Everyone has their own form of catharsis, a way to unwind at the end of a long day, to process options before making decisions, to explore emotions that don’t quite make sense. Mine is in words, in reading or in writing – letters on a page always, but always brings some kind of closure.
When we lost the heartbeat and the nurses rushed in, it all blurred…my reality left. There was going to be no hypnobreathing on any pilates ball..no husband cutting the cord. Instead, metal and a the second trolley with an ominously surgical green sheet covering it; my husband, so calm, so reassuring ’til I looked in his eyes; the head nurse demanding to know where the doctor was – the Turkish strangely comprehensive: the strangled voice that seemed to be coming from me, screaming our baby’s name…ordering him to wake up.
We’d wanted to save the umbilical cord blood; freeze its stem cells. After all, you never know what’s ahead. Breakthroughs in science and medicine may well be miracles accredited to doctors, scientists – and well they should – but the essence of those breakthroughs, the strides we make in moving forward to cures and preventions; can we really be presumptuous enough to believe that humans make these breakthroughs guidance free? Nothing happens without a purpose, and if something potentially life saving is there for you to take, wouldn’t you be a fool to reject it? The blood from MKs cord was taken a few hours after his birth, collected from our hospital room and sent via charter flight to a hospital storage facility where they’d extract the cells one by one, cryopreserve them for use by M only. Only the cord yielded too little blood to collect cells from; not enough to warrant saving.
When you’re facing a situation where it’s your baby’s life on the line, you don’t ask for reasons why. When G told me the hospital had failed to store the stem cells, that the cord hadn’t enough blood, I already knew. Medical advances or not, our anatomy is designed for specific purposes. The umbilical cord brings new life. Ours had done its job, used up its stem cells; saved his life.
Catharism comes in different ways. Sometimes it’s time passing, sometimes its the writing of it down, and at others it’s a reminder that things could have been so very very different from how they were. When we checked out of the hospital we managed to leave behind ink footprints made when Mk was seconds old. Going back to collect this print, our doctor was in an emergency c-section op for a baby far too young to be born. Stem cells, shmemcells. It’s out of our hands.