Christmas Eve three years ago, I got the call at work from the nurse about my test results. We weren’t trying to get pregnant. I’m one of those very fertile people. They had me come in early because I was over 35. And I was happy as could be about our oops baby.
We were working with a skeleton crew, so there were only 5 of us left on the desk. I called the nurse back, and after checking my file and announced that it was “not a viable pregnancy”.
“Sorry?” I was confused. Her tone was nonchalant, perhaps already running late for her holiday plans. I didn’t think I understood her, because what she said didn’t register with the tone she used to say it.
“You’ll need to come in for an ultrasound, but with your levels of…” and I tuned out for a moment trying to connect the dots, my throat burning, tears running down my cheeks, not knowing until that moment how much I loved that baby. I had known for less than two weeks. I heard the last bit, “It is consistent with an ectopic pregnancy.”
“But you won’t know for certain until I get the ultrasound, right?” My voice became high-pitched something I have always hated and had no control over. I choked back the news, and my homicidal thoughts toward this woman who must have told one too many women this for her to be so casual about it.
“There is no way that this is a viable pregnancy. Your levels are too high.”
“Can I come in now for an ultrasound?” She then explained to me that there was no one around but her, that there was no clinic, nowhere on Christmas eve that I could get an ultrasound. I begged her to just do it herself. She could not, something about liability. I called the hospital and made an appointment the day after Christmas. I asked her if I should take the Progesterone just in case. My levels are so low that it is a certain miscarriage if I don’t take it for the first three months.
“If it makes you feel better.”
I picked it up at the pharmacist, crying while I stood in line. I had to ask him if it would be a problem, being that this was an ectopic, and not viable. I said it, not viable. I wasn’t making much sense, but neither did this. He tapped my hand uncomfortably with his index finger and said that would be fine. Go ahead and take it.
I got home that night, and we played Merry Christmas trying to be present for our two kids and not think about it. I had two glasses of wine and a couple of cigarettes after the kids went to bed. They each made me sick, an indecent joke.
The day after Christmas, my stepdaughter was with her mom, and my husband and I had no one to watch my two and a half year old. The three of us trudged off to the appointment.
They stayed in the room with me, as a tech at the hospital, cheery with the Christmas spirit who didn’t fully get why I was there, did the exam.
“There’s the baby.” She said it like the captain of the cheerleading squad. I hated her.
I said nothing, I didn’t cry, I couldn’t speak. How could she be so cavalier.
“Do you want to see the new baby?” she said to my small son. Something clicked in my head. I looked at my husband, afraid to breathe.
“The baby? The baby is in the right place?” I said it, afraid to ask, afraid to hope, afraid to have my son see me get as angry as I felt I’d get. More afraid to let him see me cry.
“Right there. See?” She was confused, and remained so as my husband and I both started to laugh, and cry. My son frantically asking my husband why mommy was crying so hard.
Eight months later, I had a healthy nine pound seven ounce boy.
How does this relate to writing? Don’t let anyone tell you what is viable. Write your story just try to get it down the best way you can, but don’t be defeated just because of what someone who knows better thinks. There will always be better writers than you, but maybe not better ones to write your story. I’m not saying be oblivious, but why not keep hope alive that you have something amazing. Maybe somehow it’s going to work out.
Just maybe everyone else is wrong. Ever have a moment when it all clicked, and for once you were just so damn right? I hope so.