On 27th of May, 2012 the Golden Gate bridge turned 75 years old. Many events were organized to celebrate this landmark day. K and I had also planned to join the crowds and the merriment. What we didn’t know is that this would end up being quite possibly the crappiest day of our lives.
Late evening, after an exhausting day spent protesting against the inevitable, I lost my 6.5 week old pregnancy for unknown reasons. I remember everything about that day so vividly. Sitting in the ER waiting for an interminably long time to hear the results of the final ultrasound. The sullen teenage girl who had sprained her foot and needed a crutch to walk. The middle-aged man wearing a Golden Gate 75th anniversary t-shirt. I remember even the inane thoughts running through my mind -would the teenager go home and argue with her mother? Did that man have a good time at the celebration? I wonder how crowded it got.
My last conscious memory before being wheeled in to the OT for an emergency D&C was that of the sweet nurse from triage expressing her condolences and of me thinking this is where I would have given birth had my baby survived. As I woke up after the procedure, I remember the anesthesiologist looking down at me with concern in his eyes. He smiled a sad smile and said how deeply sorry he was. My groggy brain couldn’t comprehend. Why was he sorry? Has someone died, I thought. And then it registered. My baby. Instinctively my hands sought out my belly. It had obviously never reached the swelly stage yet it felt achingly empty.
I was wheeled over to a recovery room. I will never forget the expression on K’s face as he walked into the room. His eyes were misty with unshed tears yet his entire being radiated love and concern for me. We drove back home quietly, the silence stretching out beyond us like a limitless chasm of numbing grief. He walked me to the bedroom. I sat down on the bed, the same bed where for two weeks daily I had spoken to my unborn child, already a mother from the day two lines turned pink. It had taken us more than a year to get there and yet it was all over in a span of a few hours.
He went to get a glass of water. The devil claimed my sanity in just that instant. I slammed the door shut and turned the lock. I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I needed to be alone. The walls were crowding in on me. It was suddenly stiflingly hot where moments back I had been shivering with cold. I wanted to scream aloud my burning rage, the ‘why-me’ I had been quelling for so long. But my grief was beyond noise of any sort.
The door knob turned. And then a few sharp knocks as he asked me why the door was locked. I stayed quiet. I had to face this alone. With him, in his arms I would lose myself in a torrent of tears. I needed to feel this primeval anger, to savor it almost. His knocks grew more urgent. I stood up. I did not want to hurt him and I know he was probably worried sick. I’m okay I shakily managed to say. Open the door, he insisted. I need to be alone I replied, my voice sounding distant and alien to me.
Silence, for a few moments. Then a frenzied rattling as he employed brute strength to pry the door open. The noise was awful. It was close to midnight. I could not take it anymore so I opened the lock, letting him in. He was angry with me, so angry. And terrified. Don’t ever do that again he growled at me and walked away, his stiff back betraying his fear. Even then, as now, he loved me to madness.
The next day, the maintenance guy came to repair the door which had taken a solid beating from all the rattling. He looked pissed. The knob could not be repaired, he said. We would have to manage. I wanted to shake him and tell him that I lost my baby, I didn’t give a rat’s ass to his sodding door. But of course I didn’t. Instead, I murmured an apology and an assurance that it wouldn’t happen again.
It’s been a year and a half since then and the door knob works only one way -when it is turned in the opposite direction. Today, however, as I got done with my yoga and opened the door it —opened! The right way I mean. Just like that. After months of struggling with it and cursing it relentlessly, today it just opened like it was never damaged.
It felt like a sign. Perhaps it is time for me also to forget the damage I have incurred on my self in this journey. Perhaps it is time to just live like it never happened!