The Million Dollar Question
So this morning, still in my jammies, I drove over to the gas station to join the MegaMillions craze. After all, we had just been part of an unhappy turn of events that was put at < 1% of a chance of occurrence...so why not see if that < 1 % "luck" could be turned into megamoolah? As I bought the ticket, I daydreamed about all the things I would do with the money...pay off debt, give to charity, start a nonprofit, help families/friends, ok, and yes, I imagined myself rolling around in a giant heap of money and then making it rain dollar bills- ha, ok just kidding, but wouldn't that be fun? And then came the million dollar question...
"Are you pregnant?"
THE NERVE OF THAT SALES CLERK. Here we go again.
I gathered all my strength, looked her in the eyes, and said, "No." And, get this...she looks me up and down one more time and with a questioning look says, "Oh?". Like she just could not fathom that I really wasn't pregnant. So, this time I told her, "No, my baby died." Well, that shut her up.
And then I ran to my car and cried...again. I wish I had said, "No. Are you?" just to make her realize how much it hurts...but I'm too chicken.
And so began the darkest day of this journey yet. I called John and vented. I called my friend, Lindsey, and vented some more. But I just couldn't get out of the funk. After showering and getting ready for the day, I tried doing some chores around the house to take my mind off of things but everything...and I mean EVERYTHING...reminded me of Callie. I had been shoving stuff into this niche in our living room for a while now so I decided to clean it up a bit. There, I found the yellow ribbons from Callie's service. The programs. A really nice card that we hadn't read yet. It went on and on. I tried taking the things I found there upstairs to put away in Callie's memory box, but opening up that box just sent a new wave of grief over me. Her hospital bracelet. Her hat. A teeny snippet of her hair. Oh, her little lock of dark brown hair. I wish I had snipped more...but I told John and nurse at the time that I didn't want her going to heaven with a messed up hairdo.
I pulled out her handprints and feet prints, the baby shower invitations, and Callie's baptism certificate so that I could add them to her scrapbook later that day because my friend, Kim, was coming over to help me put it together. I poured over Callie's ultrasound pictures looking for a sign that would have told us what was to come. And then I came across the 4D pictures of her...when she had smiled for the camera. A sweet, content little smile. A grin that we never got to see in "real" life.
As I cried over these images, the phone rang. A computerized voice began talking. It was the hospital's automated financial assistance service calling for "B.G. Cornely" to see if we would like to qualify for help with our medical bills (don't worry, insurance covered it, but for some reason the calls still keep coming). I hung up the phone, puzzled by what the heck "B.G." meant...and then it hit me. Baby Girl. You see, with the whirlwind that was Callie's birth, they entered her into the system as Baby Girl. They did the same thing at Children's in DC. This isn't the first time I've gotten phone calls about medical bills or an insurance card referring to Baby Girl. That is what is printed on Callie's hospital bracelets too. It makes me so mad...she has a name, people!!! When its an actual live person calling, they never seem to know that our baby died. So I get the pleasure, over and over and over again of telling these people what happened and to leave me the *BLEEP* alone. But something about that robot bitch on the phone today calling Callie "B.G." sent me right over the edge. Something inside of me broke.
I did the scary cry for a long, long time. And when I couldn't ignore the growling in my stomach anymore, I broke down and got out of bed to go to my fav Chik-fil-a for some good eats, but I couldn't even make it there. I had to pull over, cancel my scrapbooking plans, and scary cry some more right there in that parking lot. Thank goodness for stupid teenagers. After awhile of me weeping and banging the steering wheel, two high school kids pulled into the parking lot...I'm pretty sure they were skipping school to do some shady business...but it was enough to snap me out of it (after all no one needs to see the scary cry) and get me to Chik-fil-a where they messed up my order and I cried some more. Ha, actually that makes me laugh now as I type it. I actually cried into my waffle fries. I mean, they are already salty so why not?
When I got home, I lay frozen in bed for a really long time. Numb, so numb. I wondered to myself if I had actually lost my mind and gone bonkers. And I'm pretty sure that I went for five minute stretches without blinking. After a while, I finally decided to succumb to the sleepy stupor that was hanging over me. Before I went to sleep, I asked God to help me and comfort me. And also to please help us hit the MegaMillions.
About an hour later, I awoke to the warmth of the sun shining through our bedroom windows as it began making its magical descent to the horizon. It had been cloudy and cold all day, reflecting once again my feelings and mood. To wake up to sunbeams was extremely comforting and I was filled with peace. I decided to interpret that light as God answering my prayers. It was like a fog lifted and everything was clear again. I didn't feel happy or cheerful, but at least I felt peace and deep grief had been put to the side once more.
I thought long and hard about writing publicly tonight...but ultimately, I felt that I needed to put these feelings down to recognize and acknowledge them. I would be lying if I made this journey seem like every day was filled with hope and some greater purpose. Thankfully, we have been blessed with these insights on numerous occasions and I strive each and every day to have a good day and to be hopeful. But I'm allowed to be sad, depressed, and downtrodden too. And I think that it is good to share these feelings. Just writing this post has helped me climb out of my black hole of a day and those warming rays of sunshine were like a giant hug from God, answering my prayers in a dark moment. Now if only He would take care of that MegaMillions...