By the time we got to the car, I started to lose it.
I gave the keys to Mike (I usually drive us around) and called up my mom. We had been texting all morning with family, taking final guesses on the baby's gender. She was anxious to hear our news.
We started to leave the parking lot, because we have to pay $1 per half hour after the first 30 minutes of each visit. And somehow, even in a moment of emotional crisis, it was important to me to leave the lot so we didn't run up a "big" charge. Strange, I know.
Anyway, I told my mom we had good news and bad news. Why people choose to start off major announcements in a way that invites panic, I do not know. Why I chose to phrase things that way, I do not know, either.
I could keep my voice steady, even cheery, while I told my mom she was going to have a grandson. There were congratulations and expressions of excitement, I'm sure. I explained the complications, too, still fresh on my mind. We sobbed together. Never had 1,600 miles felt so far away as it did at that moment. I asked my mom to tell my dad. For some reason I couldn't bear the idea of breaking down over the phone with him on the other end.
When I finished, Mike called his mom and relayed the same news. Maybe my mother-in-law is made of tougher stuff, but she took it all quite calmly and said everything would be alright.
We didn't know what to do with ourselves. We went to a random Mexican supermarket down the street and wandered the aisles, holding hands, tears rolling down my cheeks. Neither of us was ready to vocalize the thoughts in our heads. I can't speak for Mike, but I was grieving for our unborn children. For the first time in my life, I felt angry about adoption, upset that I might not be able to have more biological children. I wondered what would happen if they removed my uterus. Would I have the proper hormone levels to breastfeed? Would I experience changes similar to menopause? Would I have problems being intimate? Would I resent our son for what might happen to my body?
I did have words of comfort for Mike. Somehow, though I was absolutely terrified, I kept saying things like, "Maybe we'll be lucky, and they'll be able to remove the placenta surgically after delivery." It had been explained to us that I'd have to have a C-section, and then my placenta would be examined immediately after. That way, the doctors could observe me right away and make their decision--hysterectomy or no--without delay. "Women have C-sections all the time," I kept telling Mike. "The baby and I are going to make it through, and that's all that matters."
But it wasn't all that mattered, not to me. Right after confronting my fear, I was filled with tremendous self-loathing. I was angry that my body didn't function properly. I felt betrayed by the fallibility of the organs that so shaped my identity as a woman. I was broken. Out of order.
I went through a short phase of regret. Maybe, just this one time, my body couldn't form a placenta properly. Maybe this pregnancy was the only one that would have this problem, and because of our chosen timing, we had negated the possibility of other children. I wished several times, but for only a split second each time, that I weren't pregnant.
That night, things looked ugly. For the record, Google is a pregnant woman's worst enemy. Searching placenta accreta opened my mind to a whole world of horror stories. Most women had to have hysterectomies as a result of their attached placentas. I couldn't find any testimonials of women my age. I really couldn't find anything but scary statistics and scarier reports of disappointment and heartache.
I was told to give the perinatologist's office 24 hours to process the midwives' request to take me on as a patient. Those hours were grueling. Mike and I slept poorly that night.