Before things went wrong I had mapped out a scene from our future. I think every parent does. Whether it is your baby’s first smile, how you will look pushing your baby in a stroller, or taking your child to their first day of school. I suspect the image is different for everyone. For me, it was a picture of being wheeled by my beaming husband to the front doors of the hospital clutching three baby boys. Heads would turn and everyone would say, “Triplets!”
As an OB/GYN I have seen it a lot. The father or partner nervously sprints to the car and as the mother passes by cradling her precious bundle, almost everyone smiles and remarks on the baby. It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement of a newborn. The mothers are like beauty pageant winners, clutching a baby instead of roses, their faces beaming with excitement as they glide through the hallways as if they were taking their first turn on the stage before an adoring crowd. I really wanted that wheelchair ride. But no one looks at the mother without a baby. We are the invisible.
I still come and go from a hospital every day, just as I done for more than 20 years. To this day I have to turn away when I see those smiling mothers as they glide towards the hospital doors as it reminds me of how I felt getting into our car so many years before. I can never escape it. It is a visceral reminder of all that was lost. There are some wounds that never heal. I know it is not their fault that my pregnancy did not go as planned, that after months of intensive care I left the hospital with two critically ill boys instead of three healthy ones, but I cannot help it. It is a reminder of all those original dreams long discarded but not forgotten.
A mother should never have to leave the hospital without her baby.