Back in the Spring, at fifteen weeks pregnant, I had the following to tell; wanting to connect with humility and gratitude this morning, I share again it here:
i've been meaning to get down all the whatsits about our most recent visit to the midwife, which was friday a week ago, then got sidelined by a retreat in kentucky, a bout of the flu and being bedridden for three days, then hitting it hard at the office to catch up on all that was missed...
at any rate, here's how it went: E procured recording equipment from the radio station to record the heartbeat we anticipated hearing via doppler under guidance of our midwife's steady hand.... we arrived on time, though the rains were of the beat your old granny down in the streets variety and the skies were blackish and the roads clogged with frustrated drivers. i weighed, peed in a cup, sat still for a blood pressure reading. i've gained only a pound and a half on my already amply bodacious self, though my bosom is bursting out of the best brassieres i own and a trip to the lingerie section is imminent. no protein or elevated sugars, great blood pressure reading. i listed off my most recent spate of symptoms, including this recent flare up of my fibromyalgia.
all in order, i'm full on into the second trimester and the picture of perfectly contented and healthy mama to be.
we move foward in the visit and ready to hear the baby's heartbeat, and..... nothing. not for several minutes. so, at last: deborah says she's exhausted all her tricks (and to be perfectly frank, she told us outright and before the doppler hit belly, that the fifteenth week was anecdotely the most difficult for hearing the pitter pat, for some not scientifically explained reason). so deborah says she wants to send us for an ultrasound just to be safe.
i'm concerned, but mostly okay until she hands me the paper with the referral to the fancy spa-like imaging center and on it under diagnosis are the initials: No FHB. No Fetal Heartbeat.
My own heart is in my throat. I think I might puke. I don't want to cry. Deborah keeps saying she's sure everything is just fine and she really thinks she heard the heartbeat herself but that her ears are finely attuned to such tones and she wouldn't want us to worry and wonder for a weekend.
E is a rock. He packs up the recording equipment, asks questions about my back pain and I'm so rattled I forget my bottle of water and don't really understand that we're going directly to the imaging office right this very now.
Lean into Now. that's what i would tell E when our years long friendship spun more deeply into intimacy and stole our collective breath. not able on this day in this moment to focus save for a stumbling run to the car in the rain, my internal mantra is, Lean into Now. i'm saying it for my own benefit, but for the baby's, too. i only know that whatever happens, we must absorb it all and be okay.
E talks to me in the car about what i'm taking for my retreat and he's displeased that i'm to be leaving for kentucky in this weather in only hours and my windshield wipers don't seem to be working properly in this storm and vehicular crush.... he's trying to disarm me, distract me, engage me on some other level, but in the waiting room as we drip our wet selves onto the blonde hardwood floors and i stare blankly at the paper in my hand, the dyed redhead at the desk, i mumble to him that i'm not present, and no, babe, i don't care for a magazine to look at.
i tell him that if we lose the baby we'll just give it some time and start again, we'll have to be okay. E tells me not to even entertain such thoughts and i'm simply okay knowing that i haven't screamed or thrown up and i honestly feel like i could do either one at this very moment of not knowing what to expect or even to ask of the Universe, save for: Lean into Now, please help us align with that which is most right.
so a lady comes to the waiting room and calls out Paige Babcock. i still forget that's me, as i always use my full name, La Grone intact, but here, at the imaging center, somehow we move across the foyer to the woman and following her lead, amble through dimly lit halls as if we're going for pedicures and a couples massage.
E holds my hand and i'm so glad he's with me to drive, to answer the questions, to just hold on to all that is impossible for me to be present for beyond staying calm and mindful of breath in order to trick my mind which wants fracture into committees of dialogue since that's what's easy for it to do.
we're in the room now and it's dark and the technician, likely someone's grandmother, is kind and soft spoken, introduces herself as stephanie. at her instruction, i duck into the restroom and pull off my skirt and panties, put a gown on over my roomy puple kirta, come back to the room, lay down on the cozily dressed table. my husband squeezes my hand, he is seated in a chair beside me.
stephanie squirts the gel onto my belly and i am surprised it is warm, a comfort. the paddle follows closely behind and like wow: on the computer screen before us, there is our baby and there is his or her heart beating beating beating, right and proper, at one hundred forty seven beats per minute.
i am weeping and E is kissing me and we all in the room sigh a good sigh and stephanie says, well then, now we can be relieved. indeed.
and the baby, OUR baby, s/he is so beautiful.... we see a face quite clearly and each teeny magnificent vertabrae and a rounded bottom and kicking legs. it is ten of the most miraculously delightful minutes of my life thus far sharing this incredible relief, gratitude and joy with E.
we watch intently, ask questions, look at one another with delight and amazement. wow. i am so deeply grateful to stephanie, that even though she sees this with singles and couples every working day of her life, she protects the sacred space of this being OUR first time to revel in the experience and she does not rush us nor snap off the answers that to her might be rote.
when she has come to the end of the procedure, she tells us that this has been a good day and she is happy for us; some days, some procedures, do not end thusly, and i feel a rush of unadulterated love for this woman who has shared such a deeply intimate moment with my precious little family, my family that i'd kill or die for in an instant.
when i am dressed, with videotape and photos in hand, i ask if i may hug her and she allows it. i wonder vaguely if she thinks i'm a total kook.
as the days roll by, i ask E to tell me about the experience again and again, to fill in details i might have missed.
one night, one sleepless middle of the night time talking as we're crumped up in the bed i ask what was the best part. without hesitation, my dearest friend answers: when we saw our baby's heart beat and you were relieved.
we are well here. it is spring. we have a full pantry and refrigerator, many beautiful flowers to enjoy, fine books and music aplenty, good friends, deeply loved family, and one another.
the last year was so hard, for so many reasons, that today in this now into which i am leaning, i have a renewed faith in the ultimate rightness of things. the last several months have brought forth a gift: like that to abandon hope, no matter how pure a buddhist heart believes, is not to be my path.
simply put, i need hope like i need air, water, food, shelter, love. and it is my goal to provide that hope for my little family, to nurture and tend it in my husband and child.
again, again, again: home. hope. hello. we're finding our way there. with love, paige