Friday afternoon, The Lovely Becky started bleeding. Bad bleeding, the kind we've run into before, the kind that says no soup for you. "We have to go to the emergency room," Becky said.
I couldn't believe it. Everything had gone just fine on Tuesday! How could things go south in the same fucking week? I knew we have a long way to go, that lots of things could cause this to end, but Jesus H. Christ, I hadn't even finished my touchdown dance yet.
The last time I cried—I mean really opened up and just sobbed my eyes out—was after our first miscarriage, in 2001. I didn't even let the tears rip when our last IVF went bust. Yesterday, I stood on the stairs, getting ready to put my shoes on, and I felt a wave of grief collapse over me. I took my shoes and hurled them up the stairs, throwing them as hard as I could. My eyes swelled and I prepared for the waterworks when I realized I couldn't do that to Becky. She wouldn't blame me, because she's lovely, but I couldn't saddle her with my emotional breakdown in addition to her own physical breakdown. I took a deep breath, grabbed a small chunk of control, and picked up my shoes. There would be plenty of time to lose my shit later.
We've seen medical staff for fertility-related matters enough that we know when things are really fucked. Their body language, the things they say, and especially the things they don't say, can give off a bad vibe that no amount of positive thinking can shield me from. As Becky told the nurses and doctors her symptoms, that vibe came as thick as amber covering an insect. The initial exam just made the amber harden around us. "It looks iffy," the doctor said as nicely as he could. "It doesn’t mean you're miscarrying, but it looks iffy."
But iffy does mean miscarrying for us, because our fertility script is more predictable than a bad horror movie. Despite being more or less a model married couple, we're the fornicating teenagers that are always getting impaled by the Golem of Childlessness. The doctors needed an ultrasound scan to tell for sure, but I sure as hell didn't.
The ultrasound tech, while friendly and very nice to us, went about his business in total fucking silence. I looked at the pixilated images like one of those hidden paintings, staring at it and waiting to see little pixels form a giant middle finger. Finally, after feeling like we had been at the hospital for two years instead of two hours, the tech finished. He couldn't tell us anything because that's the doctor's job. But he did tell us that the baby's heartbeat was 138. That's even stronger than it was on Tuesday.
The doctor arrived and delivered the unexpected: as far as they could tell, Becky and the baby were fine. The heartbeat was not only good, the baby had grown since Tuesday and was cruising right along the development chart. He told Becky to stay off her feet this weekend and let them know if anything else happened, but otherwise she was free to go.
Becky and I looked at each other, unsure how to react. We're still getting used to good news. So we did what we always do when we either want to celebrate or bury our sorrows: we drove to Culver's and picked up some Butterburgers.
I don't know if Ashton Kutcher has some kind of fertility punking machine, but if he does, I'd appreciate it if he would knock that shit off.
It also seems like an appropriate time to show my favorite movie scene of all time: