“Mama, gimme my babies from Mama belly. I wanna play. Come here, babies. Bess loves you.”
Bess still talks to my belly. There’s nothing I can do to stop her. Tonight, she lifted up my shirt to comment that my belly was smaller. It’s finally going down. She doesn’t know why.
“Lyndse, your blood shows that you are officially not pregnant anymore.” The nurse was apprehensive, yet cheerful. My blood work was perfect. My body textbook. It was bittersweet. I had anticipated that news all month. It finally came on a Friday. The last Friday in February. I rejoiced that a follow-up D & C wasn’t necessary. I sobbed that it was 100% finished.
Dave took me away for the weekend. Concert tickets. A hotel. Our children divvied up among grandmothers. I packed an overnight bag. A change of clothes, lingerie, my makeup, a couple toiletries, and our read-aloud.
I’ve waited more than a decade to see MUTEMATH in concert. To watch Darren King play the drums like I do in my daydreams…even though I can barely clap. And to sing along with Paul. And to dance.
We walked Downtown Tulsa for hours before the show. The Art Deco district. The Brady Arts district. Ate dinner. Made our way to Cain’s Ballroom. Ran into Darren, as he was walking into the show. And I had forgotten for a moment that I had been pregnant. For the first time in a month, I had actually forgotten. But Darren was holding his daughter, and it all returned to me.
Would Laurence have been a musician? Would Flannery have been curly-haired? I touched my belly. But my abdomen is just fluffy now. I look like I recently ate all my 4-year-old’s Valentine’s Day candy. Which I did. I quickly put my arm back through Dave’s. Pressing up against him. Snuggling in so I wouldn’t cry in front of a ticket taker. And I held it together.
Until right before the show started. She was about my age. Holding her belly. Just three feet away. And I could tell we would’ve been the same week. And I almost said, “I bet we share due dates!” I caught myself. Our eyes had already made contact. But I said nothing. Looked at her, in her second trimester. I stared a bit too long. She moved her arm protectively over her baby. Grabbed her husband’s arm. I started to cry.
Hours from home. From anyone who knew. A room full of strangers. Zero of them knew that I am attending a memorial service this month at a hospital chapel. Zero of them knew that my blood work had come back ‘not pregnant’ and how I can’t reconcile feeling dismay and happiness in the same moment.
I spent most of the show singing and laughing and crying. Standing room only. Some girls behind us mocked my outfit. Made fun of my shoes. My pants. My hair. They were young. Trying to impress everyone around them. Getting a high from sniggering at me.
I chuckled. Because I was relishing my 33rd birthday gift from my husband. Those shoes had just walked 4 miles with the love of my life. Those jeans were my first non-maternity pants of 2016…a 16W and covering the midsection of a mother of five. My hair. Well, it does whatever it wants to do and I don’t stop it. I can’t stop it. I laughed at how they knew nothing of my life. Yet they passed judgment. Time and time again.
I was like a pendulum. From joy to grief. My dancing much like the figure eights that put a little to sleep when I’m wearing on my back. Or my arms flailing like a sailor overboard. Singing along word-for-word to a decade of songs. Or making it up.
On the last Saturday in February, my dancing turned to mourning and then turned to worship. My first time worshiping since I lost my children. Since I put my dad in prison. Since my dad-in-law died. Since Adelaide was diagnosed as being undiagnosable. Had I not raised my hands and danced around and screamed to, and at, God in the last three plus years? I can’t remember. But I did in Tulsa.
“Just keep going.” Those lyrics were for me. The words the Holy Spirit gave me during my own private hell. When I want to just give up, He keeps throwing hope in my face. And I danced in my mom shoes and the tears streamed down my textbook non-pregnant face and my pants almost fell off, because my tummy shrinks everyday. And I still don’t know why.