, shaking breath, and wrapped my arms around me, raising a hand to silently sob behind it, stepping sideways to lean against the wall for support as the fear and emotions floored me.
It was my worst nightmare, unfolding in another woman's life. But I understood that fear, that heartache, all too well. How many times had I put myself in her place in my head? Every time they couldn't find her heart beat, every time I bled, every ******** time there was something ******** wrong, I was waiting for someone to tell me I lost my other twin. How many times did my heart break into so many pieces that I can't even be sure I've found them all...
I only just got the okay, the confirmation that we will make it. That she will make it. Damaged, sure, but she is healthy, and strong, and I will bring her home at some point.
Something that mother probably won't get to do...
When I leave the hospital, my hand is gripped tight to my protruding belly, and suddenly I'm more keenly aware of every kick, punch, headbutt, and hiccup. Except now, instead of cringing and wishing it wouldn't hurt, I silently begged for it to hurt more. To be stronger, more profound, constant. Knock me off my feet, I practically screamed at myself, as I walked to my mom's car, my lips trembling, my cheeks streaked with tears.
Because I am so ******** lucky, I realized, as I buckled myself in and started to sob.
We might've been through a lot, but we are still here, continuing on this journey, together.
So long as you are kicking me, you are alive.
And I'm so sorry I took that for granted for even a moment.
Me and mum talk about what happened, we talk about my brother, Thomas, about the pain of miscarriages, about my baby's twin that we lost. About how horrible that was, and the pain I feel for that mother.
We talk about how lucky we are.
And I can't help but mention that I'm done. I don't want to be pregnant anymore. I just want me baby in my arms, and I want her home.
And it's true. I can't wait to hold you, Novalyn. I begin my countdown, and start every day with, "I hope my water breaks today.".
I love you, so much, and I can't wait to meet you.
20 more days to go, baby girl.
· Tue Nov 13, 2018 @ 02:25pm · 0 Comments