If Ever So Briefly

Posted: July 15th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

What Mattered

Today the misty heat wafted off of the freshly rained upon asphalt. A typical muggy July afternoon.

Was it today? Yesterday? Tomorrow?

I know 1986 was the year, but for the life of me I can’t recall the exact day in July it happened.

A part of my feminine consciousness feels horridly ashamed. How could I not remember exactly, to the day, to the hour that you gushed out of my body? The moment that your lifeless flesh plopped into the toilet.

I can still feel being frozen in that moment. My right hand, lily-white from having clutched the towel rack, so hard for so long from contractions, that I couldn’t let go of it.

I tried to stand up, to see if my fresh prayer had been answered … that the large plop was just a blood clot.

As I tried to stand up bravery hinted to the notion that instead I might see an alien looking two-to-three month fetus floating in a pool of blood. But nothing could have prepared me for what was really there … you. A five-month-along baby.

I could hear my voice but felt no emotion as I screamed out to your father, “It’s a baby! It’s a baby!”

Terror wanted me to flee the tiny bathroom as fast as I could, but I was trapped. My right hand was stuck gripping the towel rack. I flailed.

There was dead silence in the air as I repeatedly screamed your father’s name. For only being a few feet away it took him an eternity to get to me.

As he stood at the bathroom’s threshold, looking only at my eyes, I whispered, “It’s a baby. It has fingers, toes and little knees. It’s dead.”

And for an instant, just a flash of an instant in the span of all linear time, he betrayed us with his truth.

“ … it’s dead …” He looked relieved.

He saw that I saw his truth, but because my knees started to give way he kept me from slumping onto the cold floor too quickly. One by one he pried my fingers to let go of the towel rack. I finally got to rest on the floor.

As I gazed upon your unnatural stillness he asked, “Now what?”

I repeated the instructions we had both heard earlier that day from my curt OBGYN. “I don’t know why you’re having cramps. The machine isn’t working so I can’t hear if the baby’s heart is still beating. You don’t have insurance to go to the ER, so, go home. If you lose it be sure and bring it in. So we can measure it and stuff.”

So cold. So uncaring. So selfish, to not make any of my maternal feelings a priority. The both of them … the lazy doctor who should have retired at least by a decade ago, and, my husband, your father.

I understood your father’s look of relief upon hearing you were dead. All he did the few months that I did know I was pregnant was whine about how this was going to ruin his music career. Like no musician in all of history had ever raised a child. In hindsight, his moment of relief was the moment I fell out of love with him.

After the pang of his betrayal, I wanted him to have no part of doing right by you — to your very end. But I couldn’t get up, I had to ask him for help.

You were just too big for the ladle he had brought me to fetch you out of the toilet with. I had to scoop you out with my bare hands into a large glass jar.

You and I, we sat on the edge of the bathtub together, alone. You floating in the glass, late afternoon sunlight illuminating the obvious mistakes that nature had made while creating your body.

You had chosen to be a boy. For the times that you would have been teetering on the brink of childhood trouble you would have heard me call out, “Taylor Martyn!”

I clutched your glassed-encased body against my chest, rocking, repeating, “You’re a baby. Little fingers. Little toes. Little knees. Little elbows. My little boy. I’m so sorry, Taylor. I was going to do my best for you. I was going to make sure you had the childhood I didn’t get. I was going to be a protective, supportive, silly, loyal, affectionate, truthful, loving mother … a mom. I was going to love you with all of my heart and soul. I’m so sorry.”

Then I finally slipped you into a paper bag, so you would be protected from the harsh glare of the world on our ride to the hospital.

It turns out the one constant prayer for you was heard. Upon finding out that I was pregnant I prayed for you to be a healthy baby, so you could have the best shot at a good life. The umbilical cord was weak and finally broke. You never really had a fighting chance. But at least I got to feel you flutter inside me once when I sneezed. My earnest prayer for you was answered, you were spared being “a vegetable” as my doctor succinctly put it.

I still say, “Who was I to argue with nature or God.”

On the very last day of July this year, 29 years after your brief moments in the late afternoon sunlight, I will have to have a total hysterectomy. Everything, gone.

Out of control fibroids are causing my health to rapidly deteriorate. They’re crowding internal organs and giving cause for constant intense pain. “Dey gots to go!”

This recent health news got me to reflecting upon my one shot at flesh and blood motherhood. I recalled that you were officially announced to the family on Mother’s Day. It was only a few months after the announcement that I lost you. So, that had to have happened in late July or early August. The poignancy of these life event’s timing has not gone unnoticed.

Upon reflection, as a woman facing the removal of all of her female reproductive organs, I can’t have regrets about being a childless woman. As many times as I should have gotten pregnant over the years, I never did. I need to be at peace that it just wasn’t meant to be.

I do, however, feel sadness for having had my biological worth as a woman negated … I was the only human that felt joy for your having chosen me to be your mother. It seems that all everyone else felt was angst. Ever since the miscarriage, my heart has carried rejection by those negative people — as a woman, a mother, a mom. I have at least come to accept that their unsupportive attitudes towards my pregnancy are theirs to own.

Facing this imminent hysterectomy has brought my emotions full circle. I celebrated and mourned you once more, with much more wisdom and forgiveness. I’m at peace with my fertility journey through this lifetime. You see, because of you, Taylor, I was indeed a mother and a mom … if ever so briefly.

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