[Saturday Morning, August 4, 2012, 11:06AM: PART TWO will be waiting for you early Monday Morning. Thank you for reading and making it over to my space on the planet! It means a lot to me!]
[UPDATE: Saturday August 3, 2012. When I began writing this post on the evening of 7.30.12, I had no idea what the next twenty-four hours would bring. I will say it now and I will say it again: We cannot predict the future!]
Monday Evening, July 30, 2012: Surprise! I’m Pregnant.
I have spent my summer pregnant (the past three months) and today I am miscarrying. I know what you are thinking. I am thinking it too. I am old. My kids are almost teenagers and I thought I was done traveling this very long road.
“How did this happen?” I asked my OB.
“Oh, you know how this happened,” she very wisely responded.
Nevertheless and moments ago I was at a city park here in the Irvington Neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. I was snapping pictures and keeping an eye on my boys. We, joined with Dave’s sister, Dori and her family, had all just eaten a yummy combo picnic dinner and now were scattering around the park. I had already been spotting for a few days so I was not surprised when Kyle, Eli and their Uncle Miah stood wobbling on the see-saws while my nephews Andy and Nathan moved giant toy trucks back and forth through the sand that I felt one mother of a cramp followed by a big fat gush.
“I need to find a bathroom NOW! Really.” I calmly said to Dave and Dori.
“Let me go with you.” Dave said, as we first walked to the car to grab some supplies and then walked over to a prison-issue-no-seat-just-stainless-basin public bathroom.
The two tattooed, pierced and Portland-conservative looking men who each had a son who each sported an ironic toddler-mullet said one more thing to me as I raced to the bathroom door. Their toddler sons were fascinated with Kyle, Eli and the see-saws. “They can handle themselves. Don’t worry. Your boys are fine.”
I thanked them and walked on.
“Ew!” I screeched as I saw all this brown stuff all over the floor.
“Those are just leaves. Just walk over them. Everything is ok.” Dave quickly and wisely shot back. They were just leaves.
I walked over the leaves to the metal toilet, held my breath and squatted over the silver basin. In milliseconds, if that, weighty clumps of tissue dropped into the water. If you have miscarried before, you know exactly the weight I describe here. You know how it feels and weirdly I am grateful you do.
As I squatted, and if you know me, especially the-me-in-less-than-ideal situations me, you know I needed to keep it light and say something and by something, I mean, something humorous-ish. “Hey at least I am keeping it real theme-based. Last time I miscarried at a truck stop (true story).”
Dave probably rolled his eyes, laughed and helped me up. As soon as the heavy park bathroom door slammed like a snapped rubber band behind us, I felt another gush and knew it was time to leave. We yelled to the kids and told them we would be gone for a few minutes, walked over to our car and Dave drove me back to where we were staying. I went up to the guest room and immediately started writing.
Here I am and here is what I am feeling. In between moments of awful menstrual-like cramps and pure denial I am bursting, I mean, BURSTING with crushing quantities of anger while simultaneously filling with competing amounts of gratitude, DAMN IT! I don’t know how else to say it. I have re-written and re-written that phrase: gratitude combined with anger. So grateful I really cannot be mad! Many of you have traveled a similar road. I am grateful you understand and am very sad that you had to go through this too. Many of you also know that I tried for years to maintain a pregnancy. I have succeeded twice. Thank God for Kyle and Eli! Seriously! Wow! I get contrast. I feel selfish that I wanted more. I get that those two boys are two brilliant miracles! Birth is not easy! Yet, may I tell you in complete honesty, I was pissed when I found out I was pregnant. At the very least, this pregnancy has caused me a very inconvenient summer. At best, I feel equal amounts of gratitude and anger!
And I think the denial I have been in has given me this crazy strength, strength that I never thought I had. With this denial I have pushed myself hard. I have pushed harder than I have in a very long, long time. Wait, let’s not pretend, when Kyle was lying with a feeding tube shoved down his nose and his eyeball skin peeling off, I pushed hard too. That’s what you do. You push hard. You fight for those you love.
We bought a two-test box. “Dave, we have to buy a two-test kit. If we buy one, I’ll just end up buying another one tomorrow.” We laughed the Park City Smith’s laughing and joking about the psychosomatic effects of pregnancy tests. “You relax and then your period starts.” We only needed one. We only needed one pregnancy test because the second I peed on that stupid stick, it turned to a plus sign. When I saw that stupid plus sign I totally deer-in-head-lighted and then I laughed. “Really?” I really said, “really,” out loud. I bet you would have too. Do you know how many hundreds of negative pregnancy tests I have peed on? Wow! A joke? I bought the pregnancy test as a joke.
I saw the plus sign. I freaked out. Then I screamed, “Dave, you need to come up here now! Now! Dave! Now!” Then I grabbed my iPhone, opened up my web browser, Google’ed the phrase, “old pregnant ladies,” read the statistics and felt worse. Women over forty are screwed! The End! I know my history and when we told our doctor friend, here is what he told us:
“You’re old blah, blah, blah, blah and you are doomed blah blah blah. Oh and your fertility history sucks blah blah blah. Mostly, YOU ARE OLD!”
