Trigger warning for anticipated loss.
I’ve heard people ask the question many times when a terrible event has befallen someone else: How do you live through it?
The short answer: you don’t.
The longer answer is this: you die a hundred, a thousand tiny deaths. And the next day, and the next, over and over and over.
You die at 1 am, when you wake to the first trickle of fluid.
You die at 1:20 when the second issue of fluid is a gush, and it is too clear to be the usual blood.
You die at 2 am when you realize that you don’t want to wait to call the on-call doctor and tell your husband to drive you to the hospital immediately.
You die when you soak enormous cloth hospital pads, the ones that are heavy and two feet by two feet.
You die when the bleeding starts after that.
You die when the doctor has you transferred by ambulance to a higher level hospital with more specialists.
You die when the doctors there tell you that the amniotic sac has ruptured, there’s almost no fluid left, and you’re only 21 weeks along.
You die when you are told that you will most likely go into labor soon, either from infection or nature.
You die when you have to tell your family the prognosis.
You die when you and your husband have to pick out names for a baby who will never answer to them.
You die when you feel the long awaited kicks and movements.
You die when your husband gently kisses your belly and whispers “I love you baby.”
You die, waiting and waiting and waiting, praying for a miracle, knowing that a truly happy ending is next to impossible now.
You die, knowing that there is a more terrible hour coming, the one where you will have to say goodbye. The one where there will be the real, literal death of the baby you wanted and loved so very, very much.
The tiny moments and horrors and bittersweet beautiful shatter bits and pieces of you. The sitting in a hospital bed, still pregnant, waiting. Knowing. And someday, some impossibly far-away day when you emerge raw and new into the watery, thin grey light of returning to some semblance of living, the person who you were will be long gone.