If you were here yesterday and read about my “open heart surgery” this is the next part. If not, please read 35-hour baby first so you can understand why I needed so much hope to move forward.
… I spent hours closing my eyes and trying to wake up in a different life, where the scar is not so painful. I knew what it meant to have a broken heart. I was broken, damaged, feeling like my body had failed me. I had been through a caesarian section and I was in such emotional pain I felt nothing at all.
“I have Eden”, I told myself, trying to find some comfort. Our house was in a total silence. We had to take the new crib back to the store and pack all the little things we had already put in the baby’s room. I was grateful I didn’t have to take care of the funeral arrangements – Gal did that with Eden. The thought of him choosing a tiny coffin was too hard for me and I tried closing my eyes, but that did not help.
Two weeks later, I concluded I must get pregnant again. If I got pregnant immediately, then in 9 months, that would all be behind me. “It was an accident”, I kept telling myself, “Statistics. Chance. Out of every 20,000 babies, one is born with this defect (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome). I was one of the unlucky ones. My torture was short too – some parents bring a baby home and lose it after 3 months or 1 year. It will not happen again. I will get pregnant and put this behind me”.
My doctor said that because of the cesarean, it was better to wait, but I could not wait. One month later, I was pregnant again and the countdown started. I was counting days, hours, minutes and seconds.
During the 5th month of my third pregnancy, we flew to visit our family and friends. We thought that being around people we loved and who loved us would comfort us and give us energy to live through the crushing anxiety.
It was a very quiet visit for us. We did not talk much. Everywhere we went, people talked and talked. They told us about themselves and talked to one another, but they never stopped to ask, “How are you?”, “How is the new life in Texas?”, “How is Eden getting along in a new language?” or “How is work?”
It was so disappointing. No one seemed interested in us. We went to visit friends and everyone was talking about themselves, telling us the same old stories of going to work and buying another TV set or a new car. People talked about themselves without stopping to take a breath. We felt as if we were being punished on top of our grief.
On the second week of our stay, my sister Nurit, who was with us in Texas through the delivery, the excitement and the funeral, apologized for all of them. “Don’t be upset with them”, she said, “People just don’t know what to say”.
I was upset with them all. “It’s not fair”, I said, “I haven’t done anything to them”.
My sister looked at me sadly and I knew she had gone through the same thing herself when she had come back from her visit with us and everyone around her had felt embarrassed to ask, to comfort, to say a kind word, so they had avoided talking to her about the loss.
“It’s not fair, I know,” she said quietly, “But they’d rather say nothing than say something wrong”.
On the last week of our stay, a friend of mine called. I met her at a café. She hugged me and touched my belly in hope.
“I wanted to ask you about what happened. If you feel uncomfortable, I will understand”, she said, “But I want to know what happened”.
I was so relieved! I thanked her for asking and poured my heart out.
We spent over 4 hours together and had a chance to talk about my 35-hour-baby, my dreams for him that had been shattered and the pain that resided in my body and would not go away. She helped me clear some of my confusion. With her, I was able to talk about my new hopes for the girl I was carrying inside me. “It was an accident. 1 in 20,000 kids”, I said to her, trying to convince myself again that I could do it.
As we flew back to Texas, I was grateful for the circumstances that made me go through my loss far away from people who were so afraid to say the wrong thing they avoided us altogether at the time of our greatest need.
I hugged my belly with big hopes that crashed not long after…
Come back on Monday for another part of my “open heart surgery”…
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This post is part of the series 35-hour Baby: