I thought I needed to hide from people and discussion of Heather's miscarriage, but I was reminded that I started blogging because I needed to talk myself through something that was-- even in lighter times-- pretty crummy. And while the only person who's really in it with me is Heather, there's only so long you can talk to the other person in pain about how crummy that pain is.
That was my first instinct after the ultrasound: no one can understand
or say anything that helps except for Heather, and the idea of sympathy
choked us. I texted people we're close to but specified that they
shouldn't respond. I couldn't stand to hear it. What else can anyone
say other than, "Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can
do?" And what else could we say other than "Thank you"? I told my
dad-- who e-mailed against my wishes-- that we would accept either $20,000
or cupcakes. Not surprisingly, it was the cupcakes that came through,
and, no, they didn't make me feel better. I mean, I totally ate them,
but I wish they'd been spiked with tranquilizers or babies.
Heather has done better. She was numb at first, and then philosophical.
Her stoicism was all the more valuable since, when we came home from
the ultrasound, her visiting cousin was sitting on the couch, waiting
for a field trip to the zoo. I refused to accommodate the social
situation, first hiding out, then sobbing openly on the couch in front
of Rebecca, while Heather said she really thought I should go with them
to the zoo. Fuck that. Rebecca was very lucky that Heather was
functional, and we were very lucky that it was Rebecca there instead of
some demonstrative whore who might have tried to hug us. No hugs.
(When I made it back to work, a couple close friends hugged me and I
immediately started crying, so it was for the best that I didn't give
many people the chance. I also skipped eyeliner and mascara; that
seemed like asking for disaster. If there was going to be an attempt at
comfort, it needed to be in the form of drugs or food.)
The trick to being a bleeding-heart liberal is that I am both completely
in support of a woman's right to choose and completely grieved at the
idea of women having to make that choice. The semantics of an embryo's
development aside, I can only say that what was inside Heather's uterus
was the holy grail of creation, for us, even if it only grew a little
bit. And I guess when you try so fucking hard to get any cells to
divide in the uterus, those cells are the most precious thing in the
world, and the pace and degree to which the cells divide becomes in some
ways the way you measure your happiness. We measured our happiness in a
small black blob's contents, so whatever happened to those contents
was, if not something actual scientists would describe as death, the
death of something both ephemeral and profound.
That's a lot of words, and a lot of hedging, but then again it's hard to
process how something that was supposed to be the size of a blueberry
was not the size of anything. Those cells fought to attach and grow,
and they just couldn't. The argument Heather makes, very reasonably and
kindly, is that the embryo was weak from the start and never grew at a
healthy rate, even with all the scientific manipulation money could buy.
So we've got a year of childless adventure ahead of us. Trips and junk food and occasional substance abuse. All the things we weren't supposed to do over the past few years. Fill the hole, fill the time. In a year, we'll do it all over again.