Monday, March 24, 2003

on the john 2.4: Avoiding awkward and uncomfortable confrontations...

Generally, I don't write 'on the johns' this often, however the news below necessitates a message. I must warn you, what you are about read is not for the faint of heart.

First a quick example/analogy. As many of you know, over the past year I have come to love soccer*. I of course am not the average spry quick footed soccer player you'd expect, I play goal keeper. I represent 7% of the worlds soccer players. I find that as the Goalie, there is a lot of pressure. Whenever the ball comes my way, I'm usually the last line of defense. I do my best, and confidently, I think I do pretty darn good. Alas I can't stop every shot (yet), and it really sucks when I don't.

I am very aware of every shot that becomes a goal that I needed to stop. What I hate, more than letting the shot go in even, is the fan that says "It's okay John, better luck next time." or "oooh, that one was close you'll get the next one." Don't get me wrong, I know they mean well, and aren't gloating or mocking me. It's just uncomfortable for them to bring it up, I know I missed... every one else knows I missed. No reason to broadcast it. It's a sad situation, is it poignant to acknowledge it? I would just rather my failure dwindle in to a forgotten maybe even unnoticed realm. Just gotta move on, there's a game to finish. Even worse, is after the fact, the games over, and people come up and try and console me for missed shots. I don't want to talk about it, it's awkward and weird. Forget about the missed shots, tell me I did awesome, congratulate me on that diving save I made in the 63rd minute where I fully laid out and stopped the ball with one hand and how you were so touched by it that your going to go home and write the event in your journal. Now this example might seem a little extreme, it is. It's the only thing I could think of to help you relate to the upcoming information and request.

On Wednesday the 19th of this month Lara and I went to the doctors office for our first visit. This is after I figured out the difference between an OBGYN and a general practitioner. We got to the Doctors office, a little nervous, kind of excited. We get in to see someone after a slew of paperwork is filled out. She weighs Lara, does some checks here and there, this is fine, that is fine, oh, your so and so many weeks along, everything is wonderful, bla bla bla.

Then she excitedly says, "Do you want to hear the heartbeat???" We of course were excited and said yes. She gets out this little contraption and puts it up to Lara's tummy. I can here this sound, and its kind of the way it sounds when you underwater. I couldn't make anything out though, and every slightly irregular sound I heard, I thought was a heartbeat. I started to get a little concerned as this Nurse continued to search and not say anything. After at least five minutes (what seemed like forever) she said "I can't seem to find a heartbeat." then she disclaimed "That doesn't mean there isn't one, you may not be as far along as we think. (which is very feasible because Lara's periods are irregular) So I'm going to set up an ultra sound appointment for you at the hospital today. Lara asks "Do you think I might not even be pregnant?" she replied "No, I'm certain you are pregnant."

So Lara and I proceed to the hospital. Both saying we weren't too worried, that everything was going to be okay. Our minds were clouded by war and such, since today was the end of President Bush's ultimatum. We were admitted rather quickly, and got hooked up to the ultra sound machine**. Again I, unsuspecting that anything was truly amiss, was very excited. The nurse (or whatever she's called) comes in and using the ultra sound wand, starts to look around fervently for something, this screen portrayed black and white fuzziness. An extreme element of concern welled up inside of me as an entire three minutes went by and she said nothing. I couldn't really make sense of what I was seeing, and I noticed my wife starting to tear up.

Being overly optimistic I still had a belief that in moments the nurse would say "There, see that flickering, that’s a heart, your baby is perfectly healthy." Then I see a black shape... It looks just like those pictures of a uterus I saw in 8th grade 'sex ed'. Inside of this black hour-glass looking thing I see a little gray ball. I don't know too much about these ultra-soun thingys, but I figure the resemblance to my sex-ed text book pictures is uncanny and that I'm looking at our baby. The nurse proceeds to zoom in and measure this gray ball and do all sorts of stuff with this computer. The whole while not saying a word. After about fifteen minutes, the nurse says, let me grab the radiologist.

At this point Lara and I look at each other, the concern on our faces is all the communication we can muster and we wait. Every shred of hope I had was gone and I wanted to leave. I really wasn't looking forward to someone else coming in and looking for something and not saying anything and driving me nuts. Unfortunately that’s what happened. The radiologist comes in, and does just that. I was just waiting for him to say what I already knew. Then the nurse, now watching over the radiologists shoulder, walks over to a box of kleenex and hands a couple to Lara. She keeps one for herself though, and I notice shes teared up also.

Then the radiologist nervously says "I can't find a heartbeat." He is putting the machine away, and with one final shred of hope Lara asks "Could we not be as far along as we thought?" (I can tell this guy has no idea how to word what he has to say) He stutters through "Um, no. There is usually a flickering motion and with a body this size there should be one and there isn't. There isn't a heartbeat." Even though we both knew the truth for the last 15 minutes, it was still a huge shock. We didn't know how to take the news. It was after hours, and our doctor had gone home long before the ultra sound. They told us to wait and they would get an on call doctor to explain what to do. We sat in that little room and just held each other crying. The nurse came back and said we don't have a Doctor for you to talk to, you'll be fine, just go home and call your doctor in the morning. We left. We cried. We spent the evening with each other trying to cheer up dispel the blame we kept trying to put on ourselves for every little thing we thought we could or couldn't have done to change the outcome.

The next morning the Doctor told us that it was a basic run of the mill thing. She told us that any woman who has any number of children will experience a miscarriage like ours in there life time. In the past three days talking to others I have come to find this really is the case. She comforted us and told us nothing could be done, that the life process had started, but that Lara's body knew it wouldn't finish and ended it at the best possible time.

Lara will be able to have children again, and looks forward to it. In our prayers we constantly told the Lord that we leave our baby in his hands, and we strongly believe that this was meant to be and onward we'll move. It's sad it really is, but we're happy. We don't know a whole lot about when the spirit of a person actually enters the body, but we figure if it was there, he/she will be in our eternal family hereafter, and if not, we'll get him/her next time. As Lara pointed out to me, The Lord in his infinite wisdom has a plan, and we often times miss the point simply because we can't look at the big picture, we just see the part we're in at the moment.

Having said all that. If you’re confused about the soccer analogy. We know you care, and we know you're sorry. We have a game to finish though and just want to move on. The longer I am married the more naive I discover I am. I now understand why people wait until the 2nd trimester to announce they have a baby coming. I never did quite get that. I was just so excited... Originally we decided that this is the kind of information not appropriate for an 'on the john' however, thanks to my big mouth, the constant experiences that go like this--

INNOCENT INDIVIDUAL: