For our first wedding anniversary, DH presented me with a watch (his slightly broader interpretation of the modern anniversary gift of ‘clock’). It was, he explained, something I could wear that would remind me of “us” wherever I go. It’s a beautiful watch: a slender black leather strap and a silver face flanked by two loops that has always reminded me of a horse’s bit in a bridle. It’s the perfect watch for my small-boned wrists and I am very fond of it.
About a month ago, I took off my watch and hadn’t seen it since. I knew it was somewhere in our bedroom — a room that houses my desk, computer, bookshelf, and art supplies in addition to a chest of drawers, bed, and bedside tables — but didn’t have the energy to look for it. Yesterday I decided it was time. I lay on our bed thinking about where I might have put it and where it could have ended up. Wouldn’t you know, I found it in the first place I looked — tucked away behind the extension cord underneath my bedside table.
How often does that happen, finding something in the first place you decide to look? I briefly burst into tears. Not because I was glad to see my precious watch again (although I was, very) but because I felt like it was so easy once I set my mind to it. I still don’t quite know what the metaphor is, but I think the simplicity of Watch Lost. Me Find It. Me Did Find It. Now Me Have Watch Again! was in stark contrast to my pregnancy and the agony of a missed miscarriage:
Me Baby Wait. Me Wait Some More. Me Wait Long Time. Me Try. Me Try Again. And Me Try Again. Me Did It! We Did It! Me So Positive! We Happy! We Scared! Me SOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! WE SO EXCITED! We Having Baby! Me Worried. We Stay Positive. Me Okay! W-what? come again? we not believe this happen. me so sad. me sooooooooo sad. me scared. me in physical pain me can’t describe. me anguish. me pain. me despair. me so, so sad. me not have words. ME PAIN. me pain physicially. me pain emotionally. me heart howling. me heart howling. me heart still howling.
At eight o’clock Monday morning (11am New York; tea time UK) I will yet again find myself in that waiting room for the first appointment of the week, no doubt packed with happier, round-bellied women. DH will be with me to usher the way and hold my hand. I will, hopefully, find out why I still haven’t had a period and when, hopefully, I might expect it. I’ll try not to think about the fact that, were I in a parallel universe, I’d be halfway through my first pregnancy. As I wait, instead of placing my hands over what would have been a 19-week belly, I’ll fiddle with my watch and try to remember to cradle myself in a physical gesture of mindful self-compassion and hope that the mammalian oxytocin kicks in fast. As I walk the corridor to Exam Room X, I’ll do my best to tune out the squelching whooshes of a someone else’s growing baby’s heartbeat. I’ll pay attention to the questions the nurse asks and make a note of my blood pressure, which has been higher the last couple of months, thanks to high stress. I’ll strip down and cover my naked lower half with a sterile cotton sheet and submit to being vaginally probed for the 18th time. And then I’ll have a vial of blood taken. All in the name of finding out why my body is not cooperating in the way I’d like. And, afterwards, when I’m dressed, I’ll ask questions like Has my uterus regenerated its lining? What are my current hCG levels? Why do you recommend I wait two cycles before trying to conceive again? Am I ovulating? When do you think I’ll get my period? What was the two-day cramping last week? What can I do to best prepare my body for a subsequent pregnancy? When can we start trying again? When does this get easier? When does this get easier? Why isn’t this easier?