Ancient History

Follow Me?


in media res

I first suspected I was pregnant while we were at Sea World. We were gliding past a horde of penguins on a crowd-moving conveyor belt, watching it snow behind glass. Several different species rocketed through the water together. Some stood on rocks, looking bored. I was doing math in my head.

When we got home from our trip, I walked into the house, went to the bathroom, and took a test. It was positive and I said something akin to “golly!” An hour later I was scurrying asthmatic Tommy to the ER. I kept the news to myself for several days. I had to turn this new development over and over in my mind. You see, I wasn’t entirely happy.

Less than a year ago I gave birth to Beatrix via emergency c-section due to cord prolapse—her life was in immediate danger. My recovery was horrendously painful and hallmarked by complications. My incision became infected, which led to antibiotics, which led to thrush in both of us, which led to the deterioration of our nursing relationship because I literally howled and cried at every feeding. Even after the thrush was finally booted, nursing was never the same.

After I told my husband, we agreed to keep it to ourselves until at least the first ultrasound. I ended up annoucing it on a forum for moms of many and to a few local friends I do a summer Bible study with. Nobody else knew. My symptoms were and still are very sporadic and light. I simply wasn’t confident that anything good was happening inside—and I have the authority and history of eight previous confirmed pregnancies to back up my suspicions. Despite my initial unhappiness and my worries, I had hope. I was allowing myself to see into the future, glimpsing a deep-winter birth.

The baby would smile about the same time the tulips begin to yawn in their underground beds, awakening and arching up and out, but barely.

I liked it. I loved it.

And then I saw nobody where there should have been a somebody.

And just like that, everything swirls together—shuffling penguins and a long airplane ride and two pink lines and an emergency room and restless sleep and a heart racing and blushing and telling and hugging and praying and wondering and worrying and dreaming and fatigue and ketchup craving and fireworks and birthdays and praying and telling and hugging and hoping and dreaming and driving and parking and riding an elevator and sitting and tapping and following and laying and watching a screen.

And then telling. Again.

In media res. The story isn’t over.

14 comments to in media res

  • Could it be that you were just early for the ultrasound? I am looking for your email so I can email you…..

  • Oh Mopsy, I am so sorry, again.

    Hugs and prayers, and deep sympathy. My heart aches.

  • mopsy

    Rach, no.

    I don’t want to get too detailed here, but I found out I was pregnant over a month ago, and that was *after* my very special monthly pal was due. So I should have seen someone resembling at least a Teddy Graham by now.

    You can email me at

    mopsy dot lifenut at gmail dot com

  • Starr

    Gretchen – golly. sad golly. Know it’s my priviledge to know you and walk hand in hand with you IRL and hug and cry and pray and see your eloquence in response to this crisis. Yet you believe and you can’t help but tell. Love you, Mopsy.

  • ben

    You have such a huge heart to shoulder, stomach, carry this pain. In the midst of it you write so beautifully. I hurt for you and somehow I feel more alive.

  • Julana

    We’re always “in media res” here.
    I’m sorry for your pain, but glad the story doesn’t end with it.
    I pray you are comforted.

  • Oh boy. Sometimes ambivalent heartbreaks are the hardest kind. What an ache. I always admire your faith.

  • You write so beautifully the hurt and desire in your heart… I am thinking of you.


  • Jennifer

    I’m sorry.

    About your concerns . . . Though no c-section is the same, I’d have to say (after having 4) the first is the hardest. Feel free to e-mail me now or in the future for more information.

  • Gretchen, I had no idea your recovery after Beatrix was so rough. Thrush is a bugger.

    Again, I am so sorry. I admire you writing about your heartache in the midst of it. Hugs Gretchen.

  • Rae

    Oh, Gretchen, I hear you. I’m sorry. I’m praying for you.

  • If I were there I’d give you the biggest of hugs and tell you how sorry I am. You’re in my prayers.

  • Jenn

    Oh Gretchen I’m so sorry. 🙁 Many hugs go out to you and your’s.

    We’re in Tennessee right now, but as soon as we get back (we’ll be home 8/7), I’ll give you a call. I hear a get-together breakfast calling… hopefully soon.

    Love you.


  • Oh, Gretchen. I’m so sorry. So very, very sorry.

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