My son has a fascination with numbers. He hasn’t quite figured out how they work yet, but I’m hoping that this inclination towards math continues for him. It’s never been my strong suit, and I dread the years coming when he asks for help with his homework and I realize it is a math I couldn’t pass in college.
Numbers like six thousand four seven eighty nine nine and five two hundred ninety seven five three are the normal way of describing things around my house.
The alligator was ninety eleven thousand pounds old.
I weigh seventy nine two and three years.
It’s two thousand million six ways that way.
So tonight we had this…
Dude: Can you get a new baby tomorrow?
Me: No. Not tomorrow. Daddy and I are going to wait for a little bit before we try to make another baby.
Dude: Like eleven seventy-five bits.
Me: Like sixty to ninety bits.
Dude: That’s like next this week.
And since we live in a home where everything always happened “yesterday” and everything is happening “tomorrow”, I realized for him, next week is forever. So I didn’t argue the point, or try to explain days and weeks and months. I didn’t mess with his little realm of reality and the small ‘bits’ of it he gets right now. I’m glad he asks me questions. I’m glad he knows he can.
Maybe he got it from the husband. I have to say, as bad as things got yesterday for me, the husband was his normal, dependable self…though inquisitive, to say the least.
I started having contractions yesterday, so we knew what the doctor referred to as the “big event” (terrible choice of words, doc) was on its way, and we hoped to soon be finished with the physical aspects of this loss so we could go back to dealing with the emotional parts of it.
Before I continue, the husband and I share an amazing quality: we laugh.
We laugh about everything.
We laugh about nothing.
We laugh about inappropriate things.
We laugh to deal with the crap around us.
We laugh to deal with each other.
We laugh when we are angry, or sad, or frustrated.
We laugh when we are in pain.
We laugh, because that’s how we deal and that’s who we are.
So yesterday, while I was curled up in the bed in the middle of increasingly intense contractions, I looked over and saw…basically this:
Once I was done yelling curses into my fluffy pillow, I began to laugh. I had forgotten that this would have been the husband’s first baby…It was the first pregnancy he’d been through.
He’d never seen a woman in labor.
So seeing me, having contractions and crying out in pain was not a good moment for him. He was literally pulling the blanket over his head every time a wave rolled around and would only peek over the edge when I got quiet again.
Which meant every time a contraction passed, I would fall onto the bed laughing helplessly at the big, strong man hiding and looking about as helpless as a kitten.
Eventually, the laughter stopped though. The contractions got worse, I was told to go to the E.R., I began hemorrhaging…The husband became less the frightened man and more the man growling in the waiting room every time someone’s name was called besides mine. He became the frightening man in the triage department when he found out there were no beds available for me, and they were going to have to give me morphine in some back room in a chair.
And twenty minutes later I’m in an actual bed, high as a kite, and fighting with the finger/pulse monitor thing they had on me, while he continued to get frustrated with me and say multiple times:
Put your hand down. Leave it alone. Stop it before you break it! Leave it alone!
And I laughed at him.
Because that’s what we do.
And as the night progressed and the doctor gave us a clean bill of health, and I was feeling better, safer, saner…I realized just one more reason to add to that long list of reasons I love the husband.
REASON NUMBER SIX THOUSAND FOUR SEVEN EIGHTY NINE NINE
The husband isn’t afraid to ask me questions. And so when he asked me to explain exactly what had been happening to my body and to the baby, I did. I walked him through the entire process, of what we thought could have happened to the baby, about how the body takes care of these things.
And there’s something almost comforting in that…in the breaking it down. I knew what had happened to my body, and while we’ll never know exactly what happened to our baby, talking it through was like lifting a weight. It let me step back for a second. It let me take the fear out of the situation (and made me wish I’d talked to him before the process had begun). It made me feel closer to him in those moments, when he wasn’t afraid to ask me questions.
And maybe he won’t want to talk about it any more, and that’s okay. I don’t much want to talk about it either. And maybe we’ll both laugh and poke fun at me high on morphine, or his hiding under the blanket technique. Hell, that’s not even a maybe. We will.
Because that’s what we do.
And that’s who we are.
And it’s just reason number six thousand four seven eighty nine nine why I love him.