February 2, 2012

This was written on September 12, 2011, one hundred and seventy-two long days after March 24. 
____________________

We are driving on the 134, past Eagle Rock and over the hill that provides panoramic views of Downtown and the Pacific. My nerves are running laps between my heart and head, my knee is bobbing up and down, my mouth is unable to deliver the thoughts streaming in. We sit quietly as we roll down the hill towards our exit.

I am surprisingly confident. I am painfully terrified.

It was like this once before, almost exactly, except we were breaking the speed limit and Kari was screaming in pain and I was on the phone.


"Yes, hello. My wife just fell on her belly. We are driving to you now. Is Dr. Wu there?"

"Kari Jackson."

"39 weeks."

I hung up in a haze and relayed the news. The doc is there, I told her. It’s going to be okay. Maybe we’ll meet her now, we mumbled to one another while she lay sideways, clutching her belly.

"Something isn’t right." she said with measured doubt. Her eyes signaled the coming calamity. 

"We’re almost there," I replied.

I hugged the right lane and exited frantically, my right arm extended towards Kari, my left doing the driving. Every last ounce of hope I could muster went into that right arm, down through my elbow, past my hand and into the life inside that broken belly.

My mind raced about where to go. I contemplated the ER for a split second before deciding on Labor and Delivery. I stopped near the valet, just in front of the double doors, and barely had enough time to shift the car into park before leaping off the seat and running into the building.

"I'll be right back," I blurted out as I slammed the door shut.

I ran past the security box and down the hall, past the waiting room where balloons and family members waited anxiously, and straight into the nurse's station at Labor and Delivery.

"I need help!" I yelled. I stopped to catch my breath in a desperate plea with my body and mind to remain calm. My stomach was somersaulting around my insides. My heart pounded ferociously, each chamber pumping and moving my blood, which was laced with a fear I had never known before. 

"My wife just fell on her belly and something isn't right. Wu is our Doctor and she's full term. I need a wheelchair"

I must have floated back to the car, back to Kari doubled over on the front seat. There is no memory of getting back to her, of lifting her into the chair, of hurtling her towards the ultrasound machines. We were just there, suddenly, with a team of frightened nurses. One of them pulled out a fetal pocket doppler and placed it on her belly.

In the agonizing sound of nothingness, time stood still.


We gently roll past the valet, past the double doors and head for the parking garage. Our hands lock together in a sweat. We nervously kid about our new willingness to happily pay for parking. I ignore the obvious, even though The Day is still more fresh in my mind than any other day of my life.

It's September.

We take the stairs out of the garage and head towards the outside entrance. We walk past the valet and through the double door entrance. I can see pieces of my former self scattered around the place, my dismembered ghost calling out to me from the tiled floor, from the ceiling, from every little nook and cranny. My innocence in one corner, my naivety in another. Luck stares at me from under a chair, and unwavering optimism glares at me from down the hall. I stare at them with indifference.

She sits on the table, I pace the compact room, shuffling back and forth, my nerves still running laps, my hands still moist. There are few words between us.

There he is. Our frail, sixty-nine year old Dr. Wu, who delivered both our girls, one who was resuscitated after a thirty-six hour labor by a team of six NICU Dr's and nurses, and one who they tried to resuscitate. His eyes fill with empathy, with a gratefulness that we are able to be here again.

"How are you?" he asks. "Any morning sickness?" He asks in a way that suggests he is hoping with all the hope in the universe that there are other signs of pregnancy, that he finds a heartbeat.

"Okay, let's have a listen." 

And there it was. The most beautiful sound of all, so primal and miraculous and hopeful.

Another beating heart.

___________________

We are now six months along with a growing baby boy. He's due in early May. We really, really, really hope he makes it.

57 comments:

B. Wilson said...

First, congratulations. I have a hard time with the exclamation point, but I definitely think it's news to congratulate.

Second, that last line is so true in so many ways. Thank you for letting us in on things. Hoping all the best and more for you and Kari.

Molly said...

So happy to read the announcement. So happy things look good. So happy for your family to have hope in this new addition. All of this happy while tears are streaming down my face reliving the first part of this post with you. Hugs to you all. Hoping for the best right along with you.

Hope's Mama said...

My eyes just filled up with tears. Of sadness from the first part of your post and joy and elation from the second part of your post.
I have personally had a very tough week, and this news really did brighten my day. I am full of hope for you, mixed in with a decent dose of terror, as I now how scary this must be for you.
All my love to you guys, and your growing baby boy.
And a special hug for you, Kari.
xo

Nathalie said...

You continuously bring tears to my eyes (as I write this). We are hoping for that miracle alongside with you. Love you guys.

LauraJane said...

Congratulations on a beautiful baby boy. I hope he makes it, too. So much.

Dolly said...

