Yesterday, I had to go back to my doctor's office. After my 4-week postpartum appointment back in June, I really, really, really did not want to step foot in that place again, at least not until I was pregnant again.
The medical building the clinic is in is really close to both our house and my office. For the last five months, I have figured out all kinds of crazy routes to avoid having to even drive past that place. If I'd see that parking lot, my mind would immediately go right back to the morning of May 7th, stumbling around in the rain, frantically scanning the sea of vehicles for our car through the thickest of tears. Pulling out of the lot into busy traffic, secretly hoping someone would run a red light and put me out of my misery.
So yeah, there are just a lot of pretty traumatic memories attached to that place, and I was really nervous about going there again, especially by myself.
But I did, and you know what? It was really not that bad at all.
I walk in, and of course the first thing I see is a huge, 38 weeks+ belly signing in ahead of me. No tears. It doesn't really bother me, honest. Then as I'm waiting to get called back, there's a couple 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over a long strip of ultrasound pictures. Instead of getting all sad, I actually smile. Really! I remember the day we were that excited couple. I let my mind wander back to the moment the Tech said, 'it's definitely a girl,' and your dad and I looked at each other and both exclaimed, 'really?!!' at exactly the same time, and was just...happy. Strangely, instead of feeling jealous of this random couple, I'm excited for them. I'm thankful that I have had the chance to experience that joy too (even if the ending wasn't what I thought and hoped it would be). I'm hopeful that I'll get to experience it again someday.
Later, when the nurse is taking my blood pressure, sees the tattoo on my wrist and cheerfully says, "5/8/10, what is that for?" I confidently say, "that's my daughter's birthday. She was stillborn." Then, when she says, "Oh I'm so sorry. How are you holding up?" I answer, "you know, it's really hard, but we're taking it day by day, and I'm doing okay." And I actually believe it.
Then I see my doctor. She tells me she saw me on the news back in July, asks me if I'm still blogging. I timidly tell her that I've actually started a pregnancy/infant loss support nonprofit. I fumble around in my purse, mumble something like, "I think I actually happen to have some cards in here somewhere..." I pull out a big stack of postcards, a bit self-conscience, worried she's going to think it's silly. But she looks at them, tears up, and says, "Kristin, I have goosebumps." She totally gets what we're trying to do, loves the idea. She gets dangerously close to the "maybe there is a reason why Stevie died" territory, but I let it slide because she's just so nice and making me feel so damn good about my self. She says, "you should be really proud of yourself." I say, "I am." And again, I actually believe it.
At the lab, I make small talk with the nurse who is drawing my blood. When she's able to find a vein right away and makes the comment, "you have really great blood," I refrain from saying, "actually, my blood sucks! It's what killed my daughter!" and instead smile and thank her for the strange compliment (whatever it means!)
I make an appointment to come back for another blood draw in a couple weeks, and leave feeling really, really, good. Strong. Hopeful. Human.
Yeah I know, it's really not like making it through a doctor's appointment is some huge accomplishment. But I think it just helped me to realize that even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, I am making progress. I'm not getting over it, but I'm getting through it. And if I squint my eyes hard enough, I am starting to see some light up ahead at the end of this tunnel.
Miss you, baby.
Not to be rude or anything, but....
4 hours ago