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The wait of the world

Once we'd learned the embryo no longer had a heartbeat, we asked for an immediate appointment for a D&C. The nurse who was making the arrangements consulted her schedule, then pointed out that my usual doctor happened to be in the OR that day, so he'd be the one to do the operation. I thanked her for her help, and resisted the urge to say, "I don't care who does it — just get it out of me."

I guess I was feeling a lot less detached than I'd felt in the exam room.

In order to have it performed that day, I'd have to be an "add-on": they'd see me in the OR after the rest of the day's scheduled cases had been completed. They couldn't say when, but would call when they were ready for me.

It was a long wait. A long, hopeless, foodless, drinkless wait.

It didn't make sense to drive home, so Paul and I wandered aimlessly downtown. We walked down by the lake for a while, watching the ducks and trying to process what lay ahead. We went to the bookstore to buy a distraction or two, where I couldn't help mocking the nice young man who earnestly wished us a nice day. We sat in a Starbucks for hours, having nabbed two comfortable armchairs. Paul drank chai and read while I cadged the occasional ice cube and cried discreetly. (In case you ever need this information, Starbucks' unbleached napkins are hard on a delicate nostril.)

Our chairs looked through a large plate glass window onto a busy pedestrian mall. Most of the busy pedestrians in question had babies, strollers, toddlers, preschoolers, or some combination thereof. Many of them, it seemed, were visibly pregnant. They all looked entirely carefree, seen through my personal bloodshot lens. I tried not to stare. I also tried not to be noticed as I cried. Hard to avoid when everyone in the coffee shop is trying to glare you out of the comfy chair you've been monopolizing for two hours.

It all made for a monumentally wretched day — the wait, the lack of privacy, the sadness I felt I couldn't politely show. And the worst was yet to come. As I told the nice young man at the bookstore, "Why, this day just keeps getting better and better!"