Journal from October 2008
Like a haze, the memories of that day come into focus. Their edges are fuzzy, like the stuffed bear the little girl gave me to ease my pain. The lines morph into a center where the clarity is astonishing. It is like that for me when I turn out the lights at night. I am a mixture of dust and polish, ash and sunlight, summer and the harshest winter storm. My husband turns over and is snoring within a minute, but I lay awake facing the onslaught of unrecognizable feelings and vivid images.
My thoughts turn to the day of our first sonogram. It was supposed to be an exciting morning. We were going to see the baby for the first time. The doctor had told us the week before that everything seemed normal, but I woke up with sharp pains in my abdomen. I thought about staying home but my husband and I agreed I should suck it up and go to the doctor’s appointment. After all, it was just bad morning sickness. At the doctor’s office I was too weak to leave my vehicle. I knew something was wrong and asked my husband to get help.
I remained in the vehicle while he went in to the office to ask for a wheelchair. He returned to inform me that the office did not have a wheelchair and the nurses told him to just come inside. He drove the Jeep closer to the building and we waited for ten minutes while I tried to gather strength to stand up. He went in a second time and asked if they could have a bed ready for me. Later he told me they were reluctant to do that even after he told them that I was in pain. It seemed we were on our own.
While he was in the office for the second time that’s when it started. Everything was tanning-bed-bulb bright. The pain receded behind an avalanche of joy-filled dreams. For the life of me I cannot recall a single dream, but I know I did not want to wake up. The short-lived relief lingered like a rose petal balancing on a still pool of water. The water surged and overtook the petal as a reminder that my body was in agony.
My husband came to the car door right as I woke up. A cold chill swept over me and the sweat fell. It had no resemblance to the tears that would come later. It dripped off me like a hundred leaking faucets. Drip. Drip. Drip. The next day my husband told me that was when he knew it was serious. I was as pale as the sand on our favorite beach.
As he helped me from the Jeep and onto the sidewalk, he later told me I fainted again. All I remember are the same wonderful dreams and the cessation of my pain. I woke up to the stares from curious faces. It took me a moment to realize that I was sprawled out on the sidewalk in front of the doctor’s office and that my shirt was up to my bra-line. No dignity. Only pain.
After the nurses called 911, they lead me stumbling and weak, to the nearest room. I don’t remember the color of the room, but I do remember the white coat the doctor wore as he stood in the doorway and the white paper underneath me that crinkled while I was being moved.
The first time I heard the words “ectopic pregnancy” was in this room while the medics were unsuccessfully trying to get a blood pressure reading. Until this moment, I didn’t entertain the thought that my baby was going to die.
Part II can be found here.