When the “Frontline” was at Home
“Zoey, Honey, you’ve got to stay in there, baby...” Those words ripped through my ear drums and straight through my heart like a precision guided arrow. I’ve spent almost 17 years in emergency services. Every first responder ends up carrying the burden of many a stranger’s tragedy. Graphic images and the sounds of hysterical mothers, fathers, daughters and sons suffering through the worst moments of their lives reverberate through my head from time to time. It’s the dark side of what we as professionals signed up for and I take pride in being able to carry the weight. However those words.... I remember them more clearly than I care to. It was about 5 years ago. We responded to a call of a woman having pregnancy issues. As soon as my crew and I walked into the well manicured craftsman style home, we could hear that someone was clearly in extreme pain. When we walked past the bathroom and saw the large amount of blood in the toilet, every person on the crew knew what was happening. We approached the young woman who was doubled over in agonizing pain, and began to treat her. She was barely able to answer our questions as she could only focus on what was clearly happening. The sobbing and pleading was nothing short of heart wrenching. She asked us questions she and we knew the answers to. “This isn’t a miscarriage, right?” “The baby is ok, right?” We did our best to answer in a manner that assured her that we’d rapidly get her to the hospital ASAP to ensure that she and the baby would receive the best treatment possible. We gingerly carried her out of her room and ever so carefully placed her on the gurney. As she squirmed in anguish, she said what I will never forget. It was the combination of words coupled with the pleading and begging tone that is only heard when a human being is experiencing the most profound form of loss. “Zoey honey, you gotta stay in there baby...... please.” I still feel a cold sense of emptiness consume my body when I think of it to this day. It was a horrifying reminder of what the true sound of pain is. Not a physical pain. The pain of knowing that a hellish nightmare is imminent. The realization that this little life that you’ve worked so hard to create, and vowed to protect with your life is inexplicably being taken from you, and you’re powerless to intervene. It was the harshest possible agony manifested in a feeble plea for mercy against a cold hearted reality that is incapable providing leniency. In that moment my heart filled with a deep sorrow for this young couple, and my entire body was gripped by fear.
You see, Kim was pregnant for the 1st time when this occurred. Little did I know, we’d be begging in a similar manner as the light of our hopes were soon to be snuffed out with no explanation or reasoning only a few weeks after this particular evening. As I’ve began to follow more and more people on social media who have experienced this horrid event in their lives, I’ve read the recounts of their experiences. Some in great detail. It was then that I realized that I had buried a lot of the thoughts and memories of this particular call deep in my subconscious. It is a brutal reminder that there’s no rhyme or reason in this world of 1 in 4. The gravity this brand of sorrow brings forth is every person’s burden to bear. Every human is entitled to dealing with it in their own way. Thankfully, another fact I’ve learned and am bearing witness to is the resolve of the masses to succeed no matter what. I am humbled and excited to see that so many people are willing to share their heartbreaking stories. There’s comfort in knowing that so many of us are on the same side fighting the exact same war. In some strange way, we’re all allies against a faceless enemy. I’ve posted this thought on social media, and I mean it whole heartedly. If anyone who is struggling wants to have a conversation about any of it, please reach out if you feel as though it will help. It’s unfortunately an often traveled road, but there is no shortage of helping hands to grasp in your time of need.