Dave is busier than he has ever been, which seems impossible, because he has always been busy. This summer was my time, pregnancy or not, to up my parenting game. Dave needed me. I do not breathe and until last night, I simply hold it all in. I have hardly told a soul and when I do I imagine what they must be thinking. I have a couple of close friends, my sister and my mom (of course), who knew. They all have had my back. They get my horror and every single one of them said, “I will be there to help you raise that baby or help you grieve its loss.” They knew my reality too. Last night I melted. Just a little, but I finally did. It was probably hormones. No. Really. I went nuts and kept asking Dave, “Why are you acting so weird? What is wrong with you?” Not my finest moment. Suddenly after yelling, screaming and being silent, I walked down to the kitchen, poured myself a bowl of Cocoa Krispies, then another, texted Dave from the kitchen, cleaned the cute little cracker crumb mess the other house tenant always leaves behind, and went back upstairs. While eating the second bowl, Dave responded:
“Come back up here and I will hold your hand. I need the points.”
[August 3, 2012]
Like I mentioned, we are currently in Portland, Oregon. I love the house we are staying in. It’s an old Four Square Craftsman in the Irvington neighborhood. Our friends graciously invited us to stay while they are working in Phoenix. I know we have the better end of the deal. Whole Foods is a short walk and an even shorter drive. The Whole Foods folks already know me, make me the best gluten free sandwiches and the boys have discovered that the Portland Whole Foods sells warm Chicken Pot Pies. Yum! If this deceptive Portland sun keeps shining, I think we may just stay.
On Wednesday, July 25, we dropped Dave off in Pasco, WA. I know. Weird and a little random. He needed to be in San Francisco. When planning our trip we figured Pasco was the farthest he could travel with us before he needed to go. Once in Pasco and after washing our bug-covered and mud-covered car, we were under such a deadline that almost as quickly as we walked into a local Mexican Restaurant, we looked at the time, apologized, told the hostess they are number one in the area on Yelp, and we walked right back out. We did not want Dave to miss his flight. We stopped for gas, bought our requisite two Chick-O-Sticks and were on our way. I hugged Dave hard, held back tears and prayed that he would fly safely from this little airport we had never seen before.
We left Dave in Pasco and came from heartache in Spokane, where my head was spinning after feeling the reality of stomped on hearts and a broken marriage. Spokane was filled with love of old friends and hope that they will find their way. I wondered if they were felling angry and grateful. Life does not discriminate when it comes to pain or happiness, for that matter. As we arrived in Spokane, we were on the heels of our dreamy trip through Yellowstone and the Tetons (yes, when they ask, we tell them that Tetons indeed mean “boobs” in François and then we quickly admonish, “What we talk about in the car, stays in the car, like that Tetons mean, “The Big Boobs”). We had been planning this Yellowstone trip for months. We were never quite sure if it would happen and at the last minute and thanks to our fabulous-plan-making friend, Doug, it did.
On Thursday, July 19, we left Utah late morning. We met up with our Minnesota friends at the Park City Whole Foods. I walked all four boys over to the Kimball Junction Starbucks, I ordered my green ice tea, insisted they use the bathroom, the other three adults made their way over and we were on our way.
In the past two weeks we have traveled from Utah to stunning Jackson, WY. We stopped at a groovy health food store in Jackson thanks my friend’s clever and determined thinking. Thank goodness for her, and also gratitude for the discovery of the Gluten Free Sandwich. From Jackson, WY we drove through the Tetons with a quick stop at Jenny Lake, where we had to force a very sick Kyle to complete a very long hike, then and on to Yellowstone. We spent the night at a crazy Yellowstone Lodge. No, not the Yellowstone Lodge, just another random Yellowstone Lodge. We watched Old Faithful do its thing, because you have to, and somehow between puffs of smoke and really warm walking paths, I overcame my fear of hot springs. Seriously, do not read the book “Death in Yellowstone,” it may haunt you forever! We hiked the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, the top of Mammoth Hot Springs and then found our way to Bozeman, MT, where we hiked to the most amazing waterfall. (May I just add that Eli not only completed every single hike, but he was often the first done and always seemed to hike to the highest spot! So proud.) After the waterfall and a quick detour/Bison charging, we ate lunch at the Bozeman Food Co-Op and yes, Bozeman and its accompanying food co-op, are indeed where the real hippies exist. We sat at a lovely outdoor table, ate our yummy food, talked with our friends about our combined dreams of traveling to New Zealand while a very yappy dog barked away in the background. We said our goodbyes, met one more time at the gas station then they headed east and we headed west. On to Spokane, the Pasco, WA Airport and then Portland, all the while I was pregnant, or at least my body thought it was. The boys and I drove non-stop the windy four hours along the Columbia River Gorge into the waiting arms of Dave’s best friend, Justin, who immediately took very-hungry us to an open-late Portland eating establishment.
On Monday, July 30, 2012, I went to bed believing I had fully miscarried.