When. She used the word when, not if. “When you deliver your third child, we’ll need to be prepared for a possible transfusion. You lost a lot of blood with that surgery, and we need to be ready if that’s going to be an ongoing issue.” My mind stuck on the “when,” rather than on the large blood loss and possible future complications. I appreciated her optimism. My OB, reassuringly cheerful but professionally somber when appropriate, has always advocated for me to have more children. We enjoy each other’s company, and she knows that when everything gets off to a good start, my body handles pregnancy and childbearing beautifully.
Except this time. This time, I lost my baby at 8.5 weeks, and continued carrying completely unaware, hormones still in full gear, until 11.5 weeks, when the ultrasound tech gently put her hand on my arm and said, “I’m sorry.” Almost immediately afterward, my mind raced forward to the next baby. We could try again. Then, THEN I would be happy. THEN I wouldn’t disappear headfirst into this gaping baby-shaped hole in my heart. But those feelings faded. I let my mind and heart grasp, to the best of their ability, what was going here. This was a loss. This was a child. A separate, unique, individual being who came into our lives for a reason. To gloss over his or her existence in a race to create a viable replacement seemed…so…cruel.
While my mind is filled with visions of siblings meeting a sweet baby in the hospital for the first time, the smell of a tender baby scalp, and the soft cocoon of a long, slumber-filled nursing session, it’s THIS baby that fills these dreams. Not a possible future baby. I want THIS baby. And so, the idea of trying again, of opening up my body, my heart and my spirit to the possibility of new life will have to wait. Until I’m good and ready, or until I discern that God nudge that “Yes. This is My will.”
You see, I’m a bleeder. In many ways. Five days ago I had a D&C and laparoscopic cystectomy to to bring the physical chapter of this loss to a close. And while the surgery was successful, my ovary was saved, and I woke up relatively healthy in recovery, my body didn’t let go of that baby easily. After all, it had carried him or her for four full weeks after development had stopped. My body didn’t want to let go. And it wept. A liter of blood poured from me before my doctor could subdue the flow. My body was weakened. And recovery has been much more difficult than expected. Debilitating migraines, a late-night trip to the ER for possible infection, continual heavy bleeding, and finally, a household where rest was impossible (two sick children and ongoing construction).
And though the bleeding has slowed to a trickle from my body, the outpouring from my heart and spirit has just begun. One follow-up visit to the OB’s office, the one where I was dealt the knee-buckling blow, and my heart began to hemorrhage. One God-chosen song coming through the radio, and my spirit artery is pierced clean through. And until this emotional tidal wave ebbs to a manageable trickle, that “when” will be an “if.” I can’t just proceed through life not deeply affected by the deep cuts. I’m a bleeder.