I saw her today. And it all came back to me. I remember her, so clearly, fussing with my IV as she said, "I just want this all to be over for you Catherine." We all struggled through the labor that would eventually deliver Alex's body from mine, but she seemed particularly annoyed that I would take up her time in pushing him out into the world. I knew she thought I should have him cut from my body...I just got that sense from her. And her unspoken judgments stung, since I knew she probably had no idea what it meant...any of it. Seeing her today, I know she still doesn't understand any of it.
The woman in the NICU wheelchair that the nurse pushed was wearing a hospital gown and clutching a beautiful bouquet of flowers...and an empty infant carrier. She had that empty look...hollow...like she was just being swept along the tide of her life to the next moment...completely lacking any control, any dignity, any hope. I don't know her. But I am her.
I worked hard not to cry. I sat with my back to the windows to that room...the room that overlooks the atrium...room 17...the room in the corner where Alex left me forever.
I chewed as much as I could of my burger without choking. I looked up and saw the lights on and I wondered if there was a live or a dead baby entering the world in that room. I wondered if the woman in the wheelchair wasn't in that room earlier, before her ride in the wheelchair pushed by our impatient nurse. I wondered...as I am her...is she me? Do we share that horrible experience in room 17?
I just want this all to be over for you Catherine.
Believe me nurse...so do I.
But it's never over.
(the children's hospital where Sam is currently in residence is directly connected to the women's hospital where Alex was stillborn...they share an atrium and cafeteria)