I dreamed terrible things last night.
I think I was at a picnic. I know I was somewhere outdoors. I began to bleed. Because I'm past 17 weeks now, I didn't worry at first, but then I began to cramp. I felt dread creeping in, and I shoved it down and ignored it. After the third bout of finding blood with worsening cramps, I admitted that something was dreadfully wrong, and I called my midwife, Jackie.
Suddenly, Jackie was there at the picnic with me, and she told me that she needed to examine me right away. She wanted to check for a heartbeat. She told me that her backup physician's office was closer to us than her birthing center, so we began to go there. I think we walked. On the way, she asked me questions.
"When's the last time you felt the baby move?" I haven't felt the baby move at all, and in my dream, I realized that this should have worried me. I should have been worried long before now not to have felt the baby. In real life, this would not be cause to worry. Just so you know.
"When's the last time you had caffeine?"
"This morning," I told her. Her expression changed to alarm and shock, and I began defending myself. "But I only had like half a cup," I pleaded, "And I never have more than one cup in a day." I felt a knowledge that the caffeine had poisoned my baby. Jackie's disapproval and judgment confirmed it. I slipped into a denial and began shouting the facts that I know: Nobody knows how much caffeine is too much, and most experts agree that a cup a day or less should not hurt the baby. Jackie just watched me, then disappeared. I was at the doctor's office.
I went in and explained to the doctor who I was. He led me into a glass-walled exam room, put me on the table and in stirrups, and two interns came in. They looked like rednecks, hard day laborers, rather than physician interns. The doctor told them they should leave. He explained to me that we'd need to wait for Jackie so she could examine me. The interns protested, so I sat up, looked the beefy one in the eye, and said, "I don't want you in my room for this exam. Get. Out." The doctor looked smug and justified, and the interns left, all dejected.
I removed myself from the bed and stirrups while I waited for Jackie, and people began pouring into the room. The doctor and all the visitors were watching a Discovery Channel show about flowers. I wanted them to get out. By the time Jackie arrived, 20 or 30 people lined the couches, chairs, floors and walls, and more poured in by the minute.
Jackie looked at me and said, "I think the baby stopped growing. You should be showing more by now."
"But I AM showing," I yelled, "Look at this," and I pulled up my shirt. "The fat is covering my baby, but I'm showing, I swear." And then we sat on the couch and talked, and I woke up never knowing whether I'd killed my baby with coffee or whether my baby was dead at all.
I woke Mark and said, "I had a horrible nightmare. I dreamed I was bleeding, and I think the baby was dead."
He rolled over and opened his arms and said, "Come here, Baby," and he cradled me until I fell asleep again.