Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chapter 3, Exercise 11, The Photo Album

Flip through a photo album and pick a photo. What do you see? What's in the background? Then write. Jump into the scene, into the singular moment the photo holds. No exposition here, no summary, no voice-over, no setup no background, no leap to the future. We don't need to know how we got here, nor where we're headed, just that we are here. Use your words:

I never thought I would see one of this black and white photos again let alone be handed one with a picture of TWO babies on it. I have had two panic attacks in my life and this day was one of them.
I was sitting in an exam room on the lower level of the clinic. The door was on the left side. It was a small and cold room. I was just coming to terms with being pregnant when the sonographer, a petite, young brunette excused herself, a little too politely, to go get the doctor.
Dr. Chin spoke broken English but he knew me. He was in the E.R. the night I miscarried and  he was my doctor of choice when both boys were born after.
He took the  sonogram wand in his little hands and continued to repeat the same actions the women before him had done.
Then with a big smile he said, "Congratulations! You're having twins!"

The feeling that immediately washed over me from inside the depths of my soul to outside where you could see my trembling fingers indicated I was hit with a swift, unexpected mode of panic.
I did not feel like celebrating. Congratulations seemed terribly inappropriate.
I immediately wanted the doctor to take back those words, "Don't say that!" I shouted at him. A look of utter confusion washed across his face. "Don't say that!" I repeated. My short circuited brain was clearly in control of my mouth. In hindsight I suppose I just simply wanted him to take back those words, to unsay what he had just said.
Of course that wasn't possible and neither was it helpful. Not discovering twins wouldn't make my pregnancy any less twin-ful.
I continued to spew off random, inappropriate declarations that afternoon one of which blamed the doctor. "This is your fault!"
"I didn't do this to you!" he said.
What I was trying to say was the prescription - that I took faithfully everyday - had failed.
As the tears and blubbering continued out of control the medical staff began to grow concern. I could tell by their hushed tones, secret conversations and stolen glances my way. I was a woman, who'd just learned she was having twins, on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
The Dr. asked if I'd like to speak with someone.
aka: somebody call psych please!
Not wanting to be detained one minute longer than I had to I knew I needed to pull it together - or at least make the clinic staff believe I had recovered - and quick!
I remember a nurse telling me she would let me go home when I could stop crying.
I have no idea how long it took me to gather myself but it seemed like forever. I remember bursting through automatic doors, the sun shinning brightly, scanning the parking lot for my car. My hands shook, literally trembled, as I attempted to unlock the car door. When it shut behind me the tears came again and again in uncontrollable waves of anguish and fear.
I didn't think I could do it. I didn't want to parent five children.
I sat there in my car, in the parking lot and cried until ...I began to scare even myself.
I cried as if someone I loved had just died. Not gotten news of new life.
I uncovered my face and looked straight to the heavens and informed God that this news was going to break me. I had reached the end of myself. I knew it and surely He must have known it as well.
He responded to me that day.
It is only one of two times I believed I have heard God speak directly to me.
I told Him this would break me and He said, "It would if I let it!"

I've seen a handful of other black and white sonogram photos since then. None of them have been of my babies, thank God! I've certainly celebrated with other expecting moms when they show me their sonograms. But almost seven years later, turns out He was right. It didn't break me. And I thank Him regularly for all five of my children, but especially for the surprise gift of twins. 

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