I see things. Everyday. Sometimes several times a day, and sometimes they wake me up in absolute terror and heartbreak. I see things I’ve seen before. Things I can’t un-see. They are burned into my retina and into my memories.
I see the nervous look on Tera’s face as she tells me she hasn’t felt the baby move for a while. I tell her I’m sure it’s ok, just eat some sugar and I’ll put Nolan to bed. I see the phone number pop up on my phone. It’s the doctor calling back and telling us to go to the hospital. I see the worried, but not scared look, now on Tera’s face. I see the harried and rushed look my mom has when she gets to our house to stay with Nolan. I see the pitch black night as we get in the car to go.
I see the lights on the road changing from red to green and the way Tera looks at me nervous and a little irritated as I watch the lights change on the ross-streets knowing that I won’t have to touch the brakes. Then there is the bright lights of the hospital. We are there. I see the valet guy in blue grab the keys as we hurry inside. The elevator to the maternity floor. The button…there’s only one.
The desk in front of us where the woman checks us in quickly. She’s a lefty and deftly puts the wristband on Tera. They were expecting us and everything is ready.
The room. There’s a window with the blinds open to the dark night outside and the lights of the city are visible. Tera lays down and nurses swarm. One nurse gets the monitor out. It was blue with Nolan, this time it’s pink. Not sure if that means anything, must just be different at different hospitals. She squirts gallons of that blue ultrasound goop onto Tera and starts looking. She starts on the left. She moves it up. She moves it down. She’s looking worried. Tera isn’t. She looks panicked and says she’ll get ultrasound into the room.
The ultrasound shows us our baby. He’s still breach. But that flicker isn’t there. I’ve seen enough ultrasounds to know what I should be seeing and I’m not.
I see Tera’s eyes scream, her face break, her body slump.
Through my own blurry eyes I see utter pain and agony and confusion and instant sorrow.
Another room. I curl up on the small bed with Tera and see her body heaving with constant sobs. I see the doors open frequently and a flurry of activity. Computer screens with questionnaires being asked and answered and filled out. The white collar as a chaplain comes in but it’s not the right time. We ask him to go.
I see needles being shoved into my wife’s arms. I see her eyes numb to the pain and numb to the noise of the hustle and bustle going on around us. I see it all. I see everyone that comes in treating my wife the way she needs to be treated; gently and with great care.
I see the white board with all of the medical information on it. And next to my name is Nolan’s with a little heart.
Another chaplain. This time at the right time. I see his comfortable walking shoes, he must be on his feet a lot. The kind look in his eyes as he tells us he can’t answer why bad things happen to good people.
I see piles of paperwork we have to fill out, to figure out. The words on it are still unfathomable to me. Cremation, burial, autopsy. I shouldn’t be seeing any of these words, but ten months later I still am.
I see Tera so badly needing rest but it just isn’t coming.
A stream of people. Doctors and nurses that except for one I couldn’t tell you their names, but I could pick them out of a crowd if I needed to. I don’t know what any of them said. I know they all said it with a tear in their eye and such empathy for Tera.
I see the thermostat. I keep making it colder. Tera needs in colder. I see her face flushed. I see the numbers lower and lower.
I finally see Tera’s eyes close. She’s asleep and I can rest too. I see the door open and the one nurse I remember brings me a blanket. The one act of giving aimed at me.
The hallway. I see it more than I see anything else. The walk to the opposite end past endless closed doors filled with happy people. The walk past the nurses station where everyone, overtime lowers their eyes and pretends not to see me. They think I don’t notice. I do. The freezer full of dozens of flavors of popsicles that Tera desperately craves, and the walk back to the only door on the floor with the picture of a leaf with a raindrop on it. I had never seen this image, but I know what it means.
It’s time. I see the room fill up with those same doctors and nurses. Tera is sick with fear and too many popsicles. Scrubs are thrown at me. Everything is happening around me but I’m not included. An outside observer with a huge stake in what’s happening. I see the gurney rolling down the hall so fast I can’t keep up, and they aren’t waiting for me. The door closes and slams into my shoulder. It should hurt, but I’m running on adrenaline and I’m already in too much pain to notice.
Then it’s the operating room.
Tera is thrown from the gurney to the operating table. Her arms out like she’s on a cross. Even more people. More bright lights. More chaos. I see one nurse shove me to the side. I don’t know what she says. I see Tera in terror as everything is happening to her. My wife, my everything, moves further and further away from me as I’m shoved into the furthest recesses of the room. I’m a part of what’s happening, but apart from it.
Finally that same nurse that gave me the blanket brings me to Tera’s side. We lock eyes and are both so afraid.
Then he’s born. That flash of pink. He’s taken so fast to the scale, to learn anything they can about why he died. He’s pulled away, then brought to us as we’re whisked back to our room.
These visions haunt me. I never said “I saw” in this rambling, stream of consciousness post because I still see it. Every day. None of it happened to me, but I watched it all happen through tear-filled eyes and with a clouded mind.
I don’t know if everything happened the way I see it. But it’s what I see every. Damn. Day.