Advent - Day 8

Today I entered the shadow lands. Through my head ran a song. Seasons in the Sun.

Mostly just the chorus.

Good-bye my friends, it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I'll be there.

And I remember this day, in snatches. I remember my mother having me up and walking - to bring the labour pains faster. I remember sitting in the cafeteria and seeing a classmate from high school, now a nurse. Turning my body so that she would not see me.

I didn't know how to tell her, what to say. That I was pregnant but dying, and waiting for a baby to come, a baby that wouldn't live?

Normally, you see, labour is about anticipation. It's about bringing a baby into this world. The child who became Gabriel, a child whose gender we didn't even know. I was convinced that this was a girl. And I remember the discussion about names. Gabriel as a girl was to be Eleanor-May Genvieve. The Genevieve for my best friend. And suddenly I realized that this was a different baby, a different expectation, a different life, and this baby needed a name of their own. I picked out a girls name, and Mr. Spit chose a boy's name.

I remember weeping in the shower, and my mother trying to comfort me. But there was no comfort. The tears, however empty, however powerless to change anything, they were the only escape of the agony.

I remember the pain increased throughout the day, the feeling of cramping. Telling the nurse, and her quiet hand, telling me this was good. Good, I thought? What could be good about this? Nothing about this was as it should be. Around me I heard the cries of babies. I had been warned that Gabriel would be born still and silent.

I remember the blood tests, every 4 hours, the increasing doses of blood pressure drugs. My resting BP increasing. Loading doses. A note on the door to check with the nurses station before seeing me. A friend that came by to pray, and my mum telling her we didn't want company. This was too much for us, we needed to hold together and wait.

I remember my mother's panic and exhaustion. I remember never being afraid for my life. I remember residents and doctors parading in and out, nurses changing shift. I remember the nurse who sat for a while, stroking my hand, telling me that she was sorry.

I remember care and concern and mercy.

Even in the shadow lands, there is memory.