I discovered your blog when you first lost Margot but, I never had the courage to write. I am so happy to hear that Kari is pregnant again. Life can be bittersweet. I'm sorry for your loss and happy for your growing baby boy.

Nerissa said...

Oh Josh! This is such terrifyingly exciting news. We just announced to the www as well at almost 28 weeks. I hope we ALL make it.

natalie said...

I'm at a cafe eating scones with my three beautiful boys and weeping. Much love.

Lori Wells said...

I am so happy for you both! A boy, how awesome!

Anonymous said...

This baby, just like your two others, has brought joy to the heart of a stranger across the way. I am so happy for you and your family. Stella and Margot are two treasures and now the third, it's just so heartwarming.

Merry said...

Sitting in bed with my 6 day old rainbow boy and weeping with joy for you.

It's a long road and fearful but I wish you happiness with all my heart.

Merry said...

Sitting in bed with my 6 day old rainbow boy and weeping with joy for you.

It's a long road and fearful but I wish you happiness with all my heart.

Stephanie said...

What a beautiful post Josh. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Congratulations!

still life angie said...

A boy?! Eep. Crying with you as you navigate pregnancy after. It's a totally different animal. Love to all of you. Remembering Margot with you. XO

Groves said...

I wondered - because of something you said on Brie's blog...

Pure happy is what I feel and don't feel. Terrified and pure happy and edgy and hopeful mixed up and galloping around the stomach region.

Surging desire to be infinite and powerful and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound; I know you don't need any protecting from me, but boy, if I could, I would.

March 24, you must be the blackest day. How dare you do what you did.

Kari, Josh, Stella, Margot June - and Little Boy.

Please, please, please, please, please. Just safe and sound.

Cathy in Missouri

Mary Beth said...

Josh and Kari, I am so beyond happy for you guys. And also so beyond sad, too. I have been thinking of you so much lately, all five of you.

This post just hit me really hard. I remember well those similar emotions.

Sending you every ounce of love and health and wonderfulness I can find. I'll be crossing my fingers and toes and eyes and everything else until that little guy is safe with you.

Lots of love to you guys, and Stella, and Margot June, and Baby Boy.
xo

loribeth said...

Congratulations!! Fingers & toes all crossed for you that the next few months go by quickly & calmly. : )

Rachel said...

Wow, this is a powerful post! You described the scene so vividly. I'm hopeful for you and your family that you will get to bring this one home.

Amanda said...

I think I held my breath the entire time I read that post....which is really hard to do when you're crying.

Come on, Little Guy. You have so much to learn about this world. Much to learn about your parents and your two big sisters. You are loved.

Becky said...

Congrats on your little boy. Praying for a very uneverntful pregnancy for you and your wife.

brianna said...

Each time I drive that freeway I think of you guys and wonder what those minutes were like. So terrifying and painful.

You summed up so much what a subsequent pregnancy is like after a loss. Trying to live in the present while simultaneously (and quite helplessly) reliving the past too.

I hope he makes it too. I really, really do.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me, but I've been following your story from the beginning. So very glad to hear this news......wishing you sincere peace and joy.

Catherine W said...

I'm so pleased for you, Kari and Stella, Josh. This news has made my morning and I'll have a smile on my face today. You've described it so perfectly, going back to those same rooms, those rooms where bits of our dismembered former selves still reside. It must have been very difficult, with all those memories of your precious Margot.

Hoping for you and with you for very much for a peaceful, healthy pregnancy and the safe arrival of your little son. I like the sound of Dr Wu. Love to you and yours.

Gwen Jackson said...

Sitting in the airport this morning reading your blog. Holding back tears knowing the anguish of that fateful day. Remembering the shock and pain of it from afar.

Sending lots of love, hugs, and hope to all of you today.

Mary said...

Oh my gosh! Congrats to both you and Kari! Hoping for the best and an uneventful pregnancy.

Summer said...

Congrats! May God bless your family!

Anonymous said...

Your writing is powerful and moving. I've been reading your blog since your travels around the world, and your honesty in hurt and in joy is a drawing force. Your blog has brought me to many tears over the loss of Margot, humbled me and made me more deeply grateful for the birth of our first baby, and now to tears once again this time in great joy over this new life! Your journey continues and I'm excited to follow along.

Anonymous said...

As a follower of your blog since I lost my own precious baby, I can't tell you how happy and hopeful this news makes me. Many positive thoughts coming your way.

Gil said...

Oh my goodness. How lovely to read this news. I have tears rolling down my cheeks as I type.
Keeping you and your whole family in my thoughts, with much hope, prayer and love that all goes absolutely perfectly.

Brooke said...

Hoping, hoping, hoping right along with you. Congratulations on your baby boy, may the hope always outweigh the fear.

John said...

I wept as I read this.

I still weep for your loss.

