11-10-2003 @ 10:16 p.m.
Been AWOL lately.
I'm still debating about whether or not to go back on antidepressants this winter. I took them last winter and it was good, but I really didn't enjoy the process of going off them--it took about 10 weeks and I still ended up with dizziness and headaches. But I've been in a funk and I'm not sure if there's any other way to get rid of it. Damn that seasonal depression.
So, to go along with that funk, I found something I wrote 12 years ago when I was learning that I was infertile. The realization was painful and this thing I wrote is a little melodramatic, but it was a pretty good account of where I was at that time. It's almost difficult to remember feeling that bad.
My baby was dead. I thought I was pregnant, but the nurse came into the waiting room, full of burgeoning women and me, and said negative. They looked at me and asked me to leave with their looks of what? pity? contempt? jealousy?
I screamed into the parking lot and threw myself into the car. Gall was rising in my throat, blood rising in my face, slapping me from the inside. The first tears seared my eyes as they collected, then jumped to their deaths on my cheek.
The doctor lied. He said he pills would make me ovulate. He said that when I ovulated, I’d get pregnant. I ovulated.
Seven months isn’t long enough to worry about, he’d told me. But seven months had seemed like a prison term—my mountain that I had no faith to move. But Dr. Harris gave me faith in the form of blurry vision and hot flashes. Something’s happening, I told him. I’ve got headaches. I can barely see. My forehead sweats from the summer inside my body. Surely a baby would find this fertile ground.
My temperature changed on while we were on vacation. I kept my luscious secret deep inside, in a place I could hardly find myself. As I chatted with sisters and friends and parents, my ovaries were popping. We did our best to get sperm to egg.
I incubated my developing fetus. I saw it dividing—2, 4, 8, 16. It was on its way into my life and I would be there to help it along.
It traveled through my tubes so slowly—I felt it ever inch of the way and coaxed it into my waiting womb. I felt it implant and knew I would soon be hearing the long dreamt words you’re pregnant.
I told no one. Not even Ed. Finally I’d be able to surprise him. I’d get helium balloons in pink and blue. No, I’d send him a birthday card addressed to Daddy. No, I’d whisper it sweetly in his ear, early one morning. No, I’d write it on paper and hide it, then send him on a treasure hunt. I panicked—after all this time, how would I tell him? Surprise him? Delight him?
According to the calendar, I was 2 days late. Good enough for me. I called several clinics to find out who was doing free pregnancy tests that day, the day of Ed's birthday.
At 3:00, I slipped out of the office, hiding my sunglasses and car keys in my pocket so no one would realize I was leaving. I walked casually past my boss’s desk. Ha! I didn’t really care if he saw me—I was going to collect the good news.
My heart pulsed in my fingertips as I drove, carefully protecting my fetal package. At the clinic, I walked in blithely, barely noticing the room full of women. I peed in a cup, careful not to spill a drop, and waited for the nurse to confirm the presence of HCG in my sample. Confidently...hopefully....I looked at the bulletin board filled with babies’ pictures. One picture of twins caught my eye—maybe I felt two babies developing inside me. After all, I did take drugs known for producing twins.
I seemed unreal to me that while I was there, people at the office were obliviously writing and talking and working. That my life was on the verge of changing irrevocably was of no concern to them. How could they just work like that? My whole world was right here, right now, in the specimen cup.
Negative. So loud, the word ripped through the walls, crashed down the windows. Traffic stopped at the sound. The birds took flight at the hideous noise. The word rattled inside my head, bumping against my brain, laughing at me as I left the clinic. Eyes burned holes into the back of my head. I stopped a minute to look back at those women who had gobbled up all the fertility in this town and spat venom at them through my eyes. They were hateful people and I had to escape from them.
The birthday surprise I gave my husband was a wife who could hardly breathe. Nature’s cruelest trick—slathering me with hormones and stealing my self control when I need it the most. Vinegar welled up inside me.
I’d felt it. The tiny child had been there. The doctor had told me it would be there and it was. That nurse stole my child and killed it. I hated her. I loathed her. She dashed my hopes like laundry against river rocks.
I’m not pregnant. I have no baby. The waves crashed. The mountain grew. Faith waned. Another month. As I buried my face against Michael’s shoulder, I buried my baby in the graveyard in my mind. I knelt in the grass and cried over the gaping scar of earth. The tears didn’t stop. For years they didn’t stop. They flowed out of my body onto the ground, into the grave and over my baby’s body.
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