My 아빠 (dad), 이 상 덕 (Sang Duk Lee), drove really fast. It wasn’t like he did it in a sports car, but he drove at high speed no matter if he drove our family’s ginormous Dodge camper van or economical Toyota Cressida. Despite accumulating a mountain of speeding tickets whose expense exasperated my frugal mom to no end, he drove as if he couldn’t wait another moment to get somewhere, or perhaps instead to run away from something unspeakable.
A scream of familiar heartbreak shattered my slumber. Blinking into consciousness, my body froze in dread as Jennifer repeated, “Oh no, oh no, oh no.” Twice in the preceding two years, I heard these exact sounds from Jennifer when we improbably lost Rohan at 19 weeks and Nadia at 22 weeks into pregnancy. Wrenching upwards my reluctant body to the bathroom, Jennifer held out bathroom tissue soaked with bright red blood just as she had done so the year before.
Entangled in a recurring nightmare, we went through the motions to go to the hospital while despairing to say goodbye to our baby at 17 weeks into this pregnancy. In the taxi, we silently held hands and I flashed back to the still moment when the doctor told us solemnly that Rohan had no heartbeat. My floating body also returned to when the doctor told us that Nadia was still alive, but they could not save her as she was coming too soon. I kept thinking, “This again?” Weeping and holding a dead baby in our arms as we feel the body grow cold. Calling our parents and loved ones. Struggling with Jennifer in an avalanche of heartache, shame, anger, and guilt. Going to a funeral home to make arrangements for our baby’s remains and being recognized by the funeral home director. I wondered how will we survive this?
At the hospital, an ER obstetrician examined Jennifer and we waited with bated breath for the bad news. The doctor’s probing hand came away bloody, but as if letting us in on a forbidden desire, the doctor told us quietly that the bleeding had stopped, and that Jennifer and the baby might be okay. Stunned, we held each other as Jennifer repeated, “The baby might be okay. The baby might be okay.”Continue reading