this was my decree from the hospital bed.
we were there long for the surgery and the waiting for tests to come back and let us know, with no doubts, that it was true. josh would leave to go and do the transporting of our lives that we’d packed into so many boxes. he would show up to the new place and once there our friends, our friends, would ask again as they opened boxes and worked to clean and prepared a place, could they come? could they come and meet the baby?
no. he had been given strict orders not to tell why. no, they could not come.
i sat with mazzy, stomach slashed with a doorway, and i stared, unable to wrap my head around any of it. if i understood, i could comprehend and if i comprehended a thing, i could master it. i could control it.
but there was none to be had.
after the out of control moments of labor and birth, the mother rejoices slow as reality resolves into the regaining of control.
it was not like that for me.
my best friend, karen, kept calling. she called twice a day and told me that she would visit. she demanded that i let her and threatened to come anyway and wait outside the door until she could see that baby. okay, i said finally, okay. you can come.
she crept in gentle and held my daughter, unknowing because i refused to breathe life into the words, “she has down syndrome.”
i watched her face for a sign that something was amiss and it did not come. she only stared and her eyes filled and she loved her so much and sung her praises. all she saw was the baby i could no longer see.
there had been one moment. one pure moment. right after she was born and they were sewing me back together, i lay unmoving and they brought her around the blue curtain.
“she’s so pretty.” i thought.
she opened her eyes and i felt like the grand prize winner of a cosmic contest. that mother would have thrown open the hospital room door and shown off this newness, this perfection with pride. i would have called and woken friends up in the middle of the night and said come see! come see! you have to see!
but instead those words came down hard like a guillotine and i locked the door and i said no visitors. i couldn’t see what karen was seeing anymore. she kissed mazzy and thanked me for letting her in, for letting her come.
when the words were official and the tests all nodded in agreement, the social workers began coming in.
“how’s your marriage?”
and we were warned of the stress and the high probability of the demise of our vows.
“this is her life expectancy.”
and i sat horrified with new knowledge that i very well may bury my first child.
i wanted to run, but i could barely walk. when we were discharged, the apartment not yet ready for homecoming, my parents checked us into a hotel. i hid another day or so, nursing the baby and reeling. i was doing hard mental work. i was digging through the rubble of my collapsed life, pushing through thoughts like rocks and hoping to see some pierce of light stream in.
photo credit ~ christopher kay