Friday, September 30, 2005

I walked through the front doors at the endoscopy center with an attitude. I was irritable because I didn't sleep well last night. I was walking slowly because my stomach was still aching from the spasms brought on by the laxative prep. Throwing up 11 times last night didn't help matters much...especially when the dry heaves took over.

Sitting in front of me at the receptionist's desk was a friendly, smiling face. I almost did a double-take because she wore a bandana around her head. Short, pure white wisps of hair stuck out of one side. She greeted me warmly and asked me how I was feeling. I looked into her eyes and saw sincerity and concern...I looked down at the desk and saw the engagement ring on her finger.

Guilt permeated my body which morphed into self-loathing.

"You Big Baby!" I screamed at myself inwardly.

I smiled back at her and told her that I was OK. I wondered how she was feeling and felt sure that her pain far exceeded mine. All that she was going through herself and she still had the energy and good attitude to help me.

I watched her for the entire 30 minutes that I sat in the waiting room, and her cheerfulness never waned. She enjoyed telling the nurse about the new shoes she'd purchased at DSW. She greeted each new patient with the same level of kindness and care.

"She's a better person than I am. I am so, so small," I kept thinking.

The procedures went smoothly although I felt both of them and had to be given additional sedation. I only have a vague memory now that they both hurt quite a bit. The biopsies will be completed in 4 days. During that time, I'll get my ultrasound done to insure I'm not having issues with my ovaries.

I was extremely woozy when we got home and I bolted straight to the bathroom. When I walked out, Husband was on the phone with a former neighbor. His mouth was hanging wide open.

Jill: Is everything OK?

Husband, nodding: Catherine had a baby.

Jill: Catherine who?

Husband: Our old next door neighbor, Catherine.

Jill: That's impossible. I saw her less than 3 months ago. She wasn't pregnant!

...Well, apparently she was.

She'd been seeing her doctor for the last 2 months and had endured a barrage of blood tests and an MRI. Finally, 4 days ago, the doctor discovered that was Catherine pregnant.

Yesterday, he determined that she was seven months pregnant.

No one knew including Catherine herself. The doctor was immediately concerned because the baby wasn't surrounded by amniotic fluid. So Catherine was hospitalized last night for an induced the delivery. "The baby won't be alive," he told her. "It won't have skin or eyes or toe nails." He was trying to prepare her for a stillborn birth, and I can only imagine her horror.

Catherine's labor and ultimate delivery happened very quickly, and last night she held the baby in her arms. He weighs 4 pounds and he's got skin and eyes and everything else but he's being tested extensively. No one is willing to state for sure that he will make it, but several folks in the neighborhood are talking about this baby being a miracle.

I look back at the day and just shake my head. Pain. Fear. Guilt. Self-disgust. Smiles. Hope. And Little Miracles. Life isn't always perfect, but it is full and rich and filled with surprises.