Yesterday was hard.
Last night was tough.
This morning was impossible.
I went to the chapel of Perpetual Adoration after dropping off both children. I picked up the Rosary my cousin gave to my daughter- Senior Bennie's Rosary from Malta, blessed and ready to work a miracle. The smooth wooden beads in my tepid fingers, I kneeled, bowed, and prayed those forty three Hail Marys as the minutes ticked by.
Finishing the Rosary, I looked at the card beside me- realizing I had forgotten a prayer or two- started again, reading the prayers whose words had left me long ago.
The silence gathered around me and I found myself trying to be busy with a box of nothing. Lunch with my sister-in-law and an abundance of text messages bouncing around through the tribe scattered from DC to Georgia.
Updates? Fears? Pits? Pains? Worries? Blessings? Prayers? We confessed it 140 characters at a time and shared amongst an intimate seven cell phones.
It is hard to explain what was going to happen once those operating doors swung open. She was a "VIP case" and over twenty doctors would be in the OR to observe her surgery; more in the observatory.
And then pick up here
This warrior was not going to make it. He wasn't there in the beginning. And then, suddenly- at the eleventh hour, with the D and C in the wings-- he was. Then, she hemorrhaged. And again. And a third time.
An ambulance ride to the hospital.
A second ambulance ride to the hospital.
Bedrest + eight weeks in the hospital.
A planned hysterectomy to save her life.
All of this to lead us to today-- this day. This day with an anticipated eleven hour surgery and a baby heading to the NICU, 34 weeks gestation... six weeks premature. A gynecological oncologist to remove her womb and detach the placenta from her bladder.
Because the placenta had gone through her uterine wall and attached its tentacles around her bladder. That was a known fact. 57 high definition ultrasound images confirmed this. Weekly ultrasounds in the hospital continued to show this as the truth.
But the truth is funny. And it is not always black and white-- like an ultrasound is.
Saying my Hail Marys this morning, I was one of many. One of so many people who know this woman and those who only know her through my meager words. Sometimes, words are not enough.
But prayers are.
Aunt Betty, in Alabama, messaged me with her phone number and I promptly called her- having my phone glued to my hand all day.
Mama Bits delivered a healthy five pound seven ounce bouncing pink baby boy- full of life, lungs full of air as he made those first screams.
As the twenty something doctors looked on at my friend splayed open on the table, there was something that could not be missed. That placenta... that placenta that kept Warrior alive and put Mama Bits' life at absolute risk. The placenta that led her to have her Last Rites performed and inspired this reformed Catholic to pull out a Rosary. That placenta was where it should be... fully in tact inside her fully in tact uterus.
I like to imagine that the doctor smiled, her husband kissed her forehead and those new parents of four sobbed happily, overwhelmed with the emotion of the moment. I like to think the twenty something doctors cheered- and were they not sterilized- high fived each other. This is all in my imagination, but it is how I paint that moment in my head.
For the past 18 months, we have hoped for our friend. We have been with our friend. We have prayed for our friend. But, sometimes having hope is not enough. You never know what the Bigger Hand has up his sleeve- and he had a trick or two left in that operating room this morning.
Thank you for letting me openly sob with an almost stranger in Alabama. Thank you for her family, her children, her doctors, and for her. For her faith. Her love. Her strength. Thank you for you. Strangers and friends. Thank you. I am humbled. Eternally, I am humbled.
I talked to Mama Bits' mother after speaking to Aunt Betty and I admitted that I had not prayed a Rosary in many, many years. Her response? "You won't be so shy about it next time, will you?"
You're absolutely right, I will not.