A year ago right now, I was probably sleeping. I had about three hours until I had to get up and take Scott to work. He could have driven himself, but I wanted the car that day.
A year ago, at about five a.m., I drove Scott to work. As was my habit, I went back to my mum's place instead of home because I didn't want to be alone. I was tailgated by some idiot all the way up St Georges Rd and High St. White Nissan. When I got to Mum's I posted an angry Facebook status about it, then went to sleep on the couch because no-one else was up yet. Six o'clock.
Eleven o'clock. I wake up. Youngest brother is at school. Mum and oldest brother clattering around the kitchen, tv on in the lounge. I think about how much I love my family. Hug my belly, realise I'm 32 weeks today. Get up, grab a drink. Bloody hell it's hot today. 42 degrees, Mum tells me. Nah, I don't feel like another drink. Not thirsty. Mum says my car should be back from the mechanic this afternoon. She and brother leave to pick it up, come back with the car they left in. Not ready yet. I'm pissed off, he's had the car since August. A few days after I found out I was pregnant.
Noon. Having a great belly laugh with mum and brother. I wonder if I'm hurting the baby with all this laughter? Or maybe I'll feel some kicking soon, the baby kicks more when I'm happy. Don't give a thought to how I haven't felt her kick today, she's never been much of a kicker anyway.
Half past noon. Hate to love and leave, but I have to pick up Scott. We'll come back here for dinner. I'll get him to grab me lunch from work.
One forty-five. Send Scott an SMS - "can you bring me some food? Just my normal meal, but a frappe as well as the Coke." Geez I'm thirsty now. Should've brought a water bottle. Two fifteen. Where's Scott? Open the car door to get some more air flowing in the car. Ugh, still too hot! Close door, send Scott another message asking where he is. I'm pissed off now, dying of thirst. Should've brought a drink... Put my head down, feeling groggy...
Wake up to Scott shaking me. I've passed out, he says. Gotta get in the passenger seat so he can drive us home. I stumble over, feet feeling heavy. Fall into the seat, lay it back and open the window. Feeling groggy again...
Wake up briefly on St Georges Rd, wonder how we got there. The cooler air feels nice on my face. I sink back into darkness. Wake up out the front of Mum and Dad's, Scott shaking me. We go inside, I need to lay down. Lay on oldest brother's bed, Mum gets a wet flannel for my head. Black. Wake up - is the baby okay? Black... Is the baby... Black. "Tenielle, do you want to go to hospital? Maybe you should take her to hospital..."
Flannel is wet and cold again. Somehow get to the car, to the hospital... I'm 32 weeks today, I fainted in the car and I've been groggy since. Go up to the Maternity ward, they'll get you in for a check.
Sitting. Haven't fainted again since we got here. Woman in labour is let through to the birth rooms after waiting with us for a few minutes. I'm going to be doing that soon. Do you think if there's anything wrong I'll have to have the baby today? I'm excited by the thought. She'd have to be in special care a while, but what if I get to meet my baby tonight? Wow...
Finally called through. Bed 20. Drink this water, give us a urine sample in this jug, we'll be back soon. Wee in the jug, leave it in the toilet because I don't know what to do with it. Fiddle with the radio. Whoops, I didn't mean to break the dial off! Lay on the bed, have some water. Chat with Scott. He's on my left.
Midwife enters the room. I tell her what happened, apparently I passed out and kept asking about the baby. No, haven't felt any movement today, but I have a sleepy baby in there. I don't feel much so I'm used to going a few days without feeling anything. Maybe Wednesday was the last time I felt anything?
My favourite part of every appointment - "Let's just listen to bub's heart, shall we?" ...crackle crackle... More gel... Crackle crackle.... "Hmm, might be in an odd position. I'll just go grab the portable imaging screen."
Alone in the room. I dab the flannel on my forehead. I look calm, but I don't look to my left. What if...? No. Don't be silly. Midwife comes back. Black and White flash on the screen, hey I can see the baby's head! Aww how cute... There's the chest... Tiny flicker, disappears right away. She presses harder, trying to find that flicker again. Are you sure that's the chest? I'm properly worried now. A doctor comes in. She tries... We explain about the flicker... She can't find it either. "This is old equipment, I'll just go get the newer one."
Alone again. Scott makes a small sound next to me. My chest feels like an elephant is on it. We saw that flicker, the baby's okay. Maybe we were right and it has to be born early. Doctor comes back with two midwives and the new machine. More gel on my belly. Wait for the machine to boot up. Everyone chatters nervously, we did see that flicker. Just have to find it again. Machine's ready. Wand goes on my tummy... Five minutes pass, everyone holds their breath.
Finally... "I'm so sorry. There doesn't seem to be a heartbeat." More things are said, it's arranged that we'll go down to Radiology on the big machine. But that's essentially just to get the official report. Everyone leaves the room. Scott and I are alone again.
The door closes, instantly I choke on the breath I've held for the past few minutes. "Scott..." I look at him. He's crying silently. Says nothing, just embraces me and stares blankly at the machine's black screen. I still have gel on my stomach, going everywhere all over us. What's happened? What? Smudge...
Sitting in a wheelchair now. There's a baby crying in the room ahead. I still have some hope I'll get to hear mine cry. That doctor didn't know what she was doing. The person in Radiology will. Clunk, clunk, out of the birth suite... The guy pushing my wheelchair is happily chatting away. I hide my tears. Scott's gone to call work, he won't be in tomorrow.
Arrive at Radiology. So quiet. So alone. The wheelchair man turns the tv on for me. I'm vaguely aware of movement on the screen, but nothing else. What's happened to my baby? My Smudge? I still think there was a mistake. Scott comes back. I smile at the woman doing the scan, tell her the doctor thought there was no heartbeat but they need to be sure. More gel, more hard pressing on my tummy. We see the spine... "There's where the baby's heartbeat should be..." Her voice trails off as silent tears run down my face. Fuck. It's real. The baby has no heartbeat. Fuck!
Sitting in the wheelchair again, Scott's gone to tell work what's happening. I told him not to call my parents yet, tell them in person when you go pick stuff up. I look at the tv, the winter Olympics. Ice skating. That woman's mum died the other day. She cries. I cry. Wheelchair man comes back, takes me to the birth suite again. It's almost ten o'clock. My baby... I'm back in the room. Scott comes back in. His eyes are red. I've been told we're going to room 19 now. I pack up our stuff. Remember the wee jug in the toilet. Tip it down the toilet, leave the jug on the floor. They didn't check it.
Set up in room 19. This one has a tv. It takes ten minutes to work out how to turn it on. We're not talking about what's happened. Someone comes and says the report hasn't come up from Radiology. They don't want to induce without the report, do I want to go home and come back tomorrow? No way. You're inducing me tonight. We argue - who fucking argues something like this? - and I win. They'll be back soon to induce me. Scott leaves to pick stuff up from Mum's. I tell him to say it as gently as possible. Alone again... More tears fall. It's almost midnight. I lay on the bed and wait. Thirty two weeks. No heartbeat. What's the date? I have to remember the date... The day my Smudge... Died. My baby is dead.
Twenty sixth of February, two thousand and ten.
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