Another short story. This one inspired by a brief conversation I had on a parents chat board early yesterday morning with a woman who was in a similar situation.
The details of the story though are all fiction. All. So dear family and friends. Please don't worry.
“Mama” he says as he climbs into bed
with me middle of the night. “I had bad dream.” Tired, I lift the blanket, and he snuggles down deep into the covers against
my belly. “What was your dream?” I mumble, but he has already drifted back to new ones.
Better ones, I hope. Then it’s my turn to slip away again. I wake again as his little head jerks wildly into mine. It’s still dark. Clock
says 3:45am. Probably dark too in New York where his father sleeps as well. A
tiny foot in my groin cramps, and I curl over in pain.
This isn’t right.
I carry him back to his bed. Something isn’t right. Tuck him under his soft down blanket with Lightening McQueen. I call the doctor. She tells me not to worry. There’s nothing I can do now in the middle of the night. Go back to sleep, relax and come see her in the morning. But how can I sleep?
I know I think I’m having a miscarriage here in San Francisco. I’m a five
hour flight away from my main support and a 6 hour wait from the doctor. I sit back in bed with my computer, click on a movie, watch. Can’t
concentrate. Click on another. No better.
I have two children. Both boys. One eight years old. The other four. One has
blue eyes like his father. The other brown, like mine. Both have curly blond
hair that came from who knows where. We
joke the father is really that beautiful boy who pours lattes at the coffee
shop, the one who burns himself on the milk foamer and mutters “Shit” under his
breath as he sucks on the hurting digit. Then looks up guiltily to the shocked
looks of all the moms waiting to pay for their macchiatos and little boxed
chocolate milks. One woman protectively circles her arm around the newborn
wrapped against her torso with a fifty dollar Mayan cloth. “Sorry,” he says sheepishly, extends his finger for inspection. He couldn’t
be more than seventeen.
The cramps return, and with them more blood. “It’s probably nothing,” she told me, her voice quiet and calm. I’m sure she’s used to reassuring paranoid mothers in the middle of the night, does it by rote now, and her words are helpful as I turn them over in my head.
It’s probably nothing. What was it she called it again? Perimetrial bleeding. I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds good enough to me. She knows what she's doing, but this is my third pregnancy. I’ve never had anything like this before.
An online search does nothing to explain. Perimetrical? Around the
perimeter? That doesn’t help. Parametrial? Uterine bleeding. That makes sense,
but it sure doesn’t sound good at all.
“Causes of parametrial bleeding,” I type in the little blinking box. Results
tell me cancer, of course. Cervical, ovarian or endometrial.
Back to the waiting game.
I stare out into the room and barely make out a dresser, the window, writing
desk in the gunmetal glow of my laptop. The W-key sticks. Cheerios crumbs
under the keyboard would be my guess as to the culprit. That and a cup of
coffee once accidentally spilled.
Oh how I shouted at my 8 year old when he knocked over the cup and watched
helplessly as warm, sweet liquid seeped around the cracks and onto the motherboard.
Miraculously, the damn thing worked after being left alone to dry.
I scared him when I screamed at him, at the thought of losing six months of
work that had never been backed up, because I was too busy being a mother
myself to attend to it.
5:30. Then. 6:00am flicks past. I close my eyes and count slowly, breathing
with each second. At the end of sixty breaths, my eyes open to find 6:01. Only
89 more of those. Five thousand three hundred and forty breaths, give or take, between
now and the time I must wake everyone else to get ready for school.
I’ll make a breakfast of promised pancakes. Remind the older to brush his
teeth and comb his hair. Help the little one put on his brown and red monkey shoes.
Now there is not much more to do or say. I am just here waiting for 9:00 so I can drop one off at pre-school, the other at his school a mile away and go to the doctor. There is always a little bit of hope, but I have never felt this before, and it is not normal. I just wanted it to be happy and healthy.
Well, I am lying here in bed typing. This is a good way to find comfort and