It’s amazing how not over something you can be long after
you think you’ve gotten over it. Years
can go by without a twinge, because nothing has delivered the kind of sucker
punch that forces it back to the surface of your consciousness.
I drove into the school parking lot and turned off my
engine, prepared to wait a few minutes for the geocaching bus to arrive and for
my daughter to disembark, bearing the day’s haul of treasure. I flipped open the magazine I’d stashed in my
car for emergency waiting-for-kids entertainment. Brain,
The essay recounted a woman’s experience with her first
pregnancy—and her first miscarriage. The
details were, I’m sorry to say, all too familiar. The initial excitement. The confused worry. The doctor’s pronouncement. Blighted ovum is the official term. “Your fetus stopped developing.”
And I was fine reading all that. Until she went in for a D & C. Many people don’t realize that a miscarriage
doesn’t happen in a sudden, tragic, but momentary way. It can take weeks for your body to do what it
must: expel what the doctors baldly call “the products of conception.” The cervix has to dilate, just as it does for
childbirth. And it hurts. Like being in labor. For weeks.
So, many women choose to have a D & C, to get it over and done
It’s a cruel irony that a miscarriage involves the same
procedure you would undergo if you were terminating a pregnancy on
purpose. Even the medical term for
miscarriage—spontaneous abortion—is awful and grating. Sounds like you just decided to abort on the
spur of the moment. There should be
another term that makes it clear. The
opposite of “elective.”
Anyway, it was the author’s D & C that did me in. The tears came pouring out when her story turned
into my memory. I can’t even say any
more about that. This isn’t about my
experience, it’s about my reaction to the author’s experience.
I read faster and faster, desperate to get to the end of the
essay so I could close the magazine, wipe my face dry, and put my sunglasses
back on before the bus arrived. I didn’t
want to have to explain to Little Bit, or anyone else, why I was crying.
The funny thing is, I can think about my miscarriages (I had
three) without even misting up. After
all, I’ve accomplished my reproductive goals, and my difficulties in carrying a
pregnancy to term no longer matter. But
reading about someone else’s knocked the whole emotional package out of its
place, safely stowed in a corner of my brain where I don’t have to look at it
anymore. I cried for her, not for me,
because, you know, I’m over it.