As I leave the hospital,
the place where both of our babies were born,
and handed to us,
and first fed by me,
and diapered by you,
I hit a sea of blue scrubs, all in different shades and tones.
When I first pulled up this morning, for an early test, I thought that it would be like living out a Grey’s Anatomy fantasy. I was here so early that I even got the mommy spot, right next to the elevator. I was here before most of the doctors and staff members, before there was a line at the always-crowded-coffee-cart, before some of the elevators had even taken their first trip of the day.
But, now, as I leave, it seems to be right at start time for most of the docs and nurses and other professionals. I walked through a deluge of navy scrubs (do you think this is the signature color of “attendings” like in Grey’s?). There were light blue scrubs, and darker light blue scrubs, and aqua scrubs, and teal scrubs, and a lot of stethoscopes, and a few white coats.
I have been spending so much time here lately, seeing different specialists and having different tests, usually with you by my side, so it’s lost some of its power for me. Every time I come here of course I see the pregnant women and the expectant families, but it feels less viscerally painful now. Now, I feel like I have some control in the matter.
Except, this morning, as I left my test, and headed towards the elevators on the second floor, I walked up to an already open elevator, filled with handful of men who I imagine to be season doctors, all in white coats and with gray in their hair.
One of the doctors leaned forward a bit to see who I was and, before I could ask them if they were going up or down, thought I already kind of knew the answer, I saw that it was the doctor took away our ability to have another baby.
Ok. I’ll pause. That was just extremely mellow dramatic as we all know that he did not take away our ability to have another baby anymore than anyone else who was involved in this process did except for the fact that he is the one who literally gave you the vasectomy that started the end of some of our journeys and the beginning of others. A move that caused us both tremendous pain over the years. You can argue that his caused you more pain and I won’t even try to fight with you on that one.
It’s not a zero-sum game nor is it a fight that I’d ever want to win.
But, while much of your pain was remedied with bags of frozen peas and video games, mine has been, too often, inescapable.
You know better than anyone that the new book (for which you wrote!!!) is the story of our murky quest to expand our family after postpartum depression and also ways in which all families can expand. Just like with the first book, I have an amazing indexer, Ronnie, and she has provided me with the most thorough indexes imaginable. I thought she had outdone herself with the first book by indexing the word “pineapple” which always struck me as particularly funny. This time however she took us to a whole new stratosphere.
While there are many hilarious and random entries in the index for baby ever after, none compares to
You often tease me and say that I tell everyone we meet, everywhere we go, that you have had a vasectomy and though that is a slight exaggeration I see what you’re saying. It was only recently that I explained to you that it is a matter of self protection for me. As a 34-year-old woman I am constantly faced with questions and answers and when I say that I think I’m done having children and people respond with a coy eyebrow raise and a “Well, you never know…”
it’s my way of telling them that yes, yes I do know and no, if we do have another baby it will not be by happy accident. This morning when I saw the doctor who (which, I must tell you, the computer autocorrected to say Doctor Who, and I know you will appreciate this) gave you the old snip snip I didn’t have my armor on. I didn’t expect to be hit with the memory of that awful January morning, when I was still in the throes of my severe postpartum depression, in the emergency room bleeding uncontrollably, thinking that they were going to have to perform a hysterectomy on me, as you had to leave me for your 2 PM vasectomy appointment upstairs. The truth, as they say, can be stranger than fiction. I did not lose my ability to bear children that day
but we all know how it went for you.
We made that (hasty vasectomy!) choice using the information we had, and, at that point, with me so raw and suffering so deeply and causing suffering among all of the people who loved me, I know that you were trying to take matters into your hands in the only way you knew how. By having a (hastyyyyy) vasectomy, you were not going to let this happen to me — to us — again. We did not think to ask the doctor to bank sperm for us, just in case. We did not know to wait a few more months until things had calmed down.
I was 28, you were 31, and we were lost in the abyss that is postpartum depression.
So, I saw your doctor this morning and my heart stopped a little bit but I kept going and I passed more physicians stopping to say hello to the ones I knew, I passed the coffee cart as it became more and more crowded and I peeped the good soft pretzels but decided it was too long of a wait, and I did not text you even though I wanted to because I thought if I did, I might cry. I walked back out to my mommy spot and though I feel like a mommy more than ever, it can still sting. Or ache.
Of course on my way out I saw a woman in a black maternity T-shirt. Her horizontal stripes accentuating her cute baby belly and I felt nothing but happiness for her. It just felt really, really weird.
Today you and I are stronger than ever before and I love you more than ever before and you know that I am obsessed with you and barely know how to go in our without speaking with you and still I acknowledge that we have lost a lot together — things both tangible and intangible — I won’t share too much here or I will potentially spoil too much of our story, and that would be bad author etiquette for me but I just want to say that I love you, I’m sorry for everything, even though I know you will tell me not to be and that nothing is my fault. I’m sorry and I apologize and I’m sorry and that I am regretful.
But, one thing you don’t know is that this morning, before you woke up, and before the sun had risen in the sky, I was thinking about how when you turn 40 Belle will turn 12. I thought about what it would be like for us if we had another baby when you are 40 with our children 12 and eight years apart and what it would be like to have our child graduate from high school with you being the same age that my parents are now as I am 34 years old. And didn’t scare me but it also didn’t seduce me. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it can hurt and, at the same time, I feel more certain than ever that we will figure it out.
I’ve been dictating this message and I’m now close to home slightly regretting my decision to not stop for that soft pretzel, but I know that I will walk in the doors and Lola will run to me, and Crosby he will jump on me, and I am optimistic that the kids will smooch me, but I know that you will kiss me, with one of your new and improved hello kisses, and I will feel OK again, because that’s who you are to me,
I’s what you’ve always been to me and who you’ve become to me.
It’s how you look to me.