Acknowledging the Fear
I had a feeling something was wrong.
The generic, non-specific, almost evasive way the ultrasound technician talked to me. Friendly, but something felt just a little off. I asked her if the tear had healed. I know technically they aren’t supposed to say anything, but sometimes if you ask the right question or are specific they will give a one word answer.
“I got a good look at it, but I’m not allowed to say anything.”
Warning bells went off in my head. I’m not sure what it was. Maybe she hesitated, maybe she froze for a second. But I instantly felt uneasy and wished I hadn’t asked.
I called the doctor the next day to hear the report. He was on holidays until the next day. I talked to his nurse. She said the report was in, but she was only allowed to give out information once he had looked at it and he hadn’t yet.
I missed his call the next day and called back and talked to the nurse. “Katie Blum, yes? Birth date? Oh yes. Let me just pull up the report, he did look at it… Katie, I’m going to get him to call you back.”
My heart sank at that moment. Any good news would have been given me at that moment. The doctor had seen the report. But the nurse didn’t feel she was the right person to give me the news.
The next few hours were spent distracting myself and trying not to panic. There were so many scenarios running through my head, none of which were good. I felt sick to my stomach. Then he called. The news wasn’t catastrophic. It’s not like the baby was falling out of me. It’s not like half of my placenta had detached. But the tear hadn’t healed. It had gotten slightly bigger. Nothing we can do at this point. Take it easy. Be lazy. Be concerned and take precautions but don’t worry. Biggest concern is the placenta pulling away completely. These things can heal and often do.
I nod, even though he can’t see me. I hang up and Sheldon’s shoulders are already slumped down, he knows it’s not the news we wanted. I can see it in his eyes. Why does everything have to be so difficult? It’s hard enough to be expecting a preemie, why this too?
The truth is, it could all be perfectly fine. The tear could heal itself, and the baby could make it as far into pregnancy as it was ever going to, hopefully 35+ weeks. Really, the baby right now is fine, growing as it should, moving around, developing, doing what babies do.
The little baby has no idea it’s bopping around in a sea of uncertainty.
Because it is uncertain. And so totally, infuriatingly, out of my hands. It could be fine… and it could be oh so terribly not fine.
There’s a certain part of me inside; a rather crazy-haired, shaking, wild-eyed broken part if you will. This mess of a person came into being when I lost my first child, my daughter, Rory, after only holding her for 18 days. This part is usually locked away, because being an emotional disaster, completely broken, and three seconds from a meltdown is rather a hindrance in the “get your life back together” scheme of things. Some things aren’t so much fixed in this life as they are put away for now. Some things aren’t meant to be fixed this side of heaven. Some things can’t be. But because I experienced the ultimate tragedy, the inconceivable loss of a dearly sought after, waited-for-three-years-to-have infant – that part of me is there, just not always visible.
But it’s time like these it’s hard not to let the wild eyes out. It’s hard to hear the comfort, the platitudes, the it’ll be okays. Because I’ve heard them before. And it wasn’t okay. And God knows, truly, it’s still not. It’s hard not to want to start screaming, to start hyperventilating, to start shaking and think, “Oh God, oh God, I cannot do this again. I cannot lose another child. You cannot be asking this of me.” And then to hear those words in my head, to hear them echoing from another time, a time when I was asked, when I did lose, when I did have to do the unthinkable – the panic swells again.
Because I know.
I know what it’s like to be asked to do the impossible and to have to do it. I know in this life there are no guarantees. Even though I may feel I have suffered my share, it doesn’t mean I won’t suffer again.
And that terrifies me.