Sunday, December 14, 2008

Being a Daddy Again

Friday morning, I awoke to the sound of my wife gasping in pain next to me. Most of you don't know my wife, so I'll go ahead and tell you that she's a pretty tough customer and is sort of from the "I ain't got time to bleed" school when it comes to pain. In other words, if she's gasping and paralyzed from a specific hurt, I know it must be serious.

It took a lot of coaxing, but I finally convinced her to let me take her to the hospital emergency room. This is something else that she's bad about: not getting medical help when it's needed. At this point, there wasn't anything that she could have done about it anyway. She was in too much pain to fight me, and I'm stronger than her and was getting really worried.

We made it to the hospital and, of course, they started running all the typical lab work, including a urinalysis. Despite her pain, we spent our time joking about how this was the worst case of gas either of us had ever seen. Sure, she was yelling at me not to make her laugh, but it took the edge off and, like I said, I was getting really worried.

The doctor returned with the lab results and informed us that the UA indicated a pregnancy. My heart leapt. I already have three sons, but she and I had discussed having more. Very little compares with the joys of fatherhood, and I found myself mentally playing through what the next few months and years had in store. I took this as just another difficult pregnancy. We'd had those before, albeit nothing this bad. But my thoughts quickly turned away from that to visions of ultrasounds, feeling for kicks, my wife's glow, the agony/ecstacy of labor, a little blanket-bound body, etc.

Then the doctor made his follow-up. "We're worried it's ectopic." My wife was clearly way ahead of me as she harmonized with the physician perfectly as he said it. It took a couple of seconds for me to grasp all this. My brain sort of went into a freefall. We were supposed to leave for DisneyWorld with my parents in a few hours. It was Christmas-time; stuff like this doesn't happen around Christmas. This can't happen. I'm supposed to get to be a daddy again.

As we waited for the ambulance, reality began to set in. We didn't talk about what this all actually meant, yet. We just hugged each other and cried. Transport was even worse. I had to ride at the front of the ambulance, so I couldn't be with her at all. The hospital wasn't much better. They took her away right when we got there while I filled out the endless miles of paperwork. When I finally got back to her, what I got to see was her being tortured with an ultrasound, screaming as the tech was forced to press harder and harder on her stomach. They couldn't see anything. Not that we would have had any choice anyways. We knew that surgery was coming.

When the doctor came out to update me on how things were going, he told me that (a) she was fine, (b) the pregnancy was indeed ectopic and (c) that it had already ruptured. He was going to clean out the wound and that would be that. The blood loss was already stopped.

It's tough to express what happened after that. I was happy that my wife was going to be ok, but I think I was just as happy that the rupture had already happened. To this point, I had been dreading the moment of decision. At some point, I just knew that I was going to be asked to give the word to abort our child. I would have done so (and no, I'm not going to make this a double-effect post). I don't know if I could have lived with that, though. I know what you're thinking. "But you had to save your wife. The baby was going to die anyway." All that is very true. Maybe that makes the decision easier to make. I'm not sure that it makes it easier to live with. I will always thank God for taking that call away from me.

Providence is a weird thing. I went to Mass yesterday while the missus was still in the hospital. The church was a block away so it was a quick walk, though I'm sure my three days of unshowered body funk made for a less than fun time for my pew neighbors. I was still (and probably still am) something of a basketcase, so I didn't catch anything from the homily until the priest closed out with, "We are to praise God in everything. This is easy when we see a beautiful child and thank God for that child. Or look at nature and praise God for the wonders of His creation. But it is so very hard when we carry our cross. I myself am still learning."

So am I.

Then Job rose up . . . and worshipped, And said . . . "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord, so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord."

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

PS- I have some posts scheduled to come up over the next few days, but I won't be around, so if you leave comments or questions, it might take me a while to get around to them.


Turgonian said...

I am sorry for you and your wife.

Dan said...

I too am sorry for the loss of your child, but happy your wife is healthy.

Hang in there, it will be okay!

Vita said...

Thanks for sharing that story. I'm sure it was horrible to go through, but I think we gain something by reading about it.