5.30.2008

Dear Craig:

I know you’ll frown at Wednesday’s post, what with your patience being what it is, your being able to see the good in everything (in this case, how the waiting equals fun baby-making). Or perhaps it’s just, being the husband that you are (which is a perfect one), you’ve mastered how to say just the thing that will console me. But you know how I am with wanting: what I want, I want immediately, so Wednesday’s waste of time post was mostly just a moment of self-pity, of petulance. After all, I know that there is love. That people wait much longer for it (and for a baby) than we ever had to (or hope to).

I wanted to see our loss, our planning, the way you did, which is why this morning I go crazy looking through our stacks for a book of Sharon Olds poems. And they are all here at home except the one I need, The Wellspring. I know which poem I am looking for and I am mad it isn’t in its place. This is why I like to keep the poetry at home rather than the office. I know I’ll be in desperate need of some at one point or another.

The wellspring today becomes the Internet, where I finally find “The Planned Child,” a poem I read in graduate school that always stayed with me, it seems prophetically, and that speaks for the baby that will come: soon enough, soon enough:

“I hated the fact that they had planned me, she had taken
a cardboard out of his shirt from the laundry
as if sliding the backbone up out of his body,
and made a chart of the month and put
her temperature on it, rising and falling,
to know the day to make me – I would have
liked to have been conceived in heat,
in haste, by mistake, in love, in sex,
not on cardboard, the little x on the
rising line that did not fall again.

But when a friend was pouring wine
and said that I seem to have been a child who had been wanted,
I took the wine against my lips
as if my mouth were moving along
that valved wall in my mother’s body, she was
bearing down, and then breathing from the mask, and then
bearing down, pressing me out into
the world that was not enough for her without me in it,
not the moon, the sun, Orion
cartwheeling across the dark, not
the earth, the sea – none of it
was enough, for her, without me.”

Forever and ever,
L

The Cake Is a Lie

I joined the Daring Bakers in May: talk about bad timing. I managed to post on time, today on my personal home blog, even just days after a miscarriage, if only because a part of me hoped baking the opera cake would be like something out of the novel Like Water for Chocolate. You know? The one where Tita’s pouring of tears into a pot of ox-tail soup turns the broth into a miracle elixir that heals her every illness, where cooking is a magic trick or something wonderful like that. So there I was separating eggs, food processing almond meal, and glazing white chocolate while hoping my life would turn into a Latin American magical realism novel, where a tear dropped in the mix makes a cake become a flower.

But this is fiction. In real life, your cake is only flour and sugar and the product is much sweeter than your heart, at least for now. If the challenge was therapeutic it was in its reminding me that life is for the living: that cakes still have to be baked, laundry still has to be folded, papers graded. That the fat lady has yet to sing.

The Wait

More than anything, losing our first pregnancy seems like a waste of time. We must now wait at least until a healthy period comes and goes next month, if it comes next month.

We must wait and see if after that period, we can pinpoint ovulation and get conception right that first month ’round: 2 days, give or take. That’s the short window of opportunity: it’s a miracle anyone gets pregnant in the first place.

Then there are the anxious weeks ridiculously waiting to pee on a stick. And more weeks for official test results, which may or may not tell us, this time, what we hope to hear.

When we get it right, when the time comes, I’ll be buying this onesie. Because the wait, having known that had all gone well the first time we’d already be tens of weeks in will be grueling, but I know the outcome, whenever it happens, will be precious.

The Newlywed 10

I’m actually looking forward to this “Newlywed 10” my last issue of Modern Bride talked about. It’s almost three months since my wedding and the scale still lingers somewhere around 112 lbs, which at 5’7, ” according to this chart, makes me “underweight.”

I ignored Dr. S at my pap smear last year when he uttered “starvation mode,” but after our miscarriage, I wonder if fat (or lack thereof), of all things, somehow betrayed me.

I’m putting the rest of my eggs (pun intended) in the University of South Carolina study basket that says “ninety percent of underweight women who had previously been unable to conceive managed to become pregnant when they reached their ideal weight,” even though conception itself was not the issue. I’ll take hope, and ten more pounds, wherever I can get them.

Always

I haven’t used maxi pads in…well, over a decade, if not longer.

Last Thursday, expecting the worse, we brought home plenty of them. Things never got terribly bad, but adding insult to injury, those pads still succeeded in making me feel like an awkward 14 year old all over again.

5.23.2008

Dear Craig:

Well, it’s official now, isn’t it? A week ago we were pregnant, but today now not so much. I know you were hoping against hope — your heart even prayed a little, I think, even if the rest of you doesn’t even believe. Your scientist’s mind wanted the math on our side, but the numbers, in the end, didn’t lie (and I know this is little consolation).

There is no longer a blastocyst, an embryo, whatever: dare I call it a baby? The other day, when you pressed your mouth against me and spoke, we thought something was inside us. Perhaps even by then, it was no longer there. But still you spoke (a bit too high I think, more to digesting Twizzlers and a latte maybe, but just as sweetly as if it hadn’t been my stomach). I loved it anyway, and your optimism, wherever it may flow from. It is the thing that keeps me sane through this. And the jokes, too, which is why I find calling what has happened a way “to clean all the cobwebs out from down there” altogether funny and not at all offensive. That’s how it goes in this house: a little humor goes a long way.

We are all disappointed, I know, even the funny furry one. But we have each other. Today is probably the saddest day of my life. The day I married you was the happiest. I choose the happiest.

Forever and ever,
L

31

I’m not surprised when Sallie the lab tech calls with this new hCG number: 31.

I’m not surprised, but my heart still breaks, because a number that low, a number not the double of the last, 59, even in the face of conception, healthy endometrial lining and a solid progesterone count can only mean one thing and that is this: that this pregnancy will not be viable.

And it is not. By the evening, miscarriage begins.

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