Eighteen years ago, after 22 weeks of a healthy pregnancy, my water unexpectedly broke, and that was the beginning of an end that still hurts me to this day.
The only thing I think I have ever wanted to be was, and still is to some extent, is a mother. To have someone to call me Mommy, Mom or Momma has been a desire since I first took care of my baby doll. I was born to be this. My first job was babysitting. I became a teacher in large part to have the summer off with my 2.5 kids, dog, and husband. I had names selected, planned and envisioned their lives and my role as their mother. President of the PTA, bake sales, sports mom, choir rehearsals all were on the calendar of life. I could not wait to purchase the first little green and white outfit so that a YPD’er would be in the house.
We actually got pregnant celebrating our first wedding anniversary. I was ecstatic, beyond joy. I bought books and had emails that explained and showed me what my little one looked like in my belly. I joined AOL chat rooms, didn’t everyone back then. You entered the room with your location and due date. I craved Taco Bell tacos and cinnamon twists, scrambled eggs and canned pears were for breakfast every day. My morning sickness lasted into midday and on to the evening. I lost more than 25 pounds because I couldn’t keep anything down. This child was a very picky eater.
I remember visiting my Dad in Indianapolis and got my usual all day sickness. The rest of the visit, he followed me around with a little bucket, just in case I got sick again. And I did.
Then I woke up one Friday morning, 22 weeks pregnant, and my water broke.
I didn’t know what was happening until I was at the hospital and they said to the medical students surrounding my bed “An ultrasound has three things. What is missing here?” (Note to self, never ever go to a teaching hospital when you are looking for a bit of bed side manner and you become the lesson for the day.) What was missing was the amniotic fluid that was supposed to protect my little one. That was supposed to keep my baby from harm and support his journey into this world. It was missing. Gone.
My mind raced a million miles a second. Can they put fluid in me? Can I be on bed rest? Can I make more fluid? What can we do to save the one thing I have always wanted in this world? There is something that we can do to save my precious one? Right, there is something? But there was nothing that could be done.
Tears flowed, and my chest became tight. I could not breathe. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t. Not a sound came out of my mouth. I did manage to cuss out a Nurse’s Assistant when she entered the room and asked me about a car seat. I also later apologized to her because it was not her fault; I was in Labor and Delivery. Nothing came out of my mouth when they told me that I would have to deliver my little one. Nothing came out of my mouth when they induced my labor. Nothing came out of my mouth when they gave me medication to ease the pain. But the pain could not be eased. It never has been eased. It still hurts.
I delivered a baby boy we had named Carrington Scott Whitehead. I did not want people to judge and make assumptions about his name when he was older and especially on his resume. If she were a girl, she would have been Carrington Maurice, same reason. I can’t remember where I got that name from. But I loved it, I still do.
I was able to hold Carrington. This precious little one I desired with all my heart and soul. This little guy that I wanted to love and to be his Mother with all my strength, hopes and dreams. They wrapped my little Carrington in a blanket as he was very still and quiet in my arms as I cried silently. Just tears, no sound. The chaplain came and prayed with us, but I could not see Jesus that day. I did not see God.
There is a scream that has been bottled up in me since that day. I internally measure all pain I have ever had by the pain of that day. Nothing since that day has even come close for me to scream about. Not the loss of my Father, the anger of the end of my marriage, the loss of friends and loved ones, nothing. The physical pain of illness, the anger of caused from situations, people, myself or any of my problems has not driven a scream from my mouth. Nothing I have ever been through, or experienced in the 18 years since, measures to the pain of that day. I have had no pain that can even begin to compare to the pain of that day, February 26, 1999.
I have had great days and moments of joy since then. I have accomplished much. I have laughed and cried tears of happiness and celebration. I have seen life begin, seen it end, and discovered love to maintain me through trials and tribulation. I have witnessed strength and power and have on occasion summoned those gifts personally to get me through times of desperation.
I have forgiven God. I did not see it as fair, but I know that it was for the good.
I still have a twinge in my heart each time I see a new born, or I think of what Carrington would be doing now. He would be getting ready to graduate from High School, and headed off to college with an athletic and academic scholarship. Attending a Historically Black College or University for undergrad and Ivy league for graduate school.
I would not be truthful or transparent if I did not acknowledge the pain that still sprouts up when Mother’s Day and other holidays come around. I am sometimes amazed at the things I can write about, sex, money, relationships, politics, and other things that are not important, but this has been the hardest piece that I have ever written.
Maybe this is my scream.