“And how many pregnancies?”
“This is my sixth.”
“All carried to full term?”
“All but one. One miscarriage.”
A nod. Fingers flew over the keys and I looked around the small examination room, so very familiar to me. Only once did these pastel rooms hold pain for me. Two days after Father’s Day, 2012, two years ago.
That day my face was barely holding it together; I was tears and heartache with legs. The nurses kept the questions low and few; this was no bubbly visit this.
I remember a great deal of tenderness that day; the midwife who checked me held my hand as she laid out the hard truths, that the baby had died, that the bleeding would take a while, that these things happen and that it wasn’t my fault. Oh how my soul howled, how it beat at the air with clenched fists and rage.
Just the day before, when the bleeding had begun, I had walked out into the yard. There I found a broken half of a robin’s egg. The little one had left, and it was one of those double-meaning moments, like God whispering in a simple shell that my little one too, was elsewhere now, with Him. Dread swept on over.
In the days that followed I tore the floor out of our dining room. For me, grief holds a hammer. I pried out ugly tiles and poorly-installed oak tongue and groove flooring, hacked through crumbling layers of sub flooring, and exposed at last the 100 year-old wood floor underneath, looking like a porcupine with thousands of nails poking up. For days I pulled out one nail at a time, tears dripping down my nose and making wet circles in the dust. My husband sanded the floor and varnished it and there was some redemption in the energy of grief. I stopped crying every day.
I was out walking in the yard two months later, unknowingly pregnant with dear Henrik, when I found a perfectly formed nest. Again that recognition of double meaning; life would again dwell within me. When the pregnancy test was positive I cried the unmanageable cry of joy/pain/grief/fragile hope. I was scared, scared to love again, hope again. I felt guilty about the joy; how could I be happy when my other baby had just died?
They call them rainbow children; those ones born after a child loss. They seem to bring healing with them, hope, and help usher joy back into the house. The promise after the storm and torment.
As was his brother or sister who passed right from my womb to God’s hands. Not just a sorrow, but a gift, someone I’ll embrace one day with bright joy. Gabriel, or Gabriela, which means “stands in the Presence”, can show me around. Part of my heart lives in Heaven now, this very moment. I don’t know what God does with my requests, that a hug be sent to my baby from mama, that He tell him/her of my love unending.
The heartbeat fluttered at a quick clip as the smiling doctor said, “Well, that settles it, you’re pregnant! Good sound to hear?”
“The most lovely of sounds.”