money on my mind

I’m going on an overtime binge right now. I’ve picked up shifts from 5 different people and signed up for assigned shifts as well. It’s not for me, for vacation, or fun, or anything else. It’s for Avalon. For her garden, and her gravestone. It’s for the piano lessons I started because I knew if she’d have lived she would’ve liked to hear me play piano. And then it’s for travel, for helping my heart soar again, because afterall, Avalon is not floating around in space somewhere, or living as an angel in the sky, or being carried around by Jesus on some other planet called “Heaven”. She’s living inside of ME, her fetal cells circulating in my blood, her essence still mine. Wherever I go, she will go. Whatever I feel, she will be a part of that. It’s not the way I want it, but it’s all there is.

I made a mistake that I never would’ve thought twice about before I lost my baby. I was taking care of a patient who has cancer and no hope of getting better. We are waiting for her family to make her comfort care. Her husband is at her bedside every minute, struggling with that awful choice. Meanwhile, the husband of a different patient I’d taken care of a few days ago walked by the room where I was drawing up meds for the cancer patient. He said hi enthusiastically, and I gushed to him about his wife, “oh she looks great! She’s doing SO well!”

It seems harmless, but a minute later I felt my face burn and my heart drop as I realized I’d said that right in front of the husband of my dying patient. He has NO chance of his wife getting better, or doing well. He faces loss at every turn in the coming weeks. No nurse is going to say those words to him. I realized that I had probably just made him feel very much how I feel as people gush over pregnant co-workers or new moms in front of me, and in his own wife’s room. There was nothing I could do to take it back. It wasn’t like I was “reminding” him of his loss. No one can remind us, right? It’s always there. We don’t forget it. But I was, ignorantly, rubbing his nose in it. Mr. B, I am so sorry. I am more sorry than you’ll ever know.

Yesterday a respiratory therapist who didn’t know much about what happened overheard me saying I wanted to soak in a hot tub. She said, oh no you can’t! Not pregnant! I had to explain to her that I wasn’t pregnant anymore, and if I was, I’d be huge by now, over 30 weeks. I’d be huge and awkward and exhausted and so unbelievably happy.

I had a very vivid dream in which I went into labor, except I was shocked because how could I still be pregnant?! I’d seen my dead baby, held her. I’d seen my empty uterus at the scope. It was impossible. But the doctor’s looked and said, “no, there is a baby in there, you’re going to deliver him, and it’s a boy”. I remember being disappointed that it wasn’t Avalon, and some mistake hadn’t been made and everything had just been a bad dream. But then I was just happy that I was having the baby and he was full term, and healthy. They laid him on my chest all warm and wiggly, and he had black curly hair and I was SO proud. I couldn’t believe that somehow I had carried a baby to term and he was alive.

Oh sweet Avalon, I would trade 50 future children for you right now. But it’s not possible. So little love, send your brother and sister to me, let them come out screaming and pink and healthy, and I will love you forever through them.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

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