After a wonderful long weekend with Doug in downtown Chicago and a delightful (very full!) day on North Park’s campus, I was exhausted but joyful as I headed out the door of a nearby coffee shop with a young woman I had just met (thanks to this blog) the hour before. It was raining and dark, and she was heading to the bus stop across the street to return home to Humboldt Park. I needed to walk the few blocks back to my host home, and we were laughing and chatting about being ill-prepared for the rain. As we stepped into the crosswalk, with the light, I saw a white taxi cab heading North on Kimball begin to turn in our direction. I assumed he planned to stop before he got to us but that was not the case. Claiming later that he did not see us, he struck me first, throwing me to the ground, and then hitting Rebecca.
A kind woman immediately stopped her car and told us that she was calling 911. The cab driver stopped as well, apologizing profusely. I got up right away from the ground but I was very concerned for Rebecca who was still down. She said she was okay, but we both knew that we needed to get checked out. I remembering just standing there, in the rain, saying to whoever was listening: “I’m pregnant. I’m pregnant.”
Very quickly an unmarked car pulled up and two guys stepped out and started barking orders and talking in radios. Suddenly a blue light was flashing inside their car, and they ushered me to their back seat. Now, earlier in the day it had probably come up four or five times that I have my set of fears and suspicions concerning the Chicago Police Department. As I crawled into the back seat of some men who I hoped were Chicago cops, I was struck by the irony.
Fortunately I had my host’s phone number in my bag, and as soon as I told Bob what had happened he said he would be right there. He arrived moments later and stayed by my side for the next two hours as Rebecca and I were transported to Swedish Covenant in an ambulance, and for the duration of my time there. He very gently prayed for me in the ER, as did Rebecca in the back of the ambulance, and I was so grateful for the love shown by these two people. I also managed a phone call home to my sister who was watching our kids while Doug was at his “Job and Human Suffering” class at Fuller. She got a hold of Doug and he called me back in tears. Having just walked through the very dark place of facing the loss of our baby six weeks ago, neither of us had much reserve to handle that prospect once again.
The pains in my stomach were terrifying for me. When the doctor started the ultrasound, I was relieved to see our little one moving, heart beating, and to hear her say that she could not see any damage anywhere. As she concluded the ultrasound, she said to me that she didn’t see any need to do a CT at this point, and she didn’t want to expose the baby to that high level of radiation unless necessary. “You are only at eighteen weeks. If you were a little further along, we would send you upstairs and monitor the baby for an hour or so with the external fetal monitor.” Then she looked at me, and I could see on her face that she was going to say Those Words: “But, since the baby is not yet viable, there would really be no reason to do that since there would be nothing we could do.”
Right after I found out I was pregnant this time, I spoke at Pasadena Covenant Church during their Sunday worship. A family introduced themselves to me afterwards, and I learned that the man was Todd Johnson, a new professor of worship and theology at Fuller who had previously taught at North Park. I had heard such great things about him from some friends, and I was pleased to meet him and his wife and kids. When I told them that Doug and I were expecting our third child, he did something strange: he spoke a blessing over the tiny little baby in my womb. He commented that the church doesn’t do anything to recognize the new life of babies until once they have been born and he said that this can be a great cause of grief for women who lose their babies for whatever reason before they are born. He blessed my little one with words that spoke to what I as the mother already knew to be true: this child is a gift of God; this child is a new creation; this child is beloved. This was before hernias and surgeries and taxi cabs, but how his simple act of offering that blessing has been present to me as we have passed through these dark places.
I am home now, much sorer than I ever would have imagined being as a result of being struck. I can hardly walk and sitting is painful, and we are scheduled to visit our OB tomorrow morning just to check again on our little one. I know that I have much to praise God for in terms of all that he did NOT permit to happen on Tuesday night. But I am feeling a bit down and discouraged nonetheless. As I said to Doug: “This is starting to feel personal.”
I haven’t heard back from my blogging friend, Rebecca, so I am hoping and praying for her wellness, and every time I move with pain I am reminded that she is likely feeling much the same right now. I am thrilled to be back home with my precious kiddos, and I will take the time later today or tomorrow to reflect more on my time at North Park. The day was rich with conversations with students and opportunities to reconnect with people who were dear to me when I lived there, and yes, Scot, I think I did drink close to ten cups of coffee that day!