No bleeding at all yet, almost no cramps.
J~ is getting better, planning to go back to work on Monday, though he will rush home if I need him. B~ will be around for the weekend, starting tomorrow.
We went to the beach in Rhode Island on Tuesday, J~ and I, walked for miles away from the crowd at Watch Hill toward the crowd at Misquamicut. In between, nothing but wind and sun and the surf's deep breathing, and me, finally, opening my mouth. "As much as I'd like to push myself to be done, I have to admit, I'm not done yet."
"Yeah," he nods. He feels the same.
It is hard for us, at this point, to say, No more, although it seems it would be a relief if we could. I know the chances are not good at this point, taking into consideration my three-in-a-row miscarriages, my age, my unwillingness to hop myself up on supplemental hormones, but how can I stop trying? And yet, how can I possibly bear another loss? So far there are four: four children I have grieved, having never seen a face, never held a one. The only presumably viable life of the lot, the first, ended because I chose to end it. I have to live with that.
And yet, if there was a magic pill to guarantee a healthy child, I'm not sure I could bring myself to take it. It seems like a no-brainer, but it is not. I don't trust that I would be adequately supported, that my love for a baby would outweigh the burden of the work, of putting myself, my own selfish pleasures and pursuits, on the back burner. But this does not reduce the grief. It only twists it. It makes me wonder if somehow, subconsciously, I am influencing the demise of these pregnancies, if I am at fault.
No amount of rational, scientific reason can dissuade me of this fear. It is torturous.
On the day of the final ultrasound, we spent some hours with family who only addressed our bad news in hushed asides. There were children around. It seemed inappropriate to speak openly, or for me to cry. My brother tried to crack jokes, to make me smile. "I don't want to be cheered up," I interrupted, "but you can hug me whenever you want." He puts one arm around me briefly, but that was the end of it. My father insisted on snapping pictures of J~ and I. "Please don't" I said, "I'm not in the mood." "Too late!" he quipped, grinning. "Feel better," he said to me later, in lieu of good bye. My mother reiterated her offer to help, whatever we need. But what do we need? We need love. We need flowers. We need cards. We need condolences. We need room to grieve, witnesses to our grief, sharers in the burden of it. These are not easy things to ask for. Or to receive.
When J~'s neck hurt too much, I was relieved to go home. In the car, we were both sad, surprised at how alone we felt amidst family, that only the women (two of three - the third said nothing at all acknowledging the loss) asked how I felt, though there were in-depth discussions of J~'s surgery and its aftermath.
The phone rings. After too many conversations that made me feel worse, I can no longer bring myself to answer. It is as if this loss is carving a hole into me, exposing a lifetime of hurts. People don't know what to say, so they ask questions. Even the ones who say all the right things are no help. I don't have it in me to make any more reports.
But there is something good about this solitary process. It is a cleansing; it is a purge. For example: In the shower this morning, I found myself thinking of A~, my first husband, who admitted before deciding to marry me, that he feared that such a union would bind him to me for eternity. To him, this was a nightmare. And yet, though even then, I suspected he only did so out of fear of leaving, I felt lucky that he chose to stay.
It hurts that I spent so many years clinging to him, believing I could do no better. I am indignant that my self-esteem was so little nurtured, that I was left vulnerable to this kind of thinking.
Ultimately, I feel good to be shedding all of this old pain, fortified to be angry. I get it now: I deserved better! I always have deserved better. And right now, I deserve better than this motherhood limbo.
And so, I am willing to be opened up emotionally, carved out, emptied, forged into something stronger. Maybe, at the end of all this, I could welcome that magic pill after all, or walk away from it unequivocally, head high.
Eventually, I will answer the phone.
For now, I am here. Where ever that is.