It’s September and I should be 35 weeks pregnant. We should be putting the finishing touches on the nursery. I should be waddling like a penguin. My husband should be figuring out how to put a car seat in our vehicle.
If I was still going to a counselor, she’d probably say something about living for the future and moving on from the past. She’d probably tell me it’s time to let go of the “should have.” I know this. My head knows this. But wherever it is that rage, and anger, and anxiety live – that part of me doesn’t know it. That part of me sees October 29 speeding toward me. I am about to be in a head on collision with my due date and there is no way around it.
I wish Hallmark made cards for times like this. I should write them and tell them to nestle a section in near the sympathy cards. The marker could say something like, “Remembering Estimated Due Dates.” The cards would have stars and moons and say things like “Today probably hurts more than childbirth. I’m sorry.”
My favorite time of day is the five seconds between when I wake up and when my brain becomes aware of reality. If I’m lucky, I’ll make it to ten seconds before the haze of what the day will hold lifts and I’m wide awake with the choice to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling, or get up, pull myself together and get on with the day.
It’s been just a few days since we found out that the baby had no heartbeat; three days to be exact. When I asked my husband how long he thought it would take for us to start to feel better he said, “Well, I use the rule of 1 day for every month you were involved.” According to his theory, we’d feel better today.
I guess I feel better than I have for the past two days. Using tears as a marker, I cried only once today and it wasn’t a heaving, sobbing, snot running out of my nose cry. It was a much more subtle misty-eyed cry, a cry of acceptance that life goes on and so we must as well.
I decided to take advantage of my employer’s participation in a program that provides psychological counseling free of charge up to six times a year. I called to make the appointment and it was the first time I used the word ‘miscarriage’ in reference to myself. It was painful to say and even more painful to try to explain that I hadn’t yet had a miscarriage but was going to in the near future. “No, I’m not worried it’s going to happen. It IS going to happen.” Sigh.
Sitting on the psychologist’s couch I had two realizations: One–I am in the wrong profession. This woman sat with me for an hour as I iterated my innermost feelings, frustrations, and fears. She asked about four questions in the course of an hour and I talked. Two–Going to a psychologist is highly underrated. I said things to her that I had been thinking but unable to articulate to anyone because I thought they would sound ridiculous. She never commented or judged. She simply asked questions that led me down a path where I was finally able to admit to myself that my feelings are mostly ones of frustration.
When I commit to something, I’m in 100 percent. And so it was with this pregnancy. From the moment we made the decision to start a family to the weeks and days I waited to take a pregnancy test, to the first, and second, and third positive, I was fully committed and invested in the idea of being pregnant and having a baby. And then from the first appointment with the OB coordinator to the moment I started spotting, to the first time we saw the baby on ultrasound, I was obsessed with sustaining the pregnancy and convinced that statistically-speaking, IT wouldn’t happen to me.
In my head, I had already made the transition from yuppie to mommy and was committed to what that future held. I had already started divesting myself from work and being more committed to my home life – a real change from being an over-achieving work-a-holic. Most importantly, I had made peace with those two things and was excited about starting a new chapter of my life.
Now that there is no pregnancy, what I can’t get my mind around is that I have nothing I am 100 percent committed to and invested in. I had all my eggs in one basket and the basket is gone, at least that’s the way I feel.
I have a follow-up appointment with psychologist on April 16. That would have been the end of my first trimester. I know that sometime between now and then I will naturally, or with the help of medication, miscarry. What I’m hoping is that by the time these two things happen, I can find something else to be committed to, even if it’s committing to simply relaxing and being kind to myself.