She hooked up the fetal monitors. Moved them around several times. Hunting. Expressionless, she left the room and reemerged with an ultrasound machine. And the OB. I was completely oblivious. Just excited to get an ultrasound again. He took one swipe.
The look on his face. It remains forever imprinted in my mind along with His grace-ink spilled there to color, interpret all that was coming.
I read it wrong, the doctor's face.
Then his words pierced with their honesty. The truth he spoke with as much sympathy as one person could offer to another. There was no way to misread them. No way to sit in a false hope.
"I'm very sorry, but both babies are dead."
He had no idea but he had given me a gift in those words. He had called them babies. And he knew his words were going to crash hard against my very being.
"I need to...I have to figure out how to... Get to my husband."
He was only fifteen minutes away but a mile of paperwork, late night phone calls, prayers had to be mounted, raised for him to get out. He slept peacefully, in his own quiet oblivion of Army barracks with other soldiers-in-training, most fourteen years his junior and with no concept of the weight he was bearing. That he would bear.
The nurse immediately unhooked all monitors and whisked the ultrasound out of the room. The OB left. Neither said a word. Their absence, their silence was a gift. And I sat there motionless.
Since that day, I have often described grief as a tide schedule we don't have. The undulating currents move and swell, and we have no idea when the next wave will crash over our days.
I was alone with Him as I groped and flailed and fought for the surface as that first wave slammed hard against my heart and sent me rolling.
He bolted awake. Sat straight up in his bay bed. He was led downstairs by the soldier on watch.
The first sight brought him to tears. Our pastor and a dear friend, who had watched our toddlers while my parents were with me in the hospital, stood waiting for him in the open air first floor. The air was bitter. He knew before a single word was spoken.
He was released on emergency family leave. Somehow our pastor started making calls to the base chaplain after visiting me in that sterile room. In record time, we're told, just a few hours, he was on his way to my side for the delivery of our daughters.
His grace-ink continued to write our story in bold, red letters that bled into our pain. "I'm here with you," they whispered and wrapped us warm in His love.
By the time he reached me, I had been moved back to labor and delivery and had an epidural. We were waiting on him.
They told me he was on his way up, and I watched the door until he appeared with a newly shaved head. And a smile for me. Another stroke of His imprinted grace, etched clear and deep into me.
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