The blemishes on my back and arms are starting to disappear. In a week they should be all gone, scrubbed away with the fine netting I use when I bathe. When they first appeared I thought it was a reaction to the water from our deep well, possibly contaminated after the floods brought on by Milenyo and all the other floods subsequent.
I’d been home a day after being released from the hospital. You’d think the hospital was a place to get well, but it’s really not. It’s a place where you wonder what tests and fees are covered by your health insurance and how much it’s going to cost you in the end after they’ve put you on antibiotics and iron vitamins, cleaned your guts out, put you under anaesthesia and stuck a pink needle through your veins for the intravenous–twice because they did it wrong the first time in the emergency room.
The emergency room nurse told me not to cry. It would raise my blood pressure and put me in more danger. She said this after saying she was so sorry, that the small mass of tissue that I had wrapped carefully in my daughter’s old gauze diapers was indeed the baby the ultrasound had detected just two days ago.
I knew even back at the house, while I sat in the shower washing my thighs and legs. After I had asked my husband to bring me the diapers, making sure that I had rinsed the hand that I held out through the shower curtains, not wanting him to see all the blood because I wanted him to be calm and composed and ready to take me to the hospital after the bleeding had subsided.
He was tiny. Barely recognizable, but I knew it was him. I caught him as the first rush escaped red running rivulets down my thighs. Did he finally give up, I thought, after six weeks of trying to survive in conditions which were not the best to house him.
There were medications the doctor prescribed, designed to help him hold on. I thought they were helping him, making me better so he could hold on. I took them for two days after the ultrasound reports said he had no heartbeat.
He had no heartbeat, the ultrasound had said. He was six weeks old and he did not have a heartbeat.
I had taken a pregnancy test again the day before that, just to be sure he was really there. He was there. Two lines on the pregancy test told me he was there. Just the day before I had started spotting. It happens, no cause for worry, spotting happens for several reasons, I read it on the Internet. There was no pain, no cause for worry. I had been under a lot of stress at the office, and with serious financial worries to boot.
I was forty three years old and it was the evening of Valentine’s day, just before we had settled down before bedtime, after a happy but tiring day at the mall celebrating our daughter’s third birthday. That was the first time I took the test. It was my valentine’s gift to my husband.
It explained the blemishes on the skin on my back and arms. Hormonal imbalance. Look Mahal, two lines on the tester. Maia’s going to be a big sister. You’re going to be a father again.