I pray for your third child. May it go well

Renel said...

Such great news. Amongst the tragedy if life without our daughters, there continues to be hope. Love to you and your or opus family.

Nika M. said...

Congratulations! Sending you lots of extra hugs and prayers.

Corrie said...

Wow, powerful, profound, truthful and honest. A beautiful post of a precious life lost and a precious life yet to be born. God makes beauty from ashes. A stranger here will be praying for health for both mama and baby boy and for peace to over come fear.

::athada:: said...

Felicidades to you all from 3 amigos in W-MI.

Anonymous said...

Another person not anywhere nearby, not knowing you guys, but remembering your beautiful Margot every time the local radio plays Mumford and Sons.

So glad to read this note of hope. Will be reading along and keeping fingers tightly crossed that your little boy is here and yelling loud in May.

Amy L. said...

Congratulations. Wow. I always love your writing, but this post moved me beyond words.

Beautiful...

Fireflyforever said...

Oh wow - a little boy. There are so many of us wishing with you that Margot was around to help Stella terrorise and love a little brother.

Hoping with you for a living, breathing little boy in early May.

Crystal said...

Such a wonderful announcement. Sending prayers for your family and your precious baby boy.

Curls O Fred said...

So far behind on news, but my heart is happy for this newest endeavor. Sending continuing hope and strength as the days tick by.

Bon said...

oh, so good. so good. so glad.

Tash said...

Oh I'm crying and smiling at the same time. Your good news made my day Josh. I'm wishing with all my heart right along with you. Sending lovanger peace as you relive such excrutiating moments and look to the future at the same time. Much love, Tash xx

Tash said...

Sending love *and* peace .

admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
admin said...

Congratulations! There IS so much hope within that sound of a beating heart! I'm thrilled for you and your family- I've been praying for you guys so fervently! God Bless your baby boy and may you have His peace throughout this pregnancy!

Carmin (Blinn) Bortner
(friends at IWU with Kari)
www.littleladybigapple.com

Jeanette said...

Another weeping here. Beautiful post,captured perfectly how it is to go back. I think we joked about paying for parking too.x

Anonymous said...

Big congratulations to you & your wife!!
"The world breaks everybody, but some gets stronger in the broken places.."
Ernest Hemingway

kidsakeeper said...

It's hard to share this kind of news with a grieving audience.

I think the juxtaposition of not hearing Margot's and pacing to hear your new sons hearts is haunting and wonderful all at the same time.

I think congratulations are in order, but so hard to give after a loss.

Take care xo

Anonymous said...

this is very exciting! so many people grieve with you for margot, and so many now celebrate the hope that comes along with this little boy growing. 'a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance'... and sometimes a time to do all, at the same time.

may cannot come fast enough.

congratulations!

Sharee Ussher said...

Oh wow guys! Tears oh the tears - sadness for the past but excitement for the future. We will be praying you through & thinking of you every step of the way through this pregnancy. Congratulations!

Jodi Poynter said...

Congratulations -
Continue to catch up on your family through your blog.
Hugs and prayers from Holland, MI
Gary & Jodi Poynter

Jodi Poynter said...

Congratulations -
continuing to think and pray for
you all often.

Hugs from Holland, MI
Gary & Jodi Poynter

crystal theresa said...

i can feel the tension between these two moments; it's all tangled up to me, probably because i have the conflicting feelings about doctors appointments, about this pregnancy and the little ones i've lost.

my heart aches for you and Kari and Margot. but i also have hope for you and your newest addition. i really, really hope you get to bring your little boy home. wishing you peace and comfort and joy in this pregnancy (as much as you can, anyway).

Anonymous said...

I literally had chills, shivers of joy when I read the good news. I have followed your blog since I learned about your loss of dear baby Margot through Booby Brigade, a LA mother's yahoo group. Wishing you and Kari safety and a healthy baby. I am inspired and hopeful as I hope for my own rainbow baby. Since June of last year I have suffered 2 early miscarriages while trying to have a second child. Turns out I have a chromosomal abnormality which will make this an uphill battle. I am not giving up and hope to give our dear daughter a sibling. I will be thinking of your dear son and the day you can share him with Stella in the flesh and with Margot through your words.

TracyOC said...

Here's a ridiculously late congratulations and good luck. I'll be cheering you and Kari and baby boy on from afar.

Hanen said...

Somehow I missed this amazing news. But I know the doubled-up feeling so well - the sticky trail of past trauma, the tentative steps on a path that led directly to that trauma once before.

My heart is suspended like yours, hoping madly that both our baby boys make it in May.

Tiffany said...

Found your blog through Brooke. I'm so sorry for the loss of your baby girl. And congrats on this new precious addition to your family. Pregnancy after a loss is so incredibly emotional. I'm thinking of you & your wife and praying for your boy's safe arrival.

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