mood: transparent | drinking: liquids
I take the test on Thursday night.
I already know what the answer will be
but I need more than intuition
and swollen ankles
to prove it.
I place the stick on the sink,
peel off my clothes.
The purple plus sign begins to form
before I can unbutton my jeans.
I avert my eyes and turn on the water.
I stay in the shower much longer than necessary
draw the razor up to my knee
shampoo my hair a second time.
The katoush of my heart is louder than plumbing.
I want to be delighted. I want to be ecstatic.
I want to be something other than terrified.
I watch him as I walk down the stairs—
he only has a few seconds of ignorance left.
It seems cruel not to warn him.
But I carry no words,
only a positive plus
on a plastic wand,
which I deliver with unsteady hands.
The seconds it takes him to get it
stretch on for a hundred years.
We walk in the dark with the dog to the store
and buy two more tests.
At midnight, we lay three purple plus signs
in a row on the table and stare
until one of us starts to giggle,
and then the other.
We are giddy. We are hysterical.
We can’t go to sleep.
The next Tuesday, I begin to bleed.
It takes three days of doctors
to confirm what I already know,
and more than a week
for my body to expel
the tiny ruby bits
of a person I had barely begun to believe in.
When I am finally empty,
we grieve in separate rooms.
The statistics say that 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and that more than 80 percent of these losses happen before 12 weeks.
I am a statistic now.
On Thursday, October 22nd, Boy and I found out we were pregnant. Our best guess put us at about 5-6 weeks along. On Tuesday, October 27, the day we got the keys to our new house, I began to miscarry. It took 8 days.
Just two weeks before that, one of my very best friends suffered a miscarriage when she was nearly 7 weeks pregnant. When it happened to her, I didn’t even know that I was pregnant, and of course had no inkling that I would undergo the same loss myself just days later.
I didn’t know how common miscarriage is, until it happened to me. For some reason, we tend to suffer the loss silently, perhaps out of some sense of shame that it was somehow our fault, or just the need to curl into ourselves during a confusing, frightening and painful time.
But what I have found as I have slowly begun to speak about what I lost, is that so many women around me have gone through the same loss. One woman told me she had seven miscarriages in the space of two years before ultimately carrying her baby to term. My own mother had two miscarriages before I was born.
As lonely as it feels when you’re in the middle of it, there are thousand and hundreds of thousands of women who bleed like you. Who know exactly how you feel. I wish their voices were louder.
I usually keep the most personal aspects of my life off the internet, but in this I do not want to stay silent.
It has taken me some time to process what has happened–I had barely begun to even believe I was pregnant at all. I know I’m not finished dealing with the repercussions of this loss. Neither is Boy. And we will deal with it together, privately.
But in the meantime I want to put this poem out there, so that somewhere, someone knows she is not the only one.
-Lo, breaking the silence.