Staring up at the ceiling
My eyes fixated on a black smudge of something stuck to its surface. No telling how long it has been there. “How many others have looked up at this same spot?” I wonder.
I wonder a lot of things as I focus all of my attention above; anywhere but below.
I grab onto that stained light as an anchor. “Help me from looking!” my heart begs.
My eyes dart to my left and I see tears in his eyes- then quick, back to the ceiling; to the smudge. He squeezes my hand and I know that it’s over.
I must focus if I wish to keep from being swallowed by the pain.
“Lord, I cannot do this. Please don’t make me do this.”
My body trembles uncontrollably beneath the blankets that desperately offer their warmth; my insides too cold to receive any.
My teeth chatter and I know that He is near.
With sympathetic eyes the nurse asks, “Is this your first baby?”
“No, my sixth,” I hear myself reply.
Relief floods her face; her sympathy muted. I pull the blanket over my face then. Like a child, I retreat. If I close my eyes the truth can’t find me.
“Five kids at home, huh? You have a full house!” she laughs as my eyes are drawn once more to the ceiling. I suppose my house should not feel the loss of one more.
She finishes then and whispers, “Thank you” as she leaves. I wonder briefly if I should say, “You’re welcome.”
Alone with him in the room again, I pray he won’t speak. My eyes once again penetrate the smudge on fluorescence, and “It’s going to be okay,” slams my body into the fetal position as I gasp for air; choking on the ocean of tears I’ve been restraining.
“Breathe,” he says, and I do, and I squeeze his hand, building up the courage to look into his eyes again.
The Doctor walks in then and says there is no heartbeat.
I see that his eyes are kind and they are gentle. He tells me how sorry he is and that he wishes it had turned out differently.
So do I.
Just like that, it’s over.
We gather our things together and go home.