Looking Back: Baby Bump Face-Time

Found some sweet pictures on my phone: screen shots from our Face-Time conversation. Allia was away in NYC, interviewing Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver (of course), and after giving me a tour of her hotel room, she filled me in on her day.

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For the film Chappie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6bmTNadhJE Sigourney answered her question, “If you could have a robot programmed to do anything for you, what would you want it to do?”

“I think I’d want a robot companion. Like in olden times when women had a companion to sew with, and to sit with…” and then she teased, self-deprecatingly, that she was giving away too much about herself.

After her glamorous day, all we wanted to do was talk. So we talked, and before our conversation ended, we’d both talked to the baby (bump). And made some really attractive faces, laughing our way to the ‘Goodnight.’

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face time GetAttachment (1)That’s why we miss each other when she travels for work. Cause she is always so pretty.

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We did it.

The harder accomplishment? Not the getting pregnant. The telling my wife’s less-than-supportive parents that we are having a baby. Planning to have a baby. Conceived and lost the baby.

I don’t know what would have been harder: telling them we were about to have a healthy child, or telling them that we lost a baby after our 12 week ultrasound.

Her sister has been in Jamaica for almost 4 months. She is our buffer. For better or worse, she is our ally in this, and has been advocating on our behalf; pushing our names into the conversation, foregrounding our family values via her own beautiful daughters’ closeness with their aunties (especially my wife, who is L’s ‘best friend’). Sister has done the hard, face-to-face work of making us into people, rather than letting us be the hushed secret, awkward lull in the conversation.

After too many smashed hopes and dreams, hurt and regret over life moments with less love and support than we had (betting on a dark horse) hoped for from the overseas family, and a wedding day that left something to be desired in that department, … plane tickets changed, dresses bought, hopes raised and ultimately squashed…

we got a huge surprise when, after weeks of wondering whether, if and when, to tell her mother about our miscarriage, we had the conversation. The voice and face on the phone during our facetime conversation was one of support and sadness for our loss. Guided by Y’s questions and segues, we navigated the difficult parts with sighs, gracefully, and even with humour.

I was relieved beyond words to see the mending take place, as Allia was able to lift some of this weight off. To share her loss. To tell her mother how much her absence pained her during this time. My mom was away and throughout the time, at 33 years old, all I wanted was a hug from my mother. Enough to say it out loud, through tears. I cannot imagine, except to watch the love of my life go through it, in front of my eyes, how much this experience is transformed by the fear and foreboding that your pain will not register with the people who love you. That they will witness it coldly, or turn away when you need them most.

This did not happen. Daughters need their mothers, if that is who their heart is craving. Hearts need whoever taught them to beat. Whoever that was.

Moving forward, I feel more hopeful, that having experienced sadness, we might now look forward to sharing that joy in the next iteration of this journey. Now my clenched fists, clammed up heart and protective shell might soften … a little. Because I am a softy. Few people know this. I put up a good front. A walled kingdom, me against a whole country, an attitude, a feeling of being unwelcome. A front; the sign that says ‘this doesn’t affect me.’ but voicelessness does affect us; it erases us, undercuts us, makes us feel powerless. And the worst is the feeling that I can’t make this better for the person who matters most to me. I can’t rhetoric away years of culture, bias and conditioning. All my best tools, the ones that have served me before, are useless here. Because family hears family. I am on the outside.

It seems like a lousy solution. This false front. The wall is subtle protection against something close, closer, to home. Ineffective. When all we really wanted was to be embraced, for real. To share and be seen, human, in our suffering. You can’t see someone behind a wall. So it had to come down, even if it meant risking pie in the face, or stones thrown at from glass houses. Or any other metaphor that might fit. Down is the only way. Humbly.

So that now we can look back. Level. Square. And project hope forward.

Coming Through Sadness

On the other side of loss

there is hope and cliches

and supportive words,

like how ‘our bodies have high standards

they demand perfection; cells have to divide over and over,

perfectly,

in order to make a baby.

Your body knows when something isn’t quite perfect

and nature decides that it isn’t

the right time.”

Time to try again. And we will, after months, once she is ready. Once the bleeding stops. We will embrace replacing the sad would-be due dates and markers with new ones, happy ones.

We just celebrated our birthdays, ill-timed, but perfect actually

because we were surrounded by friends and family. First, at Copacabana for Brazilian food, then at a games night for Allia’s birthday. All our friends showered us with love and support. Big love.

And really, that is why telling people has made this easier. We still know what we want. Even funny posts on Lifebuzz, like those below, feel sweet and funny now.

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Rising Action, and Stop.

How do you tell a story

that seems to have a narrative arc –

it’s an arc I know

Or, I thought I did –

but then,

Stop.

I no longer know what I’m writing.

The time has marched forward and, yet, we have stopped moving.

I don’t know how this goes,

when the story I’m telling

gets co-opted

stolen from my mouth

by fate,

by biology

by science and statistics.

Our story is a horror story,

a tragedy

without any of the conventions,

none of the dignity that makes it feel purposeful,

– a genre I don’t know.

Because no one tells this story

It’s the behind closed doors,

avert your eyes,

smile sadly, head-shake –

and don’t really answer the ‘how are you today?’ questions.

The implied question? Mostly as fake as my thin-lipped, straight line smile.

Life makes a lie of this moment.

There is no real, welcome answer.

The story goes, ‘Fine, thank you. How are you?’

Out of habit.

This is not how it went down.

There is no courteous answer

in the honesty of this experience

and part of you regrets starting the story at all

because now you have to tell people

this isn’t the show they bought tickets to.

Our working title: Our story of having a baby. Smiles and Applause requisite.

New title:

Avoid.

Stall.

Avert eyes.

Swallow.

Revisit.

Come back to it,

when it is easier to digest.

Welcome to the freakshow.

The bigger the audience, the louder the collective gasp.

It’s easier to watch myself fall

when the audience is a screen

and no one

and anyone,

but not the person looking at my face.

Please take your seat,

you may want to sit down for it,

I will tell you the story

of Miscarriage.