The lights are cold and harsh. The corridor is quiet except for a buzzing sound in the background. I don’t think anybody’s touched the furniture since the ’70s. There are greasy fingerprints all over the Time magazine cover. I tilt my head slightly to read the publication date — 2009. Maybe I’m not really there. I may be lost in a space-time continuum. That would make so much more sense than this.
I feel cold. I feel uneasy. Everything is unfamiliar. Today of all days, I so wish I could be in reassuringly known surroundings.
I get up and slowly walk toward the door as if to delay the sentence by a couple more seconds.
The doctor has an accent I can’t quite place. She doesn’t smile, but she doesn’t frown either. She is matter-of-fact. That’s a good thing, I think. Although I could use a warm smile right now. Why is it so damn cold?
Louis, blissfully unaware of what’s going on, is chatting away to his dad in the background. Just don’t touch the toys, for the love of god. Stop it. I can’t be worrying about germs right now. Just focus.
The doctor scans through the test results before looking up at me through her thick glasses. My eyes zoom straight to her mouth as she pronounces the word in slow motion, “m-i-s-c-a-r-r-i-a-g-e” and then there’s a buzzing sound for a few seconds. Her lips keeps moving, but I can’t hear what she says. Someone just hit me on the head. I feel dizzy.
I burst into tears. My shoulders shake as I reach for a tissue on her desk. Everything appears blurry through my tear-filled eyes. And I immediately feel ashamed for not keeping it together. I notice a touch of empathy in her eyes now. Or is it discomfort? I don’t think she knows how to react to such a strong display of emotions.
We walk out, and the reality starts to sink in. So it happened to me. One of the things I always hoped with all my heart would not. It did. I had a miscarriage. Well, not quite yet.
Now I have to wait. My body is going to carry out the dirty work itself.
Now, I get to wait.
I get to wait and run to the toilet every 12 minutes to check whether it’s coming or not. I get to wait for the pain to hit me. I get to wait and line my bed with a pile of towels in the hopes I’ll manage to get some sleep knowing I would at least have saved the linen.
You start questioning every single move. Every single bite you took. Every single product you used. Maybe it’s just bad luck. A bad batch of DNA. But then you start remembering that time you weren’t so kind to someone. Maybe the universe is pissed. Maybe you deserve this. You feel shame.
Tears come in waves. You still can’t drink. You still need to take your vitamins. Watch your caffeine intake. You could still be pregnant, the doctor in the glasses told you. But she doesn’t want you to hold on to that thought, either, because it’s highly unlikely. We just don’t know. So we need to stay half-pregnant for a while.
The hormones are still haunting me. Strong. Not as strong as they should be. But strong enough to have my face erupt in a collection of pimples my 14-year-old self could have competed with. Strong enough to make me want to cry — all the time. I cry when I watch an episode of Mad Men because the last time I watched, I was pregnant. I cry when I read a bedtime story to my son, because last night when I read it, I thought I was pregnant.
Then I feel this urge — to clean. All of a sudden, my eyes seem to have a microscopic vision of every single little speck of dust in the house. Why is everything so filthy? I need to scrub everything around me. It’s survival. No. It’s actually a sign of depression. I know the signs. I’ve been there before. It won’t last though. I won’t let it. I know how to get rid of it. But not just yet.
Right now, I need to feel it. Depression is ugly. It smells. It hurts. But mostly, I know it feeds on being bottled up. If I don’t take the time to feel it, it will wake up one day like the Incredible Hulk, out of nowhere, during a parent-teacher meeting at school or something.
So no, I need to look at it in the face. I need to feel it all. Like Eleven looks at the Demogorgon. The eyes. The bleeding nose. Yes, I’m looking at you bitch.
My heart breaks. It aches so bad. I don’t care what anybody in the world can think or say. This was the very beginning of a new adventure. A brand-new person. Louis’s ticket to big brotherhood. Our little tribe growing. There were going to be four of us. And then not.
I feel like I can’t say the words. I don’t want to admit it happened to me. I feel like I failed. I failed our unborn baby. I failed my husband. I failed Louis. I feel like no one can understand what it really feels like.
“It happens in 20% of pregnancies.”
“I know someone who had two.”
“At least it is still early.”
“At least you already have one.”
“You can try again soon.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.
The list goes on. People want to make you feel better, but it seems like the natural reaction to miscarriage is to not talk about it or belittle what’s happened to you. People, please don’t. I know you mean well, but don’t. Just acknowledge that our being pregnant, however short, was real. Acknowledge that the pain is real. Just be here. Just be silent on the other end of the phone while we sob. Just be here when what would have been the due date arrives.
For now, I just want to tell the universe that I have felt loss’s ugly face in all its splendor. And if I can at least let someone else know that they are not alone, some good will have come out of this.
To the almost-mother out there, I know what it feels like to wait, to ache, to question, to fear.
I know what it feels like to be half-fucking-pregnant.