When It’s Not The Ending They Expected
Friday 2/5 – Unexpected Ending Drama
“How’s the baby….?”
The question hung in the air Friday afternoon. My stomach clenched.
“There was no baby…” I said quietly.
“No baby?? That can’t be…the response, it was so good. I didn’t see you again…”
Tears burned in my eyes. I shook my head hard. I forced myself to be matter of fact. “No baby,” I told the acupuncturist — whom I’d last seen more than six years ago. He and my able team at the Stanford Medical Center had once helped me and my husband to create perfect embryos. My uterine lining, according to the ultrasounds after acupuncture was rich, fertile, ready to receive.
The ending wasn’t what any of us expected.
Years later and he still remembers. It wasn’t just me caught sideways.
I’d thought of seeing Dr. Needles again for health issues in the years since — issues totally unrelated to my infertility, but I couldn’t bring myself to go back to his office on the leafy outer ring of the campus. Until now. This time a nagging respiratory infection inflaming my asthma was my primary concern.
Pumped up on steroids for more than a week (and feeling volatile consequently), I turned my car down the street to the low-slung office building. I attempted a deep breath and pulled open the door. Beyond the reception desk down the hall were treatment rooms with cheerful skylights and peaceful music playing on a CD player. The table laying in the middle of the room held a comfortable pillow, a crisp smooth sheet over a cushioned tabletop. Nothing had changed. Not. one. thing. It was still more spa than clinical.
The needles placed, the music played. The door closed quietly behind the doctor. Within minutes the tiny needles seemed to reach deep into my heart unlocking emotions, thoughts I fully believed until that point I’d mastered. Ghosts filled the room. Tears trickled slowly, steadily across my cheeks pooling in my ears as my head lay cushioned and confounded. Back to the scene of such promise. I relented, let the emotions sweep through me, accepting the sadness. The release did more than open my lungs.
Upon returning home, full body sobs consumed me as I haltingly tried to describe the episode to Alex. Still more release.
Cathartic. Unexpected, certainly, but the experience underscored that there are reminders and reconciliations that go far beyond what we anticipate. It’s one thing for us to pick up the pieces, to put one foot in front of the other, but layer on the assumptions of others and there lie different sorts of stumbling blocks capable of tripping us up.
Further evidence came in observing an exchange on a forum discussion about Silent Sorority.
“I bought [Silent Sorority] for my mother and MIL so that they could better understand the situation. While reading, my mother was expecting the “happy ending” of [Pamela] adopting. I was just shaking my head at how she missed the point. [Pamela] is living childfree.)”
“I’d have been shaking my head too. My [husband] saw the title and asked ‘so she adopted?’ as if that was the one expected outcome.”
It’s not often we get an unfiltered window into other people’s thoughts about us, our actions, our lives. We have hunches, sure, but when you hear it spelled out it can be off-putting, jarring even. Expectations beyond our own cause us to remember, to review our decisions, to wonder how we ever put one foot in front of the other.
Fortunately, I’m stronger now; my steps more certain, my path clear.