Grace is a sticky something I’d like to live into. In prose, it’s easy to convince you I have it, but grace is mysterious, perceived, situational. I do believe that grace is a gift we all have access to. It’s just that I don’t unwrap it all that often—especially on the freeway. So since some of you were so kind to say that I have handled this crazy, unexpected pregnancy with grace, I would like to prove to you that I haven’t. At least not 100% of the time, or really even 25–30%…
As I checked in for my third ultrasound, the front desk admin presented me with a form: “We need you to decide how you want your ultrasound pictures delivered. Now they can be texted or emailed so that you can easily share them.”
I was not planning on sharing pictures of my hopefully intact fallopian tubes with a list of family and friends. But I’m sure normal pregnant ladies would appreciate the option. I looked at her as if she had said, “We need you to decide whether you’d like to rest your feet in a tub full of bunnies during the ultrasound.” Hmmm… I like bunnies. They’re soft. But will they bite my feet? Let’s skip the bunnies. That’s what it’s like to give this form to a woman who thinks she might have an ectopic pregnancy.
I ended up sputtering, “I don’t CARE,” using my laser eyes as a backup communication method. “Well you can always change your mind later,” she said.
(So watch out for an email with unintelligible black and white photos of my insides! The proper response will be, “What lovely tubes you have.”)
One day, in the waiting room, I saw an old college friend of mine. This friend had just moved back to town, very pregnant with her second child.
I really, really like this friend, and she’d clearly just had her baby in the last week or so, and was coming in for a follow-up. This is when you go over and give a warm hug and snuggle the fuzz on the sweet baby’s head.
Asking me to do that would have been like saying, “Honey badger, go pet the baby. Your long claws, hissing sounds, and irrational brain are perfect for the job!” Instead, I used my best friend Hannah, who had come with me, as a shield and remained cowering behind her in a corner until the danger passed.
There was only one checkout attendant I would see to schedule follow-ups at the doctor’s office. “Carina’s free,” they would say. “No thanks. I’m waiting for Dena.” Dena saw the weary look in my eyes and went to fetch nurses to ask for follow-up information—something she could have sent me to do.
After they’d seen a yolk sac in my uterus, but before they saw the baby’s heartbeat, I was passed into the stream of normal pregnant ladies and told to make an appointment for a “normal OB workup,” which I guess is the first appointment you would traditionally have when you were pregnant. Apparently only Carina scheduled those appointments.
“Congratulations!” she said. I looked at her with my laser eyes. First I wanted to schedule my last acute ultrasound—the one in which we would ultimately see the heartbeat and feel a palpable sense of ease. “Let’s get that OB workup scheduled. If we don’t pick a date, your doctor could book up and you could miss the chance.”
“I need to schedule the acute ultrasound first.”
“But her dates really fill up!”
I paused to calibrate how to respond in Carina’s alien language…
“I’m overwhelmed. Can we start with the acute ultrasound?”
Carina reluctantly complied, feeling that if she persisted I would scratch her. We got the OB workup in, then she said, “We have a pregnancy and newborns class that all new patients and patients whose youngest child is three or older take. Normally it’s mandatory, but you may choose.”
This was too much. Dena would never have asked me to take this class. She could read people. She would know by the feral look in my eyes that they didn’t want me around first-time pregnant women. Not now. Not with my crazy story and my wild children. It was better to let others have their innocence and let me have a nap. Dena would have said, “For some patients we offer lobotomies. Would you like one?” And I would have said, “Are there bunnies?”
So you see, using laser eyes as your go-to response isn’t exactly grace-full. Still, after a very intense and unexpected start to this pregnancy, we are dealing with miraculous expansion instead of loss.
I’ve had dear friends deal with infertility and multiple miscarriages, and from them I know that waiting rooms at OB-GYN offices can be treacherous and office staff trying. But I didn’t get it until I sat in the waiting room uncomfortably watching pregnant women parade in and out as I waited to have poison injected into my leg, or to have my tubes checked to see if they might explode.
So I would like to shout out my friends and readers who have suffered loss and had to sit amongst those who appear to be happy, having dreams fulfilled. I know you feel like you haven’t been perfect, but you have been kind to others whose fortunes at times seemed like an assault on your karma. It hasn’t gone unnoticed.