A Loss for Two Mothers

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Told by: Chris

My wife and I met in college, and like a storybook romance, fell in love.

Unlike most couples, we knew in advance that we would have a difficult time in growing our family, so as we set out to buy our first home together, we compared neighborhoods with the best likelihood of adoption to fit our needs.

And, it was not easy.

So we lived in our apartment, waiting impatiently for the day to grow our home and grow our family.

We watched our friends moving into homes.

We watched our friends getting pregnant.

We watched our friends having babies.

We kept waiting.

Eventually, we turned our efforts to medical assistance.

We have a special friend and a brilliant doctor who both gave everything they had – about literally – for us to grow our family.

After years, after incredible debt, we were finally pregnant!

The next nine months were sheer joy – specialist appointments, baby clothing shopping, feeling the congratulations of our loved ones.

The day that we learned we were having a son, it felt like the biggest day of my life.  Of my life!

We were, finally, a family.

We chose the name Kayin.  A name that means we have waited a long time.  It sort of reminds me of “cayenne”.  A speckle of fire.  He’ll have to be.

And then, just days from Kayin’s due date, something happened.  My wife woke up, rubbing her beautiful belly.

Over breakfast, she sat at her familiar posture, hand over Kayin.

She looked worried, though, so I kissed her forehead and asked her what was bothering her – already sensing it might have to do with our baby, somehow.  Maybe worried about the birth, I shrugged.

No, she told me she hadn’t felt him moving yet that morning.

The words somehow opened a dam, and panic poured over her.

We moved to the sofa and sat together, hands on Kayin, and waited.

And waited.

And, waited.

The waiting all over again, bringing fears under the surface, the kind of longstanding fears I’ve secretly held for years.

I think we were different people who first sat on those cushions that day than the two who rose from them.

Suddenly things went from slow to whirring fast.

Dashing through the hallway, trying to find shoes.  Phone.  Keys.

Calling loved ones, running out to the street.

Slipping into the car.  Whizzing through traffic.

Fast, fast, fast, toward that red sign, the red sign that spoke what we could not – Emergency.

Steps meeting pavement, a walk that is more like a sprint.

Wheelchair to the maternity level.

Machines beeping.

Nurses talking.

Shoes squeaking on shiny floor.

“What is happening?  Is our baby OK?”

Silence.

Silence.

Silence.

Waiting, to know what this means.

Kayin is dead.

And the whole world broke open.

The floor looks much closer now.  I see the black flakes in the tile.

The black is closing in, I am being swallowed up, swallowed up by the fullest emptiness of my entire life.

Now I’m the one in the wheelchair, but I don’t really understand this yet.

The ocean is in my eyes.

After a few hours, or maybe it was a few years, I’m told that I have to leave my family.

Somehow, the demons who haunt me found audible voice to my greatest fear.  Hearing these words dropped me into an abyss I didn’t know could be possible when already at the bottom of the ocean.  My fear found a crack in the ocean floor, and it opened up to this new hell.

The words are repeated.  To make sure I hear them.  I don’t know that I did ever really hear them, but somehow my inner mind, still working, knew how to translate the words into the searing message that cut to my soul.  And my body responded.

I have to leave my family.

Lightening flashed.

Thunder rose from my gut.

Fire from every corner of my body.

This is my wife.  This is my son.

I will never leave them.

“Are you family?” a nurse looks disgusted.  Is it the vomit that slipped out of my mouth and onto my shirt, or is it the words I managed to croak?

“She is my wife.  This is our son.”

I manage to catch her look and see that she is actually confused.

“I’ll have to check with the doctor.”

And there I sat, shaking the ocean away, trying to find land to steady myself.

Waiting, again.

The fate of our son’s arrival and my best friend’s support in the hardest experience of her entire life waited for the verdict of a stranger.

He is more qualified to determine my value and the value of our marriage and love than we are.

We waited.

I reached out to hold her hand.  She looked so far away, so scared, so young, so vulnerable.

I wanted to scoop her up and run away.  Run, run away to a safe place.   A safe place for our family.

That day was many days ago.

We met our son that day.  We met him, together.

We touched him and kissed him and loved him.

We love him still.

The days between that day and this day are filled with gloom.

Despair.

Fog.

My sweet wife, she doesn’t sit on that sofa anymore.

She spends her days in the rocking chair in Kayin’s room.  Holding his bear.  Looking away from me.

I don’t blame her.  I try not to look at my pain, too.

I try not to think that I destroyed her.

That my love for her, my mighty desire to do anything to please her, my wish to do anything to make her happy, did not bring her to the worst hole of hell.

Who am I, even?

What did I do?

Should we not have gotten pregnant?

Before then, should I have tried to suppress my admiration of her shiny hair and sparkly eyes, her heart to give compassion to every single creature on this planet?

Am I the walking abyss of destruction, popping open to kill the life out of such a gentle and caring person?

Every step of this road has proven to tell me that I’m wrong, that I’m gross, that I’m bad.

I’ve tried to shield her from such hurt, but she’s known.  She’s been told these things, too.

We held hands and we kept walking.

We held hope and we kept waiting.

Kayin.  We have always wanted to speak out about the wait.

Just, not ever like this.

I’m waiting, now.

Waiting for that speckle of fire to return in those beautiful mossy eyes I’ve fallen in love with.

Waiting and holding hope we can keep walking, still.

rainbow

 

 

 

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