Still December 13, 1005
We drove home from the hospital. Silence. I had spent the past five weeks with at least a shred of hope. And now there was no hope. There was less than hope. There was awful finality.
I don’t remember if I said it out loud or just in my head. I was numb with shock, but even shock couldn’t keep my brain from its constant need to over-process thoughts, at all times. I’ve ruined Steve’s life AND his birthday. How were we going to tell his mom? How was I going to tell Josh? My parents. My friends. People at work. Would people wonder what I had done to cause this? What had I done to cause this? Why was this happening to me? To us. How was I going to get through this?
We picked Josh up from school on our way home. I had to tell his teacher something to explain that he may not be in school for the next few days. What if we had to go to the US? Oh god, I didn’t want to go to the US. I told the teacher that my baby was sick and wouldn’t live much longer. I tried not to let tears well up in my eyes. I was sure it was uncomfortable enough for her, but she hugged me anyways. I would have to get used to this sort of exchange. I would spend months explaining to people that I didn’t have the baby. That he got sick and died. Because what else could I say. The worst part about it was that I was usually the one that ended up feeling sorry. Feeling uncomfortable. Wishing I didn’t have to put that person in the awkward position of hearing what had happened to me.
Back home, Josh had gone downstairs to watch TV. I felt nauseous on top of everything else. I dreaded telling him. He’d been watching his baby brother grow and feeling him kick. He was excited. And I knew from my years of being his mother, that he did not take bad news well. At all. I went downstairs and sat next to him on the couch. I held him close as I told him essentially the same thing I had told his teacher. Seamus was very sick and he wouldn’t live much longer. I could tell he was having difficulty with the information.
“Is he going to die?”
“Yes, baby. I’m afraid he is.”
Josh let out a cry. It was actually more of a howl. I wasn’t expecting it. It was like someone was physically hurting him. I just continued to hold him and let him cry.
Once he settled down, I told him we were going out for dinner. It was still Steve’s birthday and we had planned to go to Boston Pizza for dinner. And I needed something normal to happen that day. I needed to do something to avoid the feeling that my whole life had changed in an instant. Changed horribly. Permanently. I had to keep moving so that I didn’t have to stop and think about the fact that I might literally go crazy with grief. This particular scenario had never occurred to me, and I wasn’t prepared.
Before we left for dinner, Dr. Brennan called. She wanted to let me know that if I decided to terminate the pregnancy, she would deliver Seamus herself, at McMaster. I could come in on Thursday and she would induce labour. And we would all hope that he didn’t survive. I had spent months trying to ensure his survival and now I had to hope he didn’t. I told her we would see her on Thursday morning.
Dinner at Boston Pizza ended up being a bit of a fiasco. None of us were emotionally stable enough to be in public. I sat at the table drinking orange juice, because that was Seamus’ favourite thing. When I wanted to feel him move, I drank cold orange juice. I wasn’t sure if I was being masochistic or if I just wanted to feel him while I still could. And he kicked away, like it was any other day. Oblivious to his fate. And Joshua decided it would be a good night to put lime cordial into his chocolate milk and vomit spaghetti and meatballs all over Boston Pizza.
That night and the next day were almost unbearable. And not just because of the spaghetti vomit. I had to call my boss and tell him to stop the presses on my maternity leave paperwork. I had to answer questions from unknowing strangers about my due date and whether I was having a boy or a girl. I had to see commercials for diapers and pregnancy tests. I had to endure the in utero kicks and hiccups that I once reveled in. And this was just a day and a half. I couldn’t imagine living this painful lie for four months.
In fact, I had no ability to see past Thursday. There was no way to envision my life on the other side of this. It was the first, and only, time in my life that I didn’t worry. Because what could possibly be worse than this.
Thursday December 15, 2005
At around 6am, Steve and I got ready to leave for the hospital. I stood in the shower, crying softly. Watching the water fall over my belly for the last time. These were my last moments alone with him. And I had to say goodbye.
Steve’s mom had come over to watch Josh. She had tears in her eyes as we walked out the front door. I wanted to tell her I was sorry. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Leaving for the hospital to have our baby was supposed to be exhilarating. Not annihilating.
When we got to the hospital, I was taken to have an amniocentesis. They wanted to test my amniotic fluid for genetic abnormalities. It was a student that performed the amniocentesis. I guess it didn’t matter if she made a mistake. He was going to die anyways. So, my tragedy was a perfect learning opportunity. She had to perform it twice. I would never feel him move again after that.