The first time that I recall leaving my body was during the birth of my daughter. The pain was unbearable and, left with no other options (and believe me, I tried to think of one), I knew that I must give birth to her. And so I left my body and did what was being asked of me by my midwife. Averi was just over ten pounds and she cried like a billy goat. I knew when I looked into her eyes that I would walk through fire for her. She was beautiful and perfect and has brought more joy into my life than I even knew existed in this world.
Yesterday, I left my body again. I wanted so badly to find out the sex of my baby and I was giddy with anticipation. I thought that I would find out at 18 weeks but I moved to a new state and a new doctor and he ordered the ultrasound at 20 weeks. Yesterday was my day. I put on the earrings that my mom bought for me on the day that we found out that Averi was a little girl, 4 1/2 years ago. I reminded myself to breathe. The ultrasound was long. Measurements were taken, there was small talk, and then the small talk ceased. Questions were asked regarding my due date. And then questions about bleeding. The ultrasound tech typed the words, “I’M A GIRL!!!” on the photo that showed the three tell-tale lines. “She’s definitely measuring smaller,” I heard her say more than once. She went to talk to the doctor and within a few minutes, I left my body. The doctor talked for a long time about the different disorders and abnormalities that could be detected with the Amniocentesis. I signed forms with a genetic counselor. He said the words, “no positive outcome.” He mentioned blood in the baby’s bowel. The doctor put a needle through my abdomen and into my uterus. I watched on a screen while my baby’s right leg, crossed delicately over her left, rested on the needle, pushing it away. The doctor and the tech mentioned how cute they found this. I drove home and went to bed. I could think of nothing else to do.
And now I’ll wait. Because I have to. I’ll remind myself to breathe. I’ll remind myself to blink. And when I do blink, I’ll realize that my eyes are producing tears – tears that envelope me and blind me. If I have to, I’ll figure out what to tell Averi. If I have to, I’ll find a way to tell her that the belly she has been kissing and hugging for months may not be giving her a little sister. Not now. I’ll have to tell her that I don’t know why.
During Averi’s birth, I wasn’t sure if I was awake or asleep, alive or dead, real or imaginary. Any one of these scenarios seemed just as likely as the others. Yesterday, as the doctor spoke, I told myself not to listen. I said that it was not real. It was a dream. And I just need to wake up. I’m waiting.
In lieu of that, I’m open to miracles. I’m open to magic. I’m open to Amazing Grace.