5/17/11

Beauty seeps in, slowly

Picking up where we left off yesterday, what follows is a post I wrote five years ago, on the first anniversary of my second miscarriage. What I learned during the interval between the two was that I had not properly grieved the first one, so when I found myself facing an even greater sadness the second time around, I tried not to hold it all in. Problem was, I had very little experience with sharing my heart and feelings. Keeping it all under wraps had been my main way of living for twenty-eight years. In fits and starts I worked my way through and a year later, I tried to sum up everything:


The Sound of Silence


I was about 12 weeks pregnant, when I had my first prenatal visit. I went to the same OB I’d had when I was pregnant with Laney, Dr. Martinez. After the nurse took my vitals and the pee test was positive, he preformed an ultrasound. I saw the baby swimming happily around and Dr. Martinez gave me a due date, Nov. 2nd. Everything looked great.

Three weeks later I was back for another checkup. My doctor began my appointment with the usual questions about how I was doing. Then he got out the Doppler instrument they use to listen to the heartbeat. He started on the lower left side of my tummy and I remember thinking that the baby had been on the right side before, so I was not alarmed when he couldn’t find it right away. He circled to the other side of the table and probed my right side, making a joke about how there was a lot of room to be hiding. We both smiled and then got quiet. We listened, and listened. Then we listened some more, but we never heard the quick, steady, bump--bump of my baby’s heart. There was nothing but static.

The other sound I’ll never forget came when I called my best friend, Angie. She’d been watching Sam and Laney for me while I was at the Doctor, and they were having a little picnic at the park.

She‘d barely said hello when I told her, “The doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat.”“What?” she asked. “Oh, you heard me!” I cried. I had yet to realize that I wasn’t making myself very clear but suddenly she got it, she understood.

She gasped for like five seconds, a high pitched throaty gasp. She must’ve sucked in a gallon of air. Then, right before she let go and we both began sobbing, there was the briefest of silences. In that little millisecond, time stopped and pain traveled in cellular waves. If only there’d been a way for one of us to ride those waves to the other.

Of course I’d called John first, but I’m sure I could never describe what he felt when he heard my voice. I’m also sure there is no way to determine which end of that phone call was harder, the giving, or the receiving. We decided he should come get me, but I couldn’t wait at the Dr.‘s office -- I had to get out of there. I needed air, I needed sky.

I went to my car in the parking garage. As soon as I turned the key, I heard loud radio static. I immediately hit the mute button. Once I was out of the garage, I did not try to find an FM station -- I turned the radio off. I didn’t want a CD either. I needed silence. I needed stillness. I wanted the world to stop spinning. For the next few days, when I could help it, I didn’t listen to anything. All the noises of the world, all the stops and starts, all the quiets and louds, somehow they made it hurt more.

John met me on the top level of the Annapolis mall parking lot. The plan had been for him to pick me up but ultimately we decided to both drive so we wouldn’t have to worry about getting the car later. We’d been home like ten minutes, when our pastor and his wife stopped by. After they left, John went to get the kids from Angie and I tried to take a nap. I couldn’t sleep though because my head was pounding. I had only had breakfast that day and I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink anything until surgery. So, for about an hour, I laid down on our bed. I closed my eyes and clutched at the faded yellow blanket I had wrapped myself in.

We spent a couple of hours with the kids before taking them to their aunt Sherry’s for the night. Then we went to the hospital for the D&C. When we got in the car John put on a Randall Goodgame cd he’d bought recently. “This makes me feel better.“ he said. I had to stop myself from pushing eject on the cd player; I couldn’t take it away from him even if it didn’t work for me.

The album’s called War and Peace, and I‘m pretty sure it‘s been in one of our cars ever since that day. The cover art looks like someone cut out old Peanuts comic strips and taped them to a bulletin board or something; and the first three tracks commemorate some of the characters created by Charles Schulz, who’d died sometime the year before.

I really enjoy the cd now, but every time we pop it in and I hear, “Well, it may sound funny but I cried, the day I found out Schroeder died,” a tear comes to the corner of my eye as I remember that day. I usually blink it back so I can sing along with the rest of the song -- it’s really a great tune -- but when the song reaches the bridge, or maybe it’s technically the last verse, that tear comes back and brings a few more with it.

The tears aren’t all sad ones though. I rather like thinking of my boy in this kind of heaven:

Oh, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown, what’s it like in God’s hometown?
Do the angels make Lucy keep the football down?
Is every cartoon a full color affair, since everyday is just like Sunday there?

And when Schroeder plays Beethoven’s number nine,
Does Snoopy still dance, does Lucy still pine?
Everybody dies but still it always seems too soon,
So I shed a tear for this cartoon.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

You really are one of the most lovely people I know.