There’s a phone call I’ve been avoiding. I put it off for weeks. For some reason, I have no trouble spilling my guts on the internet (it just feels like it’s me here on the couch, I forget the rest of the world exists until I get comments). I told the essential people our minus-one-twin news in person. That is, except for one lady who needed to know: my little 84-year-old grandmother who lives on a farm in Indiana, who also happens to be the only family member on my side who supports me. She and papaw eat at the Golden Corral and that place has had a week about like the rest of us. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but some time has passed now and it didn’t seem right they were in the dark.
Yesterday, I had to call.
I can’t say why I put it off for so long. The more time went by, the more I adjusted, the more life went on, the more we healed, the ever-more painful the thought of calling my little mamaw about bad baby news became. The more time passed, however, the more horrendous losing a child would seem from her perspective. What did I think I was going to get away with? Mailing a Christmas card featuring one infant instead of two? Sending only one graduation announcement in 2030? Did I think I could make real life like an episode of Arrested Development where only George Senior or his “twin brother” are ever in view? I can’t run a puppet show.
The time had come.
We’re talking about a tough old German woman who has lived through war and once ate her own pet pig whom she festooned with red ribbons. Surely she would be stoic like always and encourage me to keep my chin up. Maybe she’d even say something delightfully insensitive like “God has a plan” when thankfully, my scab has already formed. I mean, this is a woman who didn’t cry when her own father died. She beat cancer at 77 without losing a hair. I still wouldn’t arm wrestle her. She’s tough, right?
I dialed the phone.
What I didn’t expect was for her to cry. Apparently my uncle managed to operate the interwebs and printed off my petition for her to read, but they got confused if this was about my current pregnancy. Surely the twins were still safe and sound in my belly. Surely I wrote all that about a long-ago miscarriage and she was still indeed getting two fresh, new great-grandbabies this fall. Surely my blog post was all part of the nonsense of computers (who can trust that hooey?) and real, live Jennifer would be calling any day now to shoot the breeze and confirm everything was okay.
Of course, I could not confirm everything was okay.
In her tears, she told me her beloved dog, Max, had died the day before and now this news was making it all the worse. We both had a cry and then, a chuckle. Max and Ruby? Ruby and Max? Maybe they were off together frolicking and splitting an other-world package of Bunny Scout cookies.
Now that I got that final phone call out of the way, I feel fresh and free. Our new focus is on the remaining twin who was put through the ringer with a battery of tests last Friday. She had a thorough examination from a pediatric cardiologist and a high-risk fetal med doc over the course of an entire morning at the hospital. And? [Drumroll] – she passed with flying colors! By all accounts (barring an amnio, which I refuse to do) she should be genetically normal and totally healthy!
Lots of people hope and try for families and don’t get to take home a baby at all. We’re getting that gift. It may not have been a straight path, but it’s one that is leading us to growing our family. I can’t lament that. As a matter of fact, in an odd way I’m grateful. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how much I love life, even the bad parts. It’s why sad movies sell out theaters. This whole ride isn’t fun, you know it as much as I do, but the valleys are profound and beautiful. Also, I learned I have some kickass friends who know how to cook (and/or pick up some damn fine Cheez-its. No judgment here! Yum yum!)
There are no guarantees in life, only blessings, guys. I’m ready to be grateful and happy. I’m making that choice. I. Am. Happy.
I’m also ready to move on a little bit. The pain of losing a baby never leaves completely, it just becomes part of the story and we’re ready for the next chapter.
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