Thursday, May 26, 2011

In Praise of Broken

Two days before Rob's birthday, I peed on a pregnancy test. I don't know what possessed me to do it, other than my back really fucking hurt, and sometimes when I'm in pain, my judgement goes out the window. Oh, and I'd had a really scary, vivid dream the week before that involved Alia Shawkat as a spy, and men with guns, and a giant, death-grey, headless Jesus-Dragon Man falling from the sky. (I woke up from the dream and thought, "I wonder if this means I'm pregnant," even though there's no reason it would. Usually, after the unprotected sex but before the positive test, I have one good, long, hideously pornographic dream. Low-budget experimental German stuff. Very sick. Anyway...)

So I took a pregnancy test. And stared at it. Then I wrote Rob a note and set the test and the note on the bathroom counter, and I went back to making curried split pea soup.

"I do see what you see," Rob said when he came out of the bathroom later.

"Hmm," I said.

"Mmm," we said together.


I didn't tell anyone but my doctor about the positive test. Not because I was superstitious or afraid. I was pointedly not afraid. Rob and I had promised each other we wouldn't be afraid. That we'd celebrate. But I didn't feel like celebrating, either. I just felt like a crazy person, because I hadn't had a period yet, and my best guess-date for conception seemed too recent to already be producing double pink lines. My doctor suggested an ultrasound in a few weeks - "because if you did conceive on the fourth, all they'd see at this point would be a yolk sac" - and I basked in the light of the image I imagined: a glowing kidney-bean fetus with tiny, beating heart.

I'd carry my ultrasound results home like a straight-A report card. Guess what, everyone!

Yesterday, after just 10 days of (mildly agonizing) secrecy, I noticed some brown spotting. I was just about to work out, and for a moment I froze. Is exercise a good idea right now? Should I rest? I quickly decided that if whatever was inside of me was healthy, no amount of regular exercise would make it come out. And if it was going to come out, no amount of rest would keep it in. Twelve hours later, I was bleeding.

There's a moment early in Away We Go, my favorite-ever pregnancy movie, where Burt asks Verona if she agrees with her friend Lily that "everything's destined for failure." Verona responds, "I really hate that attitude, you know? 'Everything's already broken so why don't we just keep on breaking it again and again.'"

I usually subscribe to Verona's philosophy of life - that broken doesn't equal doomed, that with a little bit of joy and creativity, even a sickly old orange tree can grow melons and pineapples - but not today. Today, I just want to keep on breaking it. I want to drink a bottle of wine instead of eating dinner. Smoke in bed. Have anonymous, condomless group sex. Throw a party in honor of my wrecked-up uterus by destroying my body completely! Everything about me is broken! Hooray for failure! Miscarriage is the new black!


I have to wonder if my recent depression was, in fact, prescient. (Depresscience?) I wonder if my pre-test nightmare was trying to tell me something. And of course I wonder Why, and What the hell, and Where am I supposed to go from here? In fact, I don't even know what else I want to write about this.

I keep struggling to look through the grotesque fantasies of self-annihilation - see beyond the auto-schadenfreude - and name the true feelings there. But I don't know if there's a word for this. Anger comes close to expressing it, but I really want something that encompasses rage, frustration, heartbreak, and despair. There has to be a word like that. (It's probably in German.)

I'm also beginning to think I should seriously consider re-naming this blog.



Allison the Meep said...

Broken is what my heart is right now, for you, for having to keep going through this.

Love to you. xoxo.

notmommy said...

I am so so so sorry. I want to give you a real hug. I'm here for anything if you want.

Cindy said...

I hate that you have to go through this again. I'm sorry.

autumn said...

I hate this. And, a lot of the time I just hate the things that bodies do.

Liliana said...

Oh Noelle. I'm so sorry. I too, wish I could give you a hug. Really sorry.

NW said...

I've never written before, but Ive been reading and loving your blog for a while now.
I had a miscariage in December and found out in February I have cancer, so I hear you on the word needed for rage, frustration, heartbreak and despair (and I would add confusion and bitterness to my own personal list).
I don't have much else helpful to say. The idea of trying to get pregnant again (after all this cancer stuff is figured out) terrifies me, but I know I will get through whatever happens. And I know you will too, or at least am pretty sure. I hope I get to meet my next baby sooner rather than later, but i'll try to be patient in the meantime. Keep your chin up.

Natasha said...

Wow, what a rollercoaster the last couple months. I wish there was something I could say to make it all better. Thinking of you...


Sending love. I'm so, so sorry. I feel like punching the Universe in the throat for you right now, but I best not.