Here’s the deal. Long term reader (I wish I could make that plural) of this blog are probably wondering – is the guy who typically writes about sporks, unicorns, states with boring shapes, pomegranates and yodeling about to write a humorous take on miscarriages? Yes. Yes he is.
Let me just say this – I firmly believe that there is no subject that cannot be joked about. That being said, the more serious the topic, the more careful one ought to be. It also lends more credibility if you have some experience with the subject matter. But finding a way to laugh through pain is an essential part of the human experience. That and root beer floats. At some point, everyone should have a really good root beer float.
Note: Even though I am constantly writing about my opinion on very silly things, I rarely have discussed any of my actual life in this blog. Everything that follows is real.
About two months ago, my fiancée peed on a stick. To be perfectly honest, she does this much more often than either one of us would admit to in polite company, but this time it was a special stick. A voodoo stick that can amazingly tell if the urine it’s absorbing is that of a pregnant woman or that of a non pregnant woman and/or confused man. When this magic stick said, “Pregnant urine!” I was immediately cautiously optimistic.
You see, the first time a stick delivered us such news (about 18 months ago), I was a little quick on the celebration. I believe I contacted my best friend and family members within three minutes of the pee stick’s verdict. Somehow, I had purchased a stroller within seven minutes. And was checking out colleges by the end of the hour. Unfortunately, the pee stick doesn’t know the future, and we experienced a miscarriage a couple of weeks later.
Until this happened to us, I had no idea how common they are. Correct or not, I took some solace in this fact. “Look,” I reasoned, “We weren’t singled out. Many, many people have experienced this.” Perhaps this is not logical, but if something bad happens to me that also happens to a lot of other people, I find it more reasonable – it had to happen to 20% of the people, I can’t expect to dodge all of life’s most common tragedies. But if, say, I were attacked by a Bengal tiger that had escaped from a travelling circus, I’d be quite miffed. “What are the odds?!?” I would cry out in the ER room as they bandaged up the gash in my left thigh and tested me for various rare Bengal tiger type diseases. “No one gets attacked by an escaped Bengal tiger,” I would bemoan my fate, “I’m so freakin’ unlucky!”
Nonetheless, a miscarriage is not fun. It is sad. It’s as if, as potential parents, you begin to slowly inflate this balloon with all your hopes of an imagined future with this child, and then someone just walks up out of nowhere and pops your balloon. And there’s nothing you can do but slowly watch it deflate. What could have soared is gone in a moment. And, frankly, I was afraid it would happen again. Thus, I was cautiously optimistic.
Throughout all of October I found myself afraid of another miscarriage. I would cringe anytime she displayed any slight looks of discomfort. Yes, it was usually just gas (not her gas, mind you, it was her distress at having to suffer through mine), but I felt like any twinge of pain from her could be the bad news we both had ever present in the back of our minds. Plus I heard that a travelling circus had lost a Bengal tiger…
Look, I believe that a positive outlook can manifest itself physically, so we certainly didn’t dwell on the negative. Quite the opposite. We began to talk about names. She had a dream she was playing with our daughter. I put up a top-notch tiger fence.
And then it happened.
Bleeding. Pain. Emergency room.
Here’s the strange thing I’ve noticed about pain of all types – most everyone thinks that theirs is the worst. Most people wear their pain like badges, they like to say things like, “You can’t imagine what I’ve been through,” they like to secretly feel that their pain is extra special. I sometimes wonder if this isn’t part of the problems of our world. How often are we just using other’s suffering in order to compare it to our own?
You see, sitting in an emergency room with someone you love and watching them suffer is not an easy thing. For anyone. And we weren’t seen immediately. We had to wait for other people. Other people who had other pains. Of course there was part of me that just wanted to clear the room, I just wanted to make an announcement for everyone with their scrapes, and bruises, and aches to just get out of the way so that our pain could be attended to. Because pain makes you hopeless. It reminds us of how little control we have.
But she did get to see a doctor. And the pain (as it almost always does) dissipated. The physical pain goes first. The emotional pain lingers longer. But it all escapes eventually with the air from the popped balloon.
We were over two months pregnant this time, which made it more difficult. It felt more real before it was taken away.
But she’s okay. I’m okay. We’re okay. And I don’t feel like wearing my pain like a badge. Yes, I’m writing this and putting it out into the world. Perhaps it’s therapeutic. Part of me hopes it could possibly help someone else who’s experiencing something similar. And part of me just really liked the joke about me farting. But I’m not here to say, “Woe is me.” (I’m also not trying, by the way, to judge anyone who does have that response. It feels like a perfectly natural response to have.) I didn’t even realize when I started writing this…but what I want to say (speaking only for myself) is that my pain is not special.
My pain is not special.
And by saying that, I’m not trying to diminish or fail to recognize the loss. I cried. I had heart ache. That was real. But it’s not unique to me. I don’t get to own that pain alone.
I just think that maybe there’s an outside chance that this is a good way to view the world. That this might help us relate to each other a little better. My mom has a unique way of virtually always finding the positive in a situation. I’m not as accomplished in this arena, but I try and do it when I can.
So I try to see the positive.
And I’ll try to share that feeling.
And, honey, I’ll try and fart a little less.