The last thing I want to do is sit and pontificate about the differences between men and women...and in the process drag my readers down that road with me. As we all know, there are many...from the anatomically obvious to the philosophical (both drove me absolutely mad in college. If it's not a man thinking with the little head, it's a man thinking with an alien brain). And this post is not meant to demonize men, or their thought processes, in any way. But if it flips the switch on in any man reading this, then I have done the world (and quite possibly myself) a huge favor.
Today was my last follow-up doctor's appointment with my OB-GYN. We were to go over the test results from testing done at the hospital and perhaps develop a plan for the next 3-6 months. I've been weepy for 2 days just thinking about this appointment. I, as you may have gathered, have a very vivid imagination. I have written and acted out entire scenarios in my head...as in "I will never be able to have a baby"..."I will have to have a radical hysterectomy because something is seriously wrong with the bits and pieces"..."I am currently pregnant with triplets" (yeah, I have no idea how this one came about. I did not say it was a rational imagination, simply vivid. Great for blogging and novels, bad for marriage and general sanity). The morning came and went and the hour of information came. Or perhaps I should say non-information...AKA Square One. All of those tests that we approved? Slices of our son's heel and the poking and prodding of my placenta? All came back normal. Absolutely, positively nothing was wrong. Except that I have a memory (and on Friday, a tattoo) that says something was terribly wrong. Dr. Jackson, as compassionate and sympathetic as she is (unlike her co-worker, crazy Dr. High), could only look at me and say "I'm sorry. This is rare and we don't know anything about it. You did everything you could to prevent it. It may happen again, it may not. There is nothing to point to." And that sound that drivers on Man-O-War heard was the heart-breaking squeal of my world crashing in upon itself.
Now, to further demonstrate the differences in the 2 genders, let me say that I'm pretty sure this is what my husband heard:
"Everything looked great on the tests. All of the results came back normal. I'm not sure why it happened, but it's very rare. You should try again, as it will most likely not happen again. In fact, let me step out of the room so that you may mount your wife right on this exam table. Or, if that's too uncomfortable, I also have a couch in my office." So, while I stood in the parking lot of the doctor's office and cried about "normal" test results and uncertain outcomes, my husband was looking at me and saying "hey, no news is good news"....which I think really only applies when you're waiting to hear if someone has been executed. We should not go throwing that phrase around, expecting to be buoyed by the hopefulness of it all.
I cried all the way home. I cried while I mowed the grass. I cried while talking to my mother on the phone. I cried into my bourbon in the shower. And as hot water ran down my back, I realized that I am illogically angry with my husband. I am angry because what Dr. Jackson told me today made me sad and frustrated. Because he cannot accept that I am sad and frustrated, it is like telling me that what I am feeling is irrational...that I should welcome this news, not anticipate the worst case scenario. I think I have a right to see this "information" as frustrating. When all I want is an answer, a reason for why...I get theoretical answers, possible reasons. I want to know that I did not kill my own son. And when my husband looks at me and says, smiling, "it's all good," I want to inflict pain in a way that is not covered in the "for better or worse" part.
I know that I did not harm Shep. I know, in my heart of hearts, that I did everything I possibly could to ensure his safety and development (I mean, I gave up wine and lunch meat and sushi. And I have had more urine on my hands than aficionados of the golden shower. That is a mother's love). But at the same time, I want someone else (besides my OB-GYN and preferably my husband) to say "you did everything you could. This is frustrating news." Men are fixers. He sees tears and he wants to soothe me with his pocket of rainbows. But women just want their emotions to be accepted. Yes, this really, really really f'ing sucks. Period. End of story. No "but" or "think of it this way"...it just sucks. I will eventually always come around to the bright and cheery side of things, but in the parking lot of the doctor's office, I just want to hear "yes, I know. You're right."
So, take a note, men. Hammers and wrenches are for Saturday morning projects. Not everything that seems broken must be fixed. Sometimes, it's just broken.