I have spent the past couple of months adjusting to the idea of my family growing from two children to three. They have been months of dry heaving and exhaustion punctuated by The Buster and Miss Meatball's steadily increasing penchant for getting into things they shouldn't. Miss Meatball is part monkey and The Buster is the brute squad; they are a mischief match made in heaven (or possibly somewhere a bit warmer...I'm not actually sure which). Just when I felt like I'd started to get a handle on things, it is time for more adjustment.
I went to the doctor on Friday for what was supposed to be a routine visit, a welcome-to-my-second-trimester-of-pregnancy with my weight measured, blood pressure taken, and the opportunity to listen to baby's heartbeat. Except when the doctor pressed the Doppler device to my stomach, the only sound it picked up was the rushing of my own blood. She sent me in for an ultrasound. I could see the baby on the screen, see its tiny head and spine, but I didn't see a heartbeat. I didn't see a heartbeat and the ultrasound technician didn't say any of the normal "and here is baby's head" types of things. She didn't say anything. And I knew exactly what was going on, that pretty soon I would be sitting back in the exam room waiting to hear about Options and Procedures because sometime in the last few days, the heart of my unborn child stopped beating.
The doctor was kind. The nurses were kind. Everyone was kind. You want people to be kind in situations like this. You expect them to say sympathetic things and to give half-smiles in that sort of you-poor-thing way.
The doctor called it a “tragedy.” Her word choice pulled me away from my search for another tissue. Tragedy is one of those words I don't like to hear tossed around. Tragedy means Anitigone's punishment for burying her dead brother, Oedipus gouging out his own eyes, Horatio left alone at the play's end. I feel that tragedy, at its very core, carries with it a degree of hopelessness and futility that does not apply to me right now. Tragedy is the wrong word. I'm not sure what the right word is, though. Loss, perhaps. Or a kind of acute, almost quantum grief where I mourn for possibilities and might-have-beens. My heart hurts, and although I know it will mend, right now I feel raw, exposed.
I need to adjust.