Wednesday, January 20, 2016
it was a baby to me
God, it's hard to write that out. I've been avoiding that sentence since I first had to utter it, last summer. We had just told our families the week before and felt the joy of fulfilled anticipation and then I had my first ultrasound and then, and then, the ultrasound was empty. My blood counts started dropping, and within a week of that ultrasound I was in surgery, because even though there was no baby my body wouldn't let the pregnancy go.
As it turns out, there was never any baby, not at any point. This is what they tell me. Like some excerpt from a terribly written science-fiction novel I learned that my body was pregnant, but it was pregnant with a nothing. Six weeks in the nothing stopped growing, but my body stayed pregnant. Seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks along. Only I wasn't along.
One of Nature's crueler jokes, as it turns out, is something called a blighted ovum (or anembryonic pregnancy). Everything goes according to plan except that whole part of the process where a baby is made. Common, I've learned. Heartbreaking, too. I am not mourning the loss of a baby, but the loss of an idea. So I got the positive tests and the spiked blood counts and the growing uterus with stuff inside it and the weight-gain and the INSATIABLE HUNGER and the bigger clothes and the announcements and the planning and appointments and no baby.
But nobody died.
Nobody died. I pierced myself on this double-edged sword for a long time, and I'm probably still on it. On the one hand, that there was no loss of life is a blessing. It's a good thing, isn't it? Nobody died. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child at any stage past conception is survivable, and had somebody died, well, that would have been much worse. My grief over the loss felt and feels like cheating, because there was, not really, a loss.
On the other hand, I lost something. As it was explained to me, the positive sign on that pregnancy test immediately changes the lens on your whole life. Now everywhere you look, you see life through the lens of having a child. When you miscarry, it's as if the lens is stolen away, and without warning or preparation, you just have to deal with the sudden change of vision. Every time you encounter a view you haven't yet looked at through this scope, you have to adjust yourself. It takes awhile. That while and that adjustment hurts.
We are well into what would have been my third trimester. And I'm still sad. By instinct and without thinking I can tell you how far along I am, or would have been. Maybe not by week, because it would be too sad to count the weeks. But, generally. Generally, and also somehow quite acutely, I know. It's there like gravity, it never leaves. I wake up and fall asleep with the knowledge that I'm not adjusting my posture and I don't have any trouble standing up and I haven't had to pee in rather a normal amount of time. I'm back into my pre-no-baby jeans and I'm working myself up to run a 10k in the spring. And I wish I wasn't.