I have a little story for you, the topic of which is something People Do Not Talk About. But even though we're all our own special snowflakes, most of our lives are not so different. And I am not not talking about it.
So, here goes.
Once upon a time something incredible happens, something completely unlikely and unexpected. Something that you learn, after researching, that there is a 1% chance of happening. You're now the 1%!
Say you find yourself exhausted while doing a green
smoothie cleanse and tired and nauseated for days after. You Google milk intolerance
and ulcer and tropical stomach diseases.
You decide you have an ulcer. H pylori. Who knows? You're going to call your doctor about this.
Before you do so, you run into your friend Meg, who lived in Mauritania and has had schistosomiasis and is thus your local expert on weird ailments.You describe your symptoms.
She suggests pregnancy. Have you taken a test? You fall on the ground laughing.
You stop at CVS and buy a box of three on your way to have your hair highlighted. You might as well rule it out.
You are sitting there, foils in hair, and realize you need to pee. So now's as good a time as any to just get it over with.
"Yes. Cannot talk. At the hair salon."
And then you freak out in your own little foil bubble for the next hour or so. You think about your age. You think about your plans. You think about how tired you already are, and how much the two children you have drive you crazy.
You think about a little toothless baby gumming the side of your face. Or nursing and then sleeping on you, all milk-drunk.
You go home and pee on another stick. Same. You tell your mother, who says, "How did this happen?!"
And you reply, "I cannot actually have this conversation with you."
You realize you have options. You have been staunchly pro-choice your entire life. You would support any woman in her choice to terminate. You think it's insane that anyone - particularly an aging white man on the Hill - would presume to make this kind of choice for another person.
And then, over the next couple days, you realize that actually, you're really excited. Even though you know from Internet research that at age 45 you are basically from District 12 here, and the odds are not ever in your favor.
You get an ultrasound. You hold your breath. There is a teeny tiny heartbeat! This makes you cry! But it, this bunch of cells, this wee maybe baby, is very small. You need to come back in a week.
So you spend another week making plans and taking inventory of stuff and waiting until you can stop holding in this secret that's flitting about inside you, just dying to leap out and sprinkle glitter everywhere.
You return in a week, which was yesterday.
The same lovely ultrasound tech puts the goop on your belly and turns on her machine and you do not see much of anything. Neither does she. She looks very hard. She looks and looks.
She finally says, "I'm so sorry. This isn't a viable pregnancy."
Your little potential human stopped growing sometime in the
past week and now just...isn't going to be.
You can choose to wait up to six weeks for it to go away on its own. You cannot imagine waiting. You can take medication, which should work the same day. Or you can have an operation. You choose door number two.
You cry all the way through your blood test, through canceling your upcoming appointment, through the waiting room, and then you sob hysterically all the way down M Street. When you tell your husband, he asks if people were looking at you and you say, "How would I know? I was crying too hard to notice."
Also, who fucking cares?
Your friend Meg sprints out of work and meets you and gives you a giant hug. She doesn't mind that she's walking down the street next to someone wailing like a banshee.
So door number two means putting four little pills into your ladybits and then waiting to expel the tissue. There will be nothing recognizable, they make sure you know.
The medication, upon examination, turns out to be something they use for ulcers. You find this a little funny.
A third child isn't something you were trying for, or something you ever thought possible, or even anything you would've said you wanted a month ago. At your age? Ha!
But you'd started to think that maybe you could luck into the 1%. That perhaps it was a gift, like when you met your husband seven years ago next week. The universe decided it was time to drop some unexpected joy on you.
But you also knew the terrible odds. So you tried not to get attached. (Because hahaha! you've always been great at not getting attached!)
You say over and over that know have an amazing family, one you did not think you would ever have, and you are so lucky, just the way you are. And adding another human would make everything far more complicated.
So why do you feel such a profound sense of loss? Why are you so devastated?