It wells up inside me, this scream yearning to escape. I close my eyes and picture remote places where it could be released—cliffs next to the roaring ocean, the sprawling desert, the roof of a skyscraper. In my lack of access to any of those locations, I find the tension seeping out in unhealthy ways: I weep in the bathtub. I yell at my husband. I throw a pillow across the room and imagine ripping down walls with a sledgehammer. Maybe I should rejoice that I did not actually tear down walls.
But what is the point of tearing down walls when you can build them between you and the people you need the most instead?
I’m in the process of scheduling a surgery I don’t want. In the midst of that process, I learned that I misunderstood a few weeks ago — I will not be able to take Avelyn home with me. Either the hospital will bury her without me or we can have her remains delivered to the funeral home of my choice. A funeral home. For a baby the size of a grape. And I can’t for the life of me figure out what we would do once her body is at a funeral home.
I had imagined wrapping her body in a portion of blanket. Of praying over her. Of digging a hole and giving her body a home in a beloved place.
But it seems my body is robbing me even of my preferred goodbye. While I still have the option of waiting, I have felt the calming of my uterus and noticed the slowing of the spotting blood. It seems my body believes it is done, while Avelyn still rests peacefully inside.
I’m not sure if it is the prospect of the D&C (and no, a date is not yet finalized), the finality it will bring, or the stress of speaking so scientifically about an event that is anything but clinical, but I snapped.
Honestly, it has been building for days — anger at a medical community that offers complicated testing procedures for healthy children in the womb, but does not offer women the ability to test for one of the leading causes of miscarriage before getting pregnant. I am considered “lucky” because I was allowed a blood test after only one miscarriage. A blood test. One vial of blood. And many doctors dismiss women who want answers. I heard today from a woman who was told, “You’ve only had two miscarriages. That’s nothing.”
I’m angry. I’m angry at a system that dismisses the hurts of women and men whose hearts expand to hold children that will never come home with them. I’m angry at what feels like twisted priorities in the medical world. I’m angry that the ability to have an inexpensive blood test makes me lucky.
I’m angry that my body isn’t working. I’m angry at laws that will force me to sign over my child to a hospital.
I’m angry at myself for exploding at those I love. I’m angry at my inability to act even in my own best interest, much less the interests of others.
And I’m even angry that I’m not as angry as I sometimes should be.
I’m currently listening to Waterdeep’s “Since I Am So Sick” on repeat*. The first three lines are mine: “Since I am so sick / Since I am in need / Since I have no healing within me . . .”
Allyn said to me this afternoon that he is doing the best he can. I responded that I know—and that I am, too.
I see my sickness. And I long for healing to come.
Author’s note: This is the nineteenth post in a series on pregnancy loss/miscarriage. Read the first post, “First ultrasound,” here.
*I looked for a video of the song, but could not find one. You can download it on amazon here.