Five years and a couple weeks

We took Tiny bowling the other day during the middle of the day. We had the employees raise the bumpers and they even brought out this rack that allowed Tiny to roll the ball down a slope and onto the lane. Tiny’s ball was orange and six pounds, which was still too heavy for her. Of course, having a ball in her favorite color did not deter her from wanting to accumulate a rainbow of bowling balls.

There were two older men practicing separately at the other end of the alley and, briefly, a young couple only a few lanes away from us. They kept smiling at Tiny’s antics. We played two games. Tiny was ecstatic pretty much the entire time, and she delighted over repeating the order in which we would take our turns. Josh and I were both incredibly rusty. I couldn’t remember the last time I bowled, especially during the middle of the day. It was fun. Well, it’s fun to see Tiny have fun, anyway.

The next evening, I remembered. It was even the same bowling alley, and we were two lanes over.

Five years and a couple weeks ago was my 29th birthday. I’d just found out I was pregnant, but not really. Not in a way that would make a baby, just in a way that would shatter me. And I knew it. I knew what was coming because it was the 4th or 5th time. I didn’t want to see my friends or go out to dinner or make a fuss over my stupid birthday. It was such a burden to pretend. The burden wasn’t in pretending I was happy—that level of emotional fakery is impossible for me. I couldn’t even pretend I was managing, and I wouldn’t have been able to look at that feeling reflected back to me in people’s concern. Josh asked if maybe I’d like to go bowling in the middle of the day. And I remember thinking that seemed like a perfectly good, mindless way to distract myself.

My OBGYN called during our game. She gave me the medical details of what I already knew and asked me what I wanted to do. Did I want to wait and see if it would resolve itself? Especially in light of what she strongly suspected was a previous ectopic pregnancy? No. I did not want to wait and see. My body would make me sick holding onto that pregnancy, just like it had for the others; it could do a lot more than just wreck my hormones, my skin, and make my hair fall out. She told me she’d call in a prescription for me at the pharmacy in her building and that I should pick it up the next morning and come immediately to her office.

So that’s what I did. I went in, pulled my pants down a little on the right side, she swabbed me with alcohol soaked gauze and then she gave me an injection near my hip. That was it. After trying for 3 years, I went back on the pill for the next 9 months.

That summer, I was finally okay enough to realize that if I was never able to be a parent I could still find a way to lead a meaningful life. My mindset was totally different when we started trying again, but we didn’t have to try long. My next pregnancy was finally the real deal, and I so thoroughly got what I wanted that this delayed echo of grief is merely just that.

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