I've always enjoyed the poem: "La Musee des Beaux Arts" by WH Auden. I generally like Auden's poetry, but there was something special about this one. Or perhaps it's because I had to do a lit crit on some poem sometime when I was about 14 and my father suggested this one so I learnt if off by heart and my father said lots of interesting things about it. Anyway, it's come to mind a lot over the last few days. Go and have a quick look before you go on. I think typepad will open a new page so you won't even navigate away from here.
Walking out of the clinic on Tuesday was a weird experience (I've realised after all that stuff about how I care about spelling and punctuation that there are some words I habitually spell wrong. Wierd/weird is one of them. I have to correct it every time). It's been a week of beautiful weather in the UK. So the front of the hospital was full of people having a nice day. Sunning themselves on benches, chatting with their friends, having a quiet sandwich break. As H and I clung together, he reluctant to get in the taxi that would carry him back to his training course, I reluctant to dive into the hospital to get my repeat prescription for progesterone and heparin, we both remarked that it felt all wrong. I suddenly understood why films do things the symbolic way. I always laugh when it happens, but it's so necessary, so right. That when the tragedy is occurring, that the external world recognises it and responds accordingly. An eclipse, thunder and lightening, pouring, torrential rain. That's what we felt and that's how the world should have responded to us. But instead, like the scene as Icarus crashes into the ocean, everyone gets on with their lives. They don't notice the pain, because it's not visible enough, we're trained to keep it in.
Monday night was even worse on that basis, the dinner with my entire family to celebrate my mother's 70th birthday. I had booked the restaurant, organised the cake, bought the present, made the card. Everyone knew about our situation. I knew that we would get bad news the following morning. I know you were still hoping for us at that point, and I know my family was, but I knew after that first ultrasound that things weren't going to go our way. So I barely held it together through dinner, as my brothers and SILs talked about their beautiful sons and the lovely things they've done recently. My father gave my mother a picture of her taken exactly 40 years ago at the Grand Canyon, when she would have been about 2 weeks pregnant with me. My mother talked about how much happier she was at this birthday than she was at her 60th. And I continued to barely hold it together - and smile - while my extraordinarily beautiful SIL got the waiter to take our picture around the table.
Once the meal was over I made sure that H and I paid first. As we got up to leave the others to finish their coffee, my SIL asked for another picture outside, as it would look better than one around the table. No, I said. No. I don't want there to be another picture taken of this evening. And then I lost it, and I left. I feel bad as my SIL is a lovely woman and she didn't mean to upset me. But I'm dreading anyone even showing us that first picture. And when I got home I broke down again and cried to H, shouldn't our pain infect the people around us? Shouldn't they feel it too? How can people who love us go on being so happy when our lives are falling apart? It doesn't feel right.
And then I feel horrible for wanting other people to feel miserable. I honestly don't want them to suffer, but I do want some acknowledgement that our lives suck right now. Just like I want the weather to reflect our pain. Our families all know, and told H when he called them how sorry they were. But no one has done anything other than send an email (my mother). No calls, no other emails, not even a text message. One of my college friends called Tuesday night, and another has texted me. One has emailed. Why doesn't my family get it? I don't really want to talk about it but I do want to know that they are thinking of us, however impotent they are to help.
But I guess the answer is that this doesn't really affect their lives. Of course they are sad for us, but then they have to get up to feed their baby in the middle of the night, or go to that important meeting, and that's their life and it takes over. And that's all fine and normal. But it's hard to take when it feels right now as if this sadness that I feel is never going to go away. Maybe that's right, maybe that's true. I know the sadness will get easier (much easier) to deal with and I know we will agitate for our next cycle and in time we will either have another baby or we will move on in other ways. But I think I know that there will always be a part of me that will mourn this loss. Our 22 January 2007 baby. The baby that never really existed. Certainly I will never look at a positive peestick with the same joy again.
This post hasn't really ended up where I thought it was going. It was going to be a musing on how suffering is so hard to understand, from an intellectual perspective. But I see that it's too raw, too present for me right now for me to be able to take that intellectual position.
I remain awed and cared for by all your comments over the last three days. Words can't thank you enough.