I was in my seventh month of pregnancy. I exited the shower and felt liquid seeping down my legs. I looked down to see a pool of blood on the cold tile floor beneath me. I looked at my inner thighs, stained with blood that left a trail down my shins and curled around my bare toes. I froze in fear. I could not move an inch, but my body trembled and I began sobbing uncontrollably. And then the sobbing became screaming. I screamed and screamed at the top of my lungs, and didn’t know what to say or what to do. I couldn’t even call to my husband for help. I just cried and screamed until he heard me and came running into the master bathroom.
He looked at me frozen in my white towel, saw the tears rolling forcefully down my face, and then saw the blood that lined my legs and covered the tiles. He looked back at me, and I saw the same fear on his face that I felt in my heart. “Sam,” I barely managed to mumble out between muffled sobs, “Sam …” reaching out to hold his hand with shaking fingers.
“Uhm … uhm …” he looked to calm me, “Sit down. Here. Sit on the toilet. If you bleed anymore, it will end up in the toilet.” Though he meant only blood, a horrifying image of my unborn infant’s twisted, lifeless body splashing down into the ceramic toilet flashed before my eyes, and my screaming became even louder. This alarmed my daughter, who was playing with her tea party toys in the living room. As Sam managed to seat me down upon the toilet, my beautiful tiny toddler daughter came running into the room, practically tripping upon herself because she ran with such determination. Although she likely did not understand what the blood could have meant, fear was evident all over her face too – fear and confusion. She fell to the floor by my bare legs, wrapped her tiny arms around me, and began to sob and scream just as I did.
“My baby! My baby! My baby! No! No! No!” was all I could repeat over and over and over, rocking back and forth on the toilet like a madwoman. “My baby! My baby! My baby! No! No! No!” with my born child watching me with worry and screaming in unity.
Sam just watched me for a while, himself frozen in fear, and then he spoke some inaudible words that I couldn’t fully understand, both because they sounded jumbled and foreign due to his stress, and much of what he spoke was muted out by the sounds of my blubbering and blaring shrieking. He left the bathroom and returned with a phone in his hands, already discussing the situation with an emergency responder.
I didn’t hear the sirens when the ambulance and nearest first responder crew arrived in our driveway. I was still repeating those three words over and over. “My baby! My baby! No! No! No!” My whole body trembled in fear. I felt dizzy and panicked and couldn’t comprehend the situation I found myself in.
The first responders introduced themselves, although I could not tell you a single name now because I had far bigger concerns than minding my manners and extending a warm greeting. They moved me from the toilet to the bed, stating that it was safer to lie down – lie down and clench my legs together as tightly as possible, as though this would somehow keep my precious, unborn child in my belly where he belonged for eight more weeks until he could be delivered safe and sound.
Because I am bipolar and avoided my mood stabilizing medication due to the potential risk of birth defects, this pregnancy was already immensely difficult. During the past seven months, I had suffered from the worst episode of depression I had experienced since eight years prior – when I was in an abusive marriage. This couldn’t be happening. Not me. Not my baby. Not my beloved baby boy that I had prayed for so many nights.
They placed an oxygen mask over my tear-soaked face in an attempt to steady my breathing and calm my body. As I also suffered from gestational diabetes, they checked my blood sugars and my rapid pulse. They placed a towel between my legs to absorb any further blood loss, but I didn’t care if I might have stained the bed sheets. I just cared that the life inside of me still existed and could live and thrive on the outside.
They finally found a heartbeat. Thank God they found a heartbeat. I released a giant sigh of relief, but the fear wasn’t completely eliminated. It was still weeks before his time. I was taken to the nearest town with a proper pre-natal unit. This was over two hours away. I was contracting every three to five minutes. I was given medication to ease the contractions and to strengthen baby’s lungs. I was on complete bed rest, restricted to using a bed pan for my frequent urination.
I will never, ever forget the fear I felt that day, but now my handsome, wonderful, treasured child is here. Placed on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy, my child gave me one hell of a scare that day, but then he stayed in place until week 37 when he was delivered via C-section at a very healthy 8 pounds and 13 oz. As I snuggled him this afternoon, I thanked the Lord for giving me such a precious life.
My full empathy goes out to all those women who have suffered miscarriages or still-born births. God does not love you any less because you can’t hold that child in your arms. God still embraces you and that child, and he gave all of us beautiful little angel babies to light the way through our darkest moments. Bless you for sharing your gift with the world.