This post is part of a ten-post series I’m sharing about the life and loss of our son, Afton. Click here to read more of Afton’s story.
I had gone in for a routine exam when we realized that something might be wrong. It was after hours, so the doctor sent me to the nearest hospital to have a specialist take a look, “just to make sure.”
The hospital we were sent to was the hospital that we were also planning to deliver at. Well, hey! we thought. This is convenient! We had already done a tour like the super eager-beaver parents that we are, and we joked more than once on our way into the hospital about how it was actually kind of awesome to have a practice run before coming in for the real thing.
We waited for the doctor in the triage room, eating graham crackers and drinking apple juice and watching the Hallmark Christmas movie that the nurse had put on the TV. The doctor came in, started the exam, and said: nope, there’s no dilation… oh my goodness, yes there is. She’s dilated and her water is about to break through. Lay the bed flat, lay the bed flat.
The nurse rushed to lay the bed flat – inverse, actually, with my head reclined lower than my feet. And there could be no more painfully perfect metaphor for our lives in that moment – the tipping of the bed signaling the tipping of our world. Completely and utterly flipped, crashing, inverse, upside down, all wrong.
The doctor took my hand. “Lindsay, if you deliver tonight…”
Tonight? I stopped breathing. I stopped listening. How is this happening? Wouldn’t I KNOW if I was going to deliver a baby? I’m only 23 weeks. “Bedrest… risks… survival…” No, no, no. This isn’t my life.
When they left us alone for a minute, Bjork and I cried and tried to find words, something to make this okay or to reassure us that our baby would come out of this just fine. And there was really nothing, except:
This is our story now.
We said these words to each other over and over throughout the next 6 days, telling ourselves at every turn: this is our story.
Brené Brown says: If we own the story, then we can write the ending.
Even now, in these fresh and tender days after Afton is gone, I’m reminding myself – this is your story now. It really hurts. It’s not the story you wanted. But it’s not done, and you can still write the ending. 💙