Part 1: Finding Out.
May 31, 2006
It was a Wednesday morning. I was 39weeks and 6 days pregnant.
"I don't want to go to this appointment. We were just there on Friday. I know the baby isn't ready to come, I should just cancel and reschedule."
"You never know! Maybe the doctor will induce today!"
"No! He isn't ready to come yet. I don't want to have another internal, that one really really hurt last time."
We hugged. He was excited, I was scared.
Because I knew.
On May 30th, 2006 my husband, Craig and I, took a walk around a local park reserve. I hadn't felt the baby move much, if at all that day. I poked at my stomach on the walk "are you alive in there?" I said, jokingly.
"That isn't funny," Craig said.
I knew it wasn't, but deep down, I knew.
That night he sat by me on the couch. "I want to get the show on the road! I am SO ready to meet this little dude."
That night, as I lay in bed, I pushed and pushed on my stomach. Longing for a kick. Please kick me, Curtis. Kick me. "He has never been a big mover," I reasoned with myself. I pushed, hard. I felt something, but it felt more like me pushing him, as opposed to him moving on his own.
Come on, baby.
I took a deep breath, rolled, and allowed myself to say "it is okay" and fell asleep.
May 31, 2006.
"Wow, you have lost 5 pounds in 5 days. You were just here on Friday. " The nurse chattered. 5 pounds? That seemed like a lot to lose at 40 weeks pregnant.
The doctor comes in.
"He hasn't been moving much."
"Well, as you get to the end, they don't. Let's do the internal first....Well, you are dialated to a one, no change from Friday."
My heart is racing. The doppler was coming out. I knew, I knew, I knew. Now Craig was going to know. He was going to know, he was going to be welcomed into what had already become my secret hell.
The doctor put the doppler on and absolute silence. No placenta sounds, no blood flow sounds, and worse of all, no heartbeat. He moved it all over. He picked up a faint heart beat and felt my wrist. "My heartbeat. The only one. There should be two." I thought.
"I will go get the ultrasound machine."
"I heard the heartbeat," Craig said.
"It was mine." I replied. I couldn't look at him. God, he is so good to me. Why is he going to have to go through this?
"No, it is fine."
The doctor brings back the ultrasound machine. He knows, I know, Craig doesn't know.
He gets everything turned on and the gel on me. I glance quickly to the screen, but don't even look long. There is a still body.
The doctor says nothing. No words. Just silence. Like Curtis' heart. But my heart is screaming. "There is no heartbeat." I am the one to say it outloud. The doctor nods.
I remember a slew of profanity escape from Craig's mouth. I just look up to the ceiling. I can handle this. I can, but I don't want Craig to go through this. Not him. He doesn't deserve this.
I don't remember getting off of the table, but I do. I don't remember putting back on my pants. My huge, stretched out maternity jeans. The ones I lived in the last weeks of my pregnancy. My huge stomach making it hard to bend down to pull them up.
The doctor stares at us.
"I know this won't be of comfort, but we do see this a few times each year. It won't happen again. You can have another"
I don't reply. I have 100 sarcastic replies for his insensitive comment now, but didn't then.
"So, I have to deliver today."
"Can we go over now?"
"Yes, after we do some blood work. I will call over the hospital. You need to go to the lab and get some blood drawn. Are you sure you don't want to go home first?"
For what? To walk into our living room, with the baby swing I set up in the middle? The outfit my mother in law bought still on our kitchen counter?
He leaves, a nurse comes in and says how sorry she is. We have to go to the lab.
We walk out of the exam room, down the hall. It is all a blur. The lab room is packed. Craig goes up the window, we are told to take a seat. Craig shows the only anger I saw of him all day.
"No. We are not sitting there. You cannot make her sit here. Get her in, right now!"
These people have no idea. I just look like another pregnant woman. Except tears are running down my face. His voice gets louder.
Another nurse comes running down the hall, apologizing, telling us we can come back to the exam room, they will take my blood there. Everyone is staring.
We can make phone calls, she says. Just dial 9.
I look at Craig. "We are going to need a lot of therapy. And booze." He smiles. God, I love his smile. He has this dimple that is to die for. I am sure the girls in junior high swooned over that dimple. I know I did at 27. I wonder if Curtis would have had his dimple?
I pick up the phone. I needed people to know. Now. I think Craig prefered not to share the news quite yet. I wanted the world to know the hell we were going through. I wanted the support. When I had thought about the delivery, I had always thought we would call people after it was all over "Suprise! He is here!" I wanted privacy.
Now, I wanted support.
I called my parent's house. It rang and rang. No one picked up. I called my dad's cell phone. He answered cheerfully. I am sure, expecting some type of good phone call from his 40 week pregnant daughter.
"We lost the baby."
"Daddy, we lost the baby."
"I ... what?"
"We need you to come. I have to go to the hospital to deliver him. He is gone."
"We will be there."
Now, he is welcomed into the hell.
"We have to call your parents. I can do it. You don't have to." I don't want Craig to tell them. I want to protect Craig, I don't want him to go through this. I want to take it all on myself. He shakes his head no.
He calls his mom on her cell phone.
One hand on the phone, another one cradling his head in his hand.
"Mom," his voice breaks. "We lost the baby."
I tune out the rest. I don't remember. I can't listen. I can't listen to Craig's heartbreak. I cannot believe I have broke his heart. I cannot believe his son is dead inside of me.
He hangs up with his mom. "Well, she almost drove off of the road."
My dad raced home from work and woke my mom up from her sleep with the news her grandson died and her daughter was being sent to deliver. My sweet mother in law had to tell our son's Pop Pop that his second grandson had died.
I remember walking out of the clinic to the car. We had brought two cars that day. It was the first day of my maternity leave, but I was going to my good bye lunch at work. We opted to both get into Craig's car.
Where the carseat was installed. We both stared at it for a moment. Got in, and drove the block to the hospital.
We stood outside, a bright, sunny day, and made more phone calls. I left messages for my friends Annie and Christy. Only my co-worker Paige picked up the phone.
Craig called his co-worker.
"So, are you a father yet?" he was asked.
"That isn't going to be happening."
That wasn't entirely true.