Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I've come through a particularly dark moment in my life, an inexplicable loss. For once I found it difficult to share my thoughts because I couldn't even comprehend them. For once I came to the spot in the road where I had absolutely nothing to say, nothing stupid to say and certainly no erudite phrases either. I suffered mostly in silence, talking only to a few friends about only the most basic thoughts I had until it was over. I found the responses of some people I had trusted so disturbing that I have severed ties I thought would not ever be severed.

It was cold and gray and dark for the weeks that I went through this morass. It seemed fitting. I stayed in a cave of my own making, exhausted and sleeping for sometimes 16 hours a day. I hid my sorrow from my children as well as I could so that they could just move on. My lover was away in the field working to support us, and I could not even share the experience with him. My dog, sweet Lucille, was my only companion and I walked her the bare minimum and she barely complained.

I had hoped to be sharing very different news this week because in early December, I discovered that I was pregnant. I was ambivalent and excited all at the same time. It was a blissful discovery and a terrifying prospect. All of that. At age 45, I have friends who are grandparents, and there I was growing a new life inside of me. The mental gymnastics happened slowly so that it took about a month to be able to fully imagine bringing a little person into the world sometime in August. And, just when I'd fully accepted it and started to share my news ever so timidly...

Not everyone was excited. The difference between sharing the news of my two older children's impending birth and this new little one was marked in terms of how family and friends reacted. Almost to a person it seemed people were covering their horror and worry, creating mental pictures I dare not visit. So much negativity was hard to take, but I accepted that this little person had a gift for everyone. I know part of the reaction was racism, because this little person would be hitting just about all the DNA notes globally that one little person could hit, but essentially little one would have been considered black anyway, and that simply didn't sit well with some. That was a shock. I know another part of the reaction was ageism. The thought of a 45 year old pregnant woman still shocks some people. There might have even been class-ism, as I've been struggling financially for quite some time. Whatever the reasons, there was little full endorsement coming my way.

I was tired but I could not sleep for more than a few hours a night, and it never felt like deep sleep, but rather a nervous sleep where I felt like I could see through my eyelids. This eventually started to make me feel crazy. Wouldn't it have made you feel crazy, too? But, I took my prenatal vitamins and found that all the pregnancy knowledge of 10 years prior was coming back to me effortlessly. I felt blessed beyond measure and knew that every baby manifests what they need, and so I trusted that all would work itself out. I'm generally known as an eternal optimist.

Now I had my two older children by natural childbirth at home, and so I was determined this one would have the same peaceful opportunity. What I discovered was that a lot changed in the 10 years since my son was born. Only one Certified Nurse Midwife in the Denver Metro area attends home births, and my husband was nervous about it so we ended up with midwives who work in a hospital setting...Secretly I had already determined that I would escape their care in my second trimester.

Since the pregnancy was an utter surprise, I really had no idea exactly when I got pregnant and so the nurse midwives insisted that I have an ultrasound to determine the gestational age of the fetus. Sigh. Already, I felt caught up in unnecessary medical procedures that would just cost money, but I went along with it.

I guesstimated I was about 10 weeks along at the time. My husband was out in the field when I had it done unfortunately. I was so looking forward to reporting on the strong heartbeat and the formation of little limbs to him. What I had to report instead was that there would be no child, and that there was no heartbeat. And, I was as utterly stunned by this as I was by the pregnancy in the first place.

I had a good friend try to tell me to look at the whole thing physiologically, but I'm all about symbolism. That's my crutch to see through the obvious. To me it doesn't really matter why the child won't be born physically, but only that the child won't be born and to wonder why as a spiritual question. For the first time in my life symbolism failed me completely though. I couldn't see the good in this loss. No matter how poorly some people chose to behave towards the baby coming, I was all about having "Temple". Still a month later I am reeling off and on. My mind will not let me forget that I was going to be doing something else today. I was going to say something different.

So I share this with you, in the empty void of cyberland, to simply affirm that this life had been important, and looked forward to by a small group of rebels. In this I suppose I'm attempting to honor that life as well as I can, if somewhat sentimentally. Miscarriage is not a choice. It's not over in a day. It's an event that goes on for as long as it needs to go on. It is something that happens to some people (apparently one in six women and their partners)and it's not always easy to forget the projected trajectory of a different life.

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