a long long time ago, there was a baby beginning for us. there was the shock - i thought we were done! - and then five minutes later, there was the joy - we aren't done! - and then a few weeks later, there was a sharp burst of sadness and a more resolute we. aren't. done.
and then about a year or two later...came esmé.
about a week after i learned i was pregnant with that little thing, i slipped outside of lillie and grae's school. i don't remember much, but i do remember smiling hard and holding grae's mortified hand and walking while gasping to our land cruiser and driving us to the hospital. i limped gracefully in, smiled at the receptionist, and announced that i probably just broke my ankle. and could i please see someone about that, please? or did she have a cast i could throw on and we could just call it a day?
all the omanis in the waiting room covered their mouths and their smiles. dumb american. talk about drama. she thinks she's broken.
one man shook his head when we sat next to him and told me "you're not broken. you would be crying if you were broken."
well. after x-rays, they had to call the orthopedic surgeon. there would be screws and a plate and anesthesia. there were questions about how i had gotten to the hospital. did i have a driver or a husband waiting somewhere?
i told them i had driven myself. the surgeon looked at me and looked at grae and asked "how?" and grae replied "she just kept saying shit shit shit every time she had to shift."
wait. surgery? anesthesia? no no no! i had a brand new baby growing. and this one was the one! there was crying and a mortified grae and then a solution. i would have an epidural. given by a grinning doctor who announced, just prior to inserting the needle, that maybe i should reconsider. "are you sure you want me to do this? he asked. sure, i mumbled, trying to look away from the needle he was waving. "because i'm iraqi," he smiled. "and you're an american."
thank you, george bush.
i'm telling you all this to tell you this. after two surgeries and casts and crutches and showers given by my housemaid and monitored by a mortified grae and many, many months, everything worked out as they should. you know how this story ends.
but what i want to tell a few of my friends who could write the first paragraph in this post is that i feel you. i feel for you.
i spent the nine months of pre-esmé waiting for another miscarriage. one day, i was chatting with one of the other mothers at school and she said "karey! pat told my husband you were pregnant! i didn't know that!"
and i whispered "ohh. yeah. well. it's still a little early. we weren't really going to tell anyone for a while."
and she asked "how far along are you?
but it is, isn't it? it's all insane if you think about it. how things are made. how things break. who fixes the unfixable. who stays and who cannot. it's a heartbreaking tightrope walk every minute of every day. don't look down, don't look up, just fix your eyes straight ahead. there's tomorrow. there's another chance. there's better, there's worse, there's richer and poorer and ice cream for dinner and warm socks fresh from the dryer and sunsets that make you want to stick around to see it come back up again. there will be those shit shit shit moments and a whole lot of mortified.
but then there will be the one day when you finally find what you've been looking for...love or babies or whatever...man, it all just seems to have a way of finding you.
i think that's what i wanted to tell you.
gimme. gimme. gimme.