mercoledì, maggio 11, 2016

Well, that was a strange day.

I went to see my gynecologist this afternoon, and given this was around, by our estimates, 11 weeks - which is the age where the last fetus died - I was feeling odd in the lead-up. Nerves, I guess. So far as I feel nerves, which when it doesn't come to public speaking just comes out as a sort of carefully suspended existential numbness.

And, lately, the manic and somehow comforting repetition of a strange version I'd recently read in some weird corner of the internet of the five remembrances (a skittled version of this, and yes, it is striking me that my brain is insisting on a version which doesn't mention being the heir of my actions; maybe I'm not ready for that yet):

I will lose my youth, my health, my loved ones, all I hold dear, and finally life itself, by the very nature of being human. 

So I went in, and waited. Then peeing in the cup, seeing that my blood pressure has climbed back up to the dizzy heights it hit when I was pregnant with Godzilla - fine, I thought, finally a problem I reckon I know how to manage - and then getting vaginally wanded by the gynecologist.

Almost as soon as the stick went in, she got this fucking look on her face. German words tell you everything; German faces tell you nothing. The last gynecologist, as soon as he got a look at the fetus that had died, hardly changed expression at all and immediately said "it's not okay"; I knew, immediately, it was dead. This one said nothing and just got a look on her face like she'd been expecting chocolate and got lemony dogshit. I waited.

"It's so big," she said.

Fuck, I thought, in a mighty rush of relief and annoyance with the inscrutability of German Resting Face. "Is it okay?"

"Oh yes. Moving around a lot, good heartbeat. But I think we need to revise the due date," she said, looking about as perturbed by that as the last gynecologist had looked at having to tell me my baby was dead.

Fucking Germany, I love you, you socially retarded ass of a country.

The baby looks beautiful. It has toes, and it was darting around as far as it could, already being big enough to seem a bit crowded.

So she reckoned I was at week 12, and we chatted about how useful testing would be for Down's Syndrome. I was of the mind that though I'd decided not to terminate the pregnancy in any case it would be good to know how it was going to come out; she was of the opinion that if I was determined not to get an abortion I might as well not bother with the tests, since the range of health issues and abilities or lack thereof in Down's kids was so huge that even a sure positive wasn't going to usefully prepare me for what would come out.


This is May, in case you haven't noticed. Which in Europe is almost as useless a month for trying to get things done in as August, because of all the holidays. The French know it and admit it with all sorts of sayings and proverbs. Le mois de mai, on se rigolait. En mai fais ce qu'il te plait. Putain, abruti parasseux, fais pas comme c'est le mois de mai.  Germans don't have a proverb about how little they work in May, but they don't work that much in May. They really don't work that much at all, I'm realizing. This place is at least as half-assed as Italy. It's just better organized about it. Which I appreciate.

And on top of May being rotten with holidays, my new gynecologist is going on holiday the week before I go to Canada, and on top of that, it's a busy practice; I guess this city is full of women who'd rather see a lady gynecologist, and there aren't enough of them. Which is a long way to say that the clerk and I were having a hard time finding an appointment.

Finally, she decided that I'd better see the other gynecologist at the practice. She told that gynecologist's assistant, who was passing, to ask the other gynecologist to call her and check in that that was okay. The other gynecologist was seeing a different woman - one, I realized later, who had come into the practice at the same time as me, and who I had waved ahead of me at the desk because she looked so wiped out.

The clerk and I waited, and waited, and the other gynecologist's assistant came back out, looking perturbed, but her being German, for all I knew she could have been planning her fucking wedding dinner or something.

"What gives?" asked the clerk who was helping me. "Why hasn't the doctor called back?"

The assistant looked at me, and said something about her being busy.

"Busy with what?" asked my clerk, annoyed.

"The kid -" she said, and I saw her mime out of the corner of my eye - she held her hand over her stomach, and made a quick crossing motion, which in its eloquence was about as good as this. And it hit me about as profoundly as it had when I looked up the ASL for "miscarriage" in a crossover moment of mourning and interest in gestural language back in January. "Now do you understand?" she asked my clerk roughly.

I think I made some sort of sound; at any rate, they saw that I had seen. It was a very odd moment, and got a little odder. The clerk asked me to call in the morning to make the appointment, since the doctor couldn't talk then, and at that moment the other gynecologist called her to tell her she couldn't talk then, and then I remembered my old gynecologist making an almost exactly similar call to his front desk while he was in the middle of explaining the death of my baby to me.

So, I left. Muttering something about how I was sorry about the other lady's situation. And I left, and nearly burst into tears.

To suddenly realize that a woman, in the next room maybe ten feet from where I had been lying down with an ultrasound wand up my twat and being reassured over what had been my uttermost fear that morning, was living that nightmare I lived four or five months ago - this emotion, if it even is an emotion and not something bigger than an emotion, is a whole new emotion to me.

As far as I understand, there is no word for it. It's like some wall came tumbling down between me and the universe. A wall that kept my pain in, and other people's pain out.

And as I stood at the tram stop, and looked at all the babies and little kids there in their prams with their mothers hovering over them - all these little babies and little kids who hadn't died on a crowded tram stop of people who hadn't died - all that pain and all those beautiful creature and all the ways that we were all still alive and how utterly random it was that we had ever existed at all - something fundamental and unnameable about existence as a shared or at least universal experience came crashing in on me in a way that was beyond pleasant or unpleasant.

All it's left me with at this point is the conviction that we have to be kind to each other.