I lost the baby. It was a freak occurence that I can't understand and probably never will. It was a four day ordeal that began on tuesday with my water breaking, leaving the baby in an amniotic sac devoid of any amniotic fluid for it to grow and flourish in. 17 weeks is much too early for the water to break, I was so confused (and still am). After consulting and being examined by many doctors, we had to come to terms with the fact that the pregnancy was no longer viable and that the baby was not going to survive. On thursday it was decided that I would be checked into Einstein Hospital in the Bronx. Of course it being New York City, I had to wait for a bed to be available. Having time to bide Hub and I decided to go into the City to wait for the doctor to call to tell us we had a bed. Hub attended his pre-scheduled business meeting and I decided to hang out in mid-town, do some window shopping to keep my mind off things. Fat chance. I immediately got a few pieces of chocolates from the Michel Cluizel chocolate boutique, which were probably delicious but I didn't have the heart to really enjoy. I dragged myself aimlessly on the streets of Fifth Avenue, until I decided that I should treat myself to a nice lunch. At first I thought I'd head up to The Plaza or Pierre, but those 6-8 city blocks uptown felt so far away, like an unendurable trek. And then I turned and saw an awning that spelled out "La Grenouille" standing out like a pristine mirage in my sweaty, gritty, unpleasant day. I opened the door and was greeted by french men in white dinner jackets bowing and welcoming me with "bonjour, madamoiselle". I was escorted to the bar where a lavish setting was laid out for me. Before settling in I excused myself for the Ladies room to "freshen up", and was politely directed by a dozen or so professional waiters. The bathroom was a miniature boudoir where I splashed some cool water on my face, applied a little lip gloss, and convinced myself to try and the enjoy the dining experience I was about to have.
When I returned to my seat, laid out for me at the bar was a small bowl of picholine olives, a larger bowl of housemade potato chips, and a small platter of almonds, as well as my perrier. Brian, the bartender, was a gentle and kind soul who was very supportive and effusive of my menu choices.
Despite the complete disorder and dismay and disarray I was feeling inside, this restaurant was like a balm. Like a soothing sedative. Everything was the way it should be, everything was beautiful, everything was pleasant, everything was in harmony. It was so transportive, I actually enjoyed my lunch. To begin with I had asparagus with poached egg on top, then I moved on to the gnocchi with fresh peas and ramps, and for dessert a cup of cafe au lait and a plate of tiny madeleines. It was all impeccable from the portion size to the vibrant colors of the veggies, to the rich and fresh flavors of the food. Brian was a soothing and calming presence in my day, and informed me that many people stop at La Grenouille before they get on a flight or go to the hospital.
As I was leaving the therapuetic confines of La Grenouille I got a call from Hub who told me that my room was ready for me at the hospital, and wham! I was back on the streets of New York and back to my bad dream. Well, it's enough to say that there was no more French food for me. The next 36 hours were as intense as I've ever experienced. I've had the weekend to gently recover with Hub serving as my loyal and loving nursemaid. The kiddles are at my in-laws, and I'm starting to process it all. I feel like I have no more tears left and that I'll never really understand why this happened. The baby (which was a boy) was healthy and thriving.
Hub, the medical and hospital staff really helped me through this ordeal. I feel enveloped by love and good wishes. The phone calls I've recieved from family and friends have also been so touching and let me know I am loved and cared about. That I have three healthy wonderful children is also a great comfort, but there is still emptiness and confusion and unredeemed maternal love . I can't forget or erase the presence of this little baby from my heart. I will be OK, regular life will continue, I will cook and bake and teach classes and make chocolate, write and do all the things I love doing- but something feels slightly altered in me.