Her heart raced as she hurried out of the conference room. Sitting there for the past few minutes had taken every ounce of self-control she had. The pressure had been building and her mind screamed at her to get up, but she didn’t want to disrupt the meeting or call attention to herself. Anything but that.
Bent over, she hurried down the hall, hoping her stooped posture would help curb the release. The heaviness in her pelvis told her it was almost time, but she still hoped she could outrun the avalanche. Heart thudding, she walked as quickly as she could, heels muted by the vinyl flooring.
‘Where is the restroom?’ she wondered helplessly. It was coming. She couldn’t stop it. A few more precious seconds ticked by as she walked around – she saw a room number 228 – she had just seen that plaque ten seconds ago. Her heart sank – she was going around in circles.
As she hurried down the previously travelled hallway, she saw Mr. Lang, the man who had spoken at the meeting. Hearing steps behind him, Mr. Lang turned his head and she quickly ducked behind the wall, silently thanking God that she hadn’t stepped out into the open. She didn’t want anyone to see her. She knew what was about to happen and she couldn’t let anyone else in on that. Her own private hell.
Surreptitiously, she clung to the wall that hid her until she saw the slight Asian build disappear behind another square corner. Still doubled over, she dashed out but it was too late. The rush of blood ran down her leg, soaking her underwear and her pants leg. Desperately, she cupped the blood with her free hand but it was an exercise in futility. The blood dripped down her pants and through her cupped hand, leaving a trail of perfectly round dots in her wake. Mortified, she rushed for the first door she could find. STAIRS it said. Well, then she would take the stairs.
‘It’s a good thing I decided to wear black pants today’ she thought absently.
As she half-walked, half-ran down the stairs, she could feel the lump nestled in her soaked panties. It rubbed against her, but she resolutely closed her mind. She would deal with it when she got to the restroom. She had worked in this building for two years, but her department was housed on the second floor. The meeting today had been held on the fifth floor. Shouldn’t all the floors have the same layout? Where in God’s name was the restroom?
Through the glass opening in the door, her eyes caught a familiar sign – a man, woman and child holding hands – and she sighed in relief. Finally. Hands sticky with blood, she pulled the door, but it wouldn't open. She pulled it again. No luck. Frantic, she ran to the door on the other side of the stairwell and pulled that door. Locked. That was when she saw the sign ‘NO EXIT ON THIS FLOOR’. She cast a longing glance at the restroom…her salvation – so near, yet so far.
Reversing direction, she went back up the stairs. By this time, the blood in her hand had dripped out…one drop at a time, leaving behind a sticky residue. She refused to think about what that residue was. Thinking about the trail of blood she had left upstairs made her feel guilty for some reason. She mentally sent out an apology to the people who would have to clean that up. There was no way she could go back and do it. Thoughts of finding a restroom and removing her bundle gripped her. Everything else could take a backseat, including the questions:
‘God, why me?’
‘What have I done wrong, Lord?’
The questions would always be there. But, would she ever find the answers?
Finally, she spied a restroom on the first floor. Somehow, she had been able to make it there without attracting too much attention. Stoically, she pulled down her underwear and removed the bloody bundle – her unborn child. Critically, she examined it for signs of humanity…for signs of a defect. She saw none, but she knew what she held in her hands.
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…
Carefully wrapping the bundle in tissue, she said her goodbyes to what might have been and disposed of it the only way she could. She wished it had happened at home. She would have wrapped it in a little white towel and buried it with some dignity.
At the sink, she scrubbed her hands and tried to get the dried blood out from under her nails. A few traces remained but she left them. She took off her jacket – another fortuitous choice – and slung it around her hips, tying it in front. Then she picked up her purse and her notebook and walked out as normally as she could.
Spreading her jacket over the driver’s seat – no sense getting blood on everything – she got in and started her drive home. Still dry-eyed, she called her husband to tell him what had happened.
“Baby, are you alright?” his concerned voice asked. The sound of his voice broke the dam. Then the tears came. As she wept for what she had lost, one line ran through her mind:
Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
I wrote this story to address an issue dear to my heart - the agony of a miscarriage. I remember sharing the story of my second miscarriage with someone and she waved her hand dismissively and said "Oh, that was only 7 weeks so it's not a big deal."
NO! It was a big deal...and it is a big deal. So many times, people expect women to just brush things aside and move on and that's why I wrote this story with so much detail. Too much detail? Too much information? I don't think so. The woman in this story miscarried a very young fetus, but her pain and agony is the same as if she lost a 14-week or 24-week fetus.
For us women, from the moment we see that positive pee test, we don't think 'Oh, I have a mass of undifferentiated cells growing inside me'. No. We think 'I'm going to have a baby.' We imagine a little boy or little girl, smiling, cooing, growing...
I know miscarriages are pretty common and I know several women who have experienced this same heartbreaking loss. I wrote this story for them...for anyone who is waiting to get pregnant. Through all the pain, remember this...God is still God. And He is still good. I always use my experience as an example...if God could bless me with two beautiful children - after everything - He can do the same and more for you.
Trust God and Him alone. Don't let anyone rob you of your right to grieve, but after you do, look up and see hope.
Yours in Him - Onyih Odunze
Please share your thoughts on this story - I would love to hear them. Thank you for reading.