So, I got into a car accident. For those that are Facebook friends, you’ll know this. It happened last Tuesday at about 3pm. Busy main road in East Nashville, I was minding my own business, driving really safely, because my biggest fear has been exactly this: getting into a car wreck at 8 months pregnant. And then out of my peripheral vision I saw something silver coming at me and started chanting “No no no no no no no” and then a boom and then my car spun a few times. I actually did hear a voice in my head, my own really, but a calm version of me saying to myself, as things slowed down: “put your hands on the steering wheel, relax and then ask for an ambulance immediately.” The car stopped in the center of Gallatin Road. Not one damned car slowed down or stopped, they just moved around me and I remember thinking, “someone’s gonna hit me again.” But they didn’t and I put my window down, undid my seatbelt and hung my head to breathe. A woman at the corner yelled “are you ok?” and I yelled back “I think so, but I’m 8 months pregnant so call an ambulance.” I looked to my right, to my empty passenger seat, which had a sandwich and my purse on it but all that was spilled out all over the floor, bits of sandwich everywhere, my cell phone nowhere to be seen, my wallet, keys, journal, pens — strewn. I saw pink. The windows were covered in a pink goo that looked like silly putty or cotton candy and I realized that the air bags must have gone off. I thought: “pink…interesting”. I couldn’t see anything. I started to hyperventilate and hiccough/cry. The woman from the corner braved the fast-paced disinterested traffic and came over and said, “Honey, you ok? I’m a nurse.” She was older than me, a mother-like girth to her, comforting. I said, “I think I’m having a panic attack.” She said, “You’ll be fine. Just slow your breathing down.” A man came over. He was clearly the one who hit me as he approached me saying “I didn’t see you, I really didn’t see you, I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you.” I asked his name. Said “it’s ok. It happens.” He talked to the nurse. Another woman came over and was on the phone with 911. I closed my eyes and put my head back on the headrest.
I was unharmed. Nothing seemed hurt or broken or bleeding. No glass had been shattered. But I stayed in the car until the EMT’s arrived and when they did, and helped me out of the car, my knees buckled and they put me on a gurney and put me in the ambulance to take my vitals. While this was happening, a police officer took my statement, which was pretty much “I have no idea what happened. I just remember silver and then spinning.” And at that point, sharp pains jabbed me in my crotch, in my belly and I howled out. The EMT’s stabbed an IV into my left arm, put the lights and sirens on, asked me where I was delivering, and sped me toward that hospital. Somehow, they’d gotten my purse out of the car, handed me my phone and I texted my husband: “Urgent. car wreck. car totaled. they’re taking me to st. thomas”. I forgot to write: no blood. I think I’m ok but I’m not sure because they’ve just jabbed a needle in my arm and now are careening down the road at top speed with a siren so I’m not sure what’s going on. Poor guy.
I’ll just skip to the end: I’m fine and the baby is fine. I didn’t know this until 36 hours later, when my Ob/Gyn (her name is Dr. Storck. I kid you not) sees me in her office the day after they’ve released me from a 24 hour stay at the Natal Unit where, in a few weeks, I’ll be giving birth; where I didn’t sleep all night because they had to take vitals and, where they were concerned about the contractions I was feeling and they were seeing and had an ultrasound ordered and I was in pain from the needle in one arm from the IV and the other from the blood they kept taking to run tests, and from my hip and my back, and from the swollen belly contracting, and from the “Lightening Crotch” stabs happening from time to time and freaking me out and, lastly, from the uncomfortable bed. I’m fine. Baby is fine. But the 36 hours I waited to hear that was the scariest 36 hours I’ve had in a long, long time.
You see. This is not my first pregnancy and, although that’s a very very old story and one I don’t need to tell and I’ve worked hard on the grieving and the letting go of that story before I could create this story, in the back of my mind, sometimes, when I’m at my weakest, I have to do some seriously ninja-like spiritual warfare against the part of me that still clings to the old God who is not kind and is judgmental and shames and wags his big finger at me with lightening bolts of karma. So to have a car wreck at 8 months, you can imagine what kind of Medieval Torture Chamber my mind lived in for those 36 hours.
Prayer. Meditation. And people who love me who surround me in my worst times and remind me that I’m good. My friends showed up. Even when one of them was getting a pretty huge award that night, like East Nashvillian Of The Year kind of award, a huge deal, and another went to the ceremony and if I were them, I woulda high-tailed it to the nearest bar and celebrated with some cocktails (or, mock-tails in my case). But they came too. All dressed up and award in their hands. One came from her shift as a nurse at another hospital. Another came from work and brought homemade chocolate. Another texted in from a music conference. Then more texts, loads of them, actually from friends from family. My husband, who had gone to the wrong hospital originally and then somehow made it to me without his own high speed car wreck, had brought me a cupcake and held my face in his hands and we cried.
Angels. All of them. From the nurse — who I have mis-remembered her name as Precious, because it could have been Princess or Peony or Penelope, but in my mind, she’s Precious — who held my hand and told me to breathe. To the hospital nurse who threaded her fingers through my hair, brushing it out, matted from the ride over and coo’d at me to calm me down. To my girlfriends who showed up, made me laugh, told me raunchy stories. To my mother and my mother-in-law who called crying and so relieved. To my husband, a miracle in his own right, that we found each other, that we landed together, because if you knew either of us about 5 or 6 years ago, us being married with me pregnant was not what we were working towards. In the least.
To my personal Higher Power, who masquerades, depending upon the day, as my dog Flo, or Patti Smith, or my old mentor Julie Portman, who passed away, she’s in the river, covered in blue, dancing. To my Grandmother Roro, who smelled of talcum powder and Jean Nate, whose hands would softly rub my forehead. She may have been the voice I heard as the car spun around. She would have called me by the nickname she gave me and said, “It’s gonna be all right, Princess.”
So. Angels. All around. I’m ok. He’s ok. I’m almost 9 months pregnant. Since you know my age, you must have suspected, too, that this was no ordinary pregnancy. We needed a boost from science to help us with this one. And it took a few tries. And that was very tough (see earlier paragraph about Medieval Torture Chamber of Karmic Retribution). And on the day he was conceived (or placed, or turkey basted or however we’re gonna call it), there was a huge thunder and lightening storm as J and I drove to our Fertility Clinic for the ‘transfer’. We got there and the electricity went out. The back up generator kicked into gear. There was a problem with the embryo they were going to use, so we had to wait while they prepared another. I kept my meditation up, the Serenity Prayer over and over again like a tape loop in my head.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change….
And as they put me on the gurney and my feet were slid into the cold stirrups and the incredibly simple miracle of God and Science met, the power went out one more time and I laughed and said, “If this kid makes it, we’re gonna have to call it Daenerys Storm Born, girl or boy” (a Game of Thrones geeky reference). He came into being in a storm. And he made it. He got shook around in a storm last week. And he’s doing great and moving and kicking and keeping me up at night. He’s got his own angels, I think.
The nurses kept saying “You’ve got a wild one on your hands in there.”
I can’t wait.