you need to drown out the static and listen

knowing when to have faith and when to worry is a skill that i don't think can be mastered. i know that i haven't. i have been lucky so far, for 38 weeks i have kept my worry tucked safely away. sure he pops his head up every now and again but reason has always won out, there was never "that feeling" present, the one that makes it impossible to look the other way. i got that feeling today and even now i can't shake it. now when everything has checked out and the words healthy and perfect have been muttered i find myself looking at all the baby clothes in the closet and the bassinet and wondering what i was thinking by setting it all up? i said i wouldn't do that this time. i swore i wouldn't. but somewhere along the line i let my positive optimism take over. i was proud of myself, being strong enough to believe in this. believe in happy endings.

i didn't feel movement last night, there was only stillness where there should have been kicking, lots of kicking. this morning it was the same, even after a bowl of raisin bran and juice. the morning continued and nothing changed. once on my way to the kitchen i thought i felt a punch but i couldn't be sure. i stopped dead in my tracks to wait for another, for confirmation. nothing came. i tried to put it away in the back of my head. i opted for faith. by noon there was no faith left in me. i knew i needed to call the hospital, i knew i needed to go there and have a non-stress test. i knew that i could do it but all of me said "no we can't, not again". i started to shake and marko and i started to cry, we couldn't talk. only silence remained in the space between us, concentrated silence. if we were the praying type then this would be the time to do it, but we are not and so we sat there. shock was starting to set in.

on the cab ride to the hospital i poked him hard, jiggled him, rubbed my hand up and down my belly, anything for a kick. i was rewarded with what i thought was a nudge, only slight but it was there. we clung to it.

once the monitor was set up and his heartbeat found, we waited. waited to see if we would pass or fail, waited to see if this time would be different than last. there was no fluctuation in the beat, not for a long time. longer than we would have liked. it was long enough for both of us to panic in silence together staring at the monitor. the nurse would come in every now and again, non-commital. "is it ok?" i asked..."ok" she said. what she meant was not great. we already knew that though. somehow we have become experts on not great. i was shaking, my mind racing. i stared at the wall. time to switch sides now, maybe that will wake him up. i concentrate and roll over. i started to pray. the doctor will be here shortly, she says, a rub of my hand and she is gone.

we still haven't said anything, we are holding our breaths for the bang. then it starts, only slight at first barely noticeable but soon you can see him moving through the sheets, he is kicking me hard, the monitor is showing strong fluctuations now. the printout reads like a seismograph. there is moment of relief, but we are not sure. i mean is this enough? another 10 minutes passes and the monitor continues to fluctuate, he continues to move. marko is perched now over the machine watching it's every move, his hand in my hand. maybe it is going to be ok? maybe we were wrong. maybe we needed to have more faith.

the doctor comes now, introdutions are brief and then he looks at the sheet the machine has been spewing out since we arrived. perfect he says, it looks perfect. marko and i look at each other unsure if we should believe him. but what about before he started to move, what about all that time when the heartbeat was steady? he explains to us that as you approach your due date babies tend to move a little less, they spend more time resting for the big day and sometimes it can be harder to wake them. besides, you see here, he says, when he was sleeping, you can still see movement albeit slight which is a good sign. this is a healthy baby. you did the right thing by calling and coming in though, better safe than sorry. better to worry than to have faith, or maybe better to keep the faith in spite of the worry. he takes off the monitor and feels my belly, he laughs when cohen kicks him as he prods. i laugh and say well maybe he takes after his dad, he doesn't like to get up either. inside i am not laughing though. inside i feel like i just died a little.

so we leave hand in hand and once we are out of reach of the hospital we speak. all i could think about was how i couldn't do this again, that if something happens this time then that is it. this is too hard. marko says he feels the same, adoption maybe but this? i just couldn't. i put my hand on my belly and say "please don't do that again". we head home.

a thing like that doesn't stop at the word perfect though, something in the universe shifts slightly. it isn't the kind of thing you nap off or forget about. for six hours today we really thought we were going to lose another baby. for six hours i imagined what that would be like. i hope he comes soon. i just really want this to be over. i want him to be healthy and here in my arms.

tomorrow i will put the worry away, but tonight i am still a little shakey. tonight as the rain falls softly outside my window i am convincing myself that everything is ok. tonight i continue to sit. i continue to wait.


Arnold said...

I'll be keeping you guys and the little one in my prayers.


t said...

thanks arnold, it means a lot to us. i figure someone who has the faith ought to be on our side ; )

hey how did your interview go? you have to blog about it...

Kathy said...

Oh, Tara, that is so scary for you. I am sitting here in tears thinking of what that feeling must have been like. I remember watching all of Katie's nom-stress tests that never fluctated and I dread the thought of in the future. I am keeping my eye on the message board for updates. Know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.