Monday, March 8, 2010

Chasing Cars

I went back to teach today, even after a horrible morning.

You see, the doctors come in around 8 every day to do an ultrasound on Mindy. They're checking to see if her cervix and sac have gone back where they need to be. This morning, the head doctor told her to fill her bladder and then we'd have a look. (Yesterday when this happened, it gave the appearance that everything was normal. she peed, and then it wasn't) She drank a lot of water, they did the ultrasound. I looked at the screen only to find that her cervix was open 2.8cm (the most it's been so far). The doctors didn't say this to us. They told us it was "the same," but I've heard that before.

It was at this point that the other doctor started talking about resuscitation, what we'd like to do if he's delivered soon. I couldn't handle it, not what he was saying, just everything.

I don't do well when I'm tired. I'm also PMSing. These things combined with the image of her open cervix on the screen were enough to set me off.

I cried. It came on so fast. The older doctor (who looks like santa) held me tightly in his white jacket while I apologized...the kind of apologies people give when they cry, for no real reason. The younger doctor said maybe he should come back to talk about what "measures" we'd like to take should the baby be born.

Through my tears I just said that I didn't want him to suffer. Once again, the doctors said we were enlightened for making the decision we have. We know he's too young to survive. If he did, he'd be severely handicapped.

So, it was with this whole scene in my head that I drove to Jefferson City. I heard that damn Snow Patrol song, like, "If I lay here, if I just lay here...would you lie with me and just forget the world? me a garden that's bursting into life."

I cried most of the way to Lincoln.

I had only a few minutes to get my shit together before class, so it was no surprise that I totally cried when I tried to explain to my class why I wasn't at school on Friday. I saw at least three people tear up. And I felt like such a weak asshole.

For my second class, I gave the same spiel. Something about my wife being 23 weeks pregnant, in the hospital, things aren't looking good for us. One student asked, after I'd said this, "who da baby daddy?"

Another student came to argue the grade she received on her last paper. She wanted to cry about the grade (she got an F because it was late; that's my policy), but I just fucking rolled over and said I'd grade it. Then she thought about asking me how my weekend was. I asked, "do you really want to know?" She said she did. I told her. She looked at me and asked, "Did you have to pay to get the baby?"

Not knowing how to answer that I said yes.

"Well, just pray. You believe in God, don't you?"

"No," I answered.

"Oh," she said.

But, you know, other students hung around after class to say they were sorry and they hoped things would work out. When I tried to explain it to one student, he stared blankly at me.

"Do you know what a cervix is?" I asked

He waved his hand around his stomach, "Somewhere down there."

One student emailed to say she was really sorry and that she'd lost two kids this way. It's amazing how open and wonderful people are if you open up first. I guess that's one reason why I write nonfiction. It's like, people are itching to tell their stories, they just don't wanna be the first to do it.

When I got back from work I walked into the new room (mindy had been moved) to find the social worker and the pediatrics dr. talking to Mindy and her mom. The first thing anyone said to me was "Oh, thank God you're here." Like I needed to hear that after a bad day anyway...I forgot to tell you that I called Mindy to check in around noon. She told me then that she'd had some contractions. I almost pissed my pants.

Anyway, the doc was here with a skinny social worker making sure they knew what we wanted to do in case he was born tonight...or any moment. In case you're wondering, we'd make sure he was comfortable for the time he was on earth.

Mindy says he's kicking away; I'm still not able to feel him. I'm not sure if I want to.

So, it was a rough day. Now Mindy's sleeping, her ass as high in the air as she can get it, the blood draining into her face. She's beautiful, though, even with those air pressure things on her legs, her greasy hair, the catheter sticking out of her hand. Her mom brought new hospital gowns that she had made while she awaited a flight from Fairbanks. Mindy's wearing a green one right now, with lady bugs. She is my wife, and I love her.

They only thing that keeps me sane right now is knowing she'll be there after this is over. Even if it turns out terribly, my wife will be there with me, even if she's scarred and depressed. Even if we're both in therapy. Even if I'm drinking to numb the memories of my son, dead before he was born.

She'll be right beside me.

We'll do it all, everything, on our own
We don't need anything or anyone

1 comment:

  1. When I read this, I thought of the following quote:

    "Annie, who knows me better than everyone; who was with me on my first discovery of the wire; Annie, whose green eyes move me. When we embrace, we look like two kids, plotting our next bit of mischief."

    This is how you know two people are meant to be together, and thus, that they can survive anything, as long as they have each other.

    I think about the widget. I think about Mindy. I think that, despite all this grief, I might give anything to have what you do.