Last year at this time Josh was visiting me during my fellowship month in Philadelphia. He’d been home from Kiev for about 2 weeks, and I’d had to leave immediately for Philly. This has to have been the fastest year of my life, because I barely remember any of it.
Six months ago at this time, I was having the worst day of my life. It was all over by 7:00am, and I imagine that right now I was asleep from the sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs they’d given me. I think that I went to sleep with Josh and the anesthesiologist holding my hands, or at least that’s the last moment I remember before waking up again. The anesthesiologist was so kind, and we’d spoken Hebrew while the surgeon repaired the damage done to my cervix and perineum during the surgery. Everyone cried. I think, as I look back, that this immediate compassion and acknowledgment has helped me grieve.
Everyone in that room was so invested in saving Natan. They tried so hard. And the doctors and nurses were heartbroken. While they were working, they were calm, efficient, and professional. But when it was over their humanity overwhelmed me. The obstetrician had tears in her eyes, and the resident was barely holding herself together. I’m not sure the resident had lost a baby before, or come so close to losing a mom. The obstetrician told us that she’ll wonder for the rest of her life whether things could have worked out differently. You might think that would produce doubt, whether I might blame them. I do blame Dr. M’s practice – I am angry at them. But those doctors in the hospital, the team who delivered us, tried their best in a situation where they had seconds to act. Maybe different decisions could have saved you, but maybe they would have just killed us both. I will always respect them for admitting to being only human, and for choosing to empathize with me rather than protect themselves. And there’s a strange kind of comfort in believing they’ll never forget us. They didn’t make mistakes, but they were confined by being mortal.
And now, here we are, six months on. I’d give anything to have Natan with us, but I’m learning to love a new baby inside me. Today we began progesterone shots – and although the cerclage was a big milestone, this is the preventative treatment I consider the most important. The doctor I trusted the most, who took the most time to listen and talk to me in the hospital believed I was in pre-term labor before my cervix began to open. I am so sorry she wasn’t my OB with Natan, like Dr. K I think she would have listened to me more carefully.
If I believed in good omens, I’d take the random coincidence that we’re beginning the shots on Natan’s six month birthday as one.