Day Nineteen

October 20, 2008 at 1:17 am 5 comments

Breakfast consisted of oatmeal and sour milk, sometimes I was given a thin pancake with cheese.  Every day I ate potatoes mashed with water, no butter or salt, boiled chicken or pork unseasoned, bland soup with beets and carrots, a baked apple, weak black tea.  My friend snuck me in a box of chocolate truffles when she visited.  At night I’d take one piece from the box hid in the table next to my hospital bed underneath pieces of paper; emails from friends and family promising their prayers, fact sheets and information about Down syndrome.  I licked my fingers clean. 

I walked down to the water cooler to fill up my bucket.  I’d walk slowly, peeking into other rooms, watching moms coo at their healthy newborns, bouquets of bright vibrant flowers in glass vases in the corner.  Some mothers were watching television, passing time until they would pack up to go home.

Several times a day an orderly came to my room asking if I needed any fresh towels or a new bathrobe.  I was disoriented, unsure, I could not understand what she was saying.  I’d nod and go back to what I was doing.  Piles of towels and bathrobes were stacked in the corner of my room. 

My green threaded incision started to heal and my daughter struggled in her incubator.  She still could not breath on her own, therefore could not be held.  I resigned myself to sit next to her, my hand resting on her heel.

A few months after Zoya’s birth I remember waiting in my car in line at a gas station.  An old man with a red baseball cap was in front of me, pumping gas in his rusty blue truck.  Assumingly he had children, which meant that at one point ihe and his wife had a newborn.  That day I sat and watched the old gentlemen, amazed that he had made it through the very difficult task of sustaining a life.  Something so daunting to me at the time.

I ate, I walked, I sat by my new baby daughter, Polina, and I examined her.  Sergei and I took turns.  “Does she have Down syndrome?  She doesn’t, does she?  Wait, her eyes do slant a little bit.  But she doesn’t have a single crease in the palm or her hand?  She’s long, but her neck is a little thick.”

The fifth day after Polly’s birth I decided to take a walk outside.  Tentatively, I stepped out of my pajamas and tenderly pulled up my maternity jeans and a black t-shirt.  My mom and I moved slowly gazing up at the green trees, the large white hospital ominous in the background.  People walked down the street, on their way to work or to see a friend, an umbrella tucked under someone’s arm because there was a chance of rain.  I saw a mother step out into the sun, she looked on as her husband scrambled around her; baby in car seat put gingerly down at her feet, race to the car and slowly bring it up to the waiting new family.  I watched all three settle into their car and drive off to their life.  There I stood, in limbo, my arms empty, my middle aching.  A new mom, but not really.  


Entry filed under: 31 for 21, Always, Down syndrome, Grief, Kiev, Ukraine, white bathrobes.

Day Eighteen Day Twenty

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer  |  October 20, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Gillian, I love your writing. Thank you again for sharing your story. I look forward to your post every day.

  • 2. theramblinghousewife  |  October 20, 2008 at 1:56 am

    I haven’t been able to keep up with my favorite blogs as well as I would like. But tonight, I sat down, opened my reader and started at Day 1. I read each entry and I’m entirely caught up! 😉

    I must say that you are doing a wonderful job telling your story! I can’t wait to read more . . ..

  • 3. ukrainemom  |  October 20, 2008 at 2:08 am

    Thanks rambling! That means a lot.

    You guys are so sweet!

    It has been a great experience for me to rehash all of this.

    Stay tuned, hopefully soon it will be more uplifting.

  • 4. ccipuppyraiser  |  October 20, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I love these and I too look forward to them everyday!

  • 5. Sarah  |  October 20, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    How beautifully you are telling your story. I am so glad you are able to revisit those days and I am so glad you are sharing them with me.


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