Saturday, November 10, 2007

Real Life on TV

The other day my mom told me about an episode of "Brothers & Sisters," a show I have never seen. In the episode, one of the characters has a miscarriage, and then a D & C (I had a D & E). I decided to watch it...

The beginning of the show started with the excitement of having just discovered the pregnancy. Because I knew what was going to happen, I kept waiting for the sad event to happen. She went to the OBGYN and had an ultrasound. I felt like in a way I was reliving my own experience, except she had no idea what was about to happen, and I did. The doctor looked at the screen, expecting everything to be fine, and then adjusted the screen, staring at it more closely for a few moments. At this point, the woman sensed something was wrong.

I remember watching the face of my ultrasound technician, laying there at 1:30 in the morning. She looked for an extra amount of time on the screen, while Michael and I both held each others' hands and our breath in anticipation. Deep down we knew the news was bad, especially as we studied her face and saw in her eyes a hopelessness as she spent extra time searching the screen for some sign of life.

The doctor on the show then told the woman, "I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you, but I can't find a heartbeat." Those were the same words we heard that night, and the memory of it hit me all over again.

Later in the episode the woman admits she can't bring herself to drink a cup of coffee. That would somehow validate the truth that she no longer needs to be aware of what she eats or drinks-I remember going through that same thought process. At the end of the show, after her surgery, the woman said to her mom, "I think I just need to be sad for a while." Only someone who has experienced that kind of loss can understand the true depth of those words.

What I've learned through this whole process is that there are times when I just need to embrace the sadness that washes over me. Sometimes the sadness hits as a direct response to something, like seeing a pregnant woman or a brand new infant or getting an email from a pregnant friend. But sometimes it's a bit more subtle, when it's just a "normal" day, yet somewhere deep down I feel a little empty, like a piece of me is missing.

I've noticed that the sad moments have decreased in frequency, though they still happen. And I think as time moves on, they will continue to decrease in amount though not always in intensity. Part of me knows that these sad moments will never completely disappear, and truthfully, I don't want them to.

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