Life By Temperature
The numbers are seared into my memory like a blinding light that you see when you look into the sun too long—97.7. Oh no! I bolt up out of bed and immediately feel the sides of my breasts for the familiar aching, burning and fullness. Gone. Oh no. I run to the bathroom and immediately perch myself on the toilet saying inside “Please, no blood. Please, no blood.” Thank goodness, the toilet water is the same as it was one minute ago—nothing but clear water. What is going on I wonder. Let me think … I am taken back to similar conversations I have had while on this same spot—what if I am? Could it really be? As I wait for the “after three minutes have elapsed but do not read results after ten minutes or you may get a false positive”. Funny how this same spot in the house can be one of life-changing exhilaration and gut wrenching sorrow.
I plan my next move. Since I know I am at day twenty-three in the luteal phase and have taken ten plus pregnancy tests that show “positive” I know I am indeed pregnant. But I now know at 4:58 a.m. on Friday June 3rd that I am not. I am by no means an expert, but I have read my prescribed books on fertility and the bible on trying to conceive and was successful in using the knowledge to achieve pregnancy two other times. So, there is no doubt as to what I was a few minutes, hours, days ago—but what am I now and what do I do?
I am up early this AM to continue my three times per week ritual of running. Soothing to the mind, body and spirit are my morning runs and adhering to my workout regimen is food for my soul. I am up to six miles every other day—sometimes I am winded after two, sometimes I have runner’s high and can’t stop after I hit my end mark. But today, what do I do? I vacillate between waiting to tell my husband until confirmation of something more concrete and waking him from his slumber and tell him our baby is not to be. Information like this can break a person and I have to choose my words with care—as in choosing how to break up with your love or tell someone you have fallen out of love with them and you should see other people. The words will live forever and cannot be taken back, no matter how much you want them to be. I walk into the bedroom and sit on the edge farthest away from my love—I don’t want to scare him by hovering over him like some ominous figure in the night. “Buttercup … time to get up” I say trying to deliver the words with no hint of panic or fear. He rustles out of his sleep and opens his eyes, wondering why I am sitting on the bed instead of putting on my socks and lacing up my shoes to attack the trails covered with morning dew. I think about what to say, trying to choose the right words and I am outside of my body now and hope that my brain does what it should. “My temperature dropped and my boobs don’t feel sore, I think little one is not going to make it.” I don’t cry but rather look down to avoid meeting his eyes, yet want to look to connect and feel the hurt together. “Oh no …” that is all he can muster. Ironically, the same words I said not even five minutes ago when I realized we were still a family of four and not five. I always say my husband and I were destined to meet—he from Singapore and me from a small town in CT—meeting up in IL—how does that happen? It is times like this that prove to me God had a plan and sent us out the world to meet each other and become “Us”.
I still don’t cry as he touches my belly and looks down with sadness and asks if I am okay and what was going to happen and was I sure. He knows I am sure, because I have digested the books and internet information and could talk about BBT in my sleep… and sometimes do. He also knows that this is the end of our newest dream because I am sure of something when I say it and have never been one to be dramatic or embellish to get sympathy. “There is nothing to do but wait,” I say, full knowing that the true sign will be when the blood starts to flow. We hold each other for a second, and then realize that the day must start like any other—getting to where we need to be by taking our usual steps to get there. Me off on my morning run, logging the steps behind me hoping they carry the stress and hurt and emptiness of what is to come, and my love—getting ready for the day and pushing this hurt to the side while he manages a smile, a laugh and even a focused ear to those who need it. He is much better at this than I, maybe a gender difference—he is able to “wipe his mind clear” and focus on his tasks at hand and they are never colored or hazed with any emotional baggage he carries. He will tend to these emotions of our lost little one at a different time, when he can give it his full attention.
I step away from the bedroom and make unconscious but necessary strides to my kiddo’s rooms to watch them as they lay. My sweet and delicious daughter, five and a half and full of vitality and spunk, is under her covers surrounded by her furry friends. She is breathing deeply and I hope she is dreaming of lollipops and rainbows, dancing and playing. I move to my son in the next room. My firstborn miracle, my baby boy who is no longer at baby at seven, is sleeping like he always does—in the fetal position wrapped as tight into a ball as he can muster. This has always comforted him, and I know he feels safe, secure and loved even when he is in slumber. I imagine that he is doing math in his dream, or traveling to a far away land to discover new treasures and examine their money systems, he is into that now. I sigh as I leave his door, filling my aching heart with their presence and their being. I look at them to relish in the fact that I did produce two babies, I am not a defective machine with loose and aging parts, at least I did two things right. But I full well know in my soul that all those things are not true—that some things are just not meant to be.
I am reminded of a saying I have on a magnet on our refrigerator—think of what you have instead of what you want. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I am thankful. This is what I will remember in the coming days when one life leaves me—is that I have many other lives around me that I need to engage in and be a part of. With that resolve, I descend the stairs, put on my running shoes and head out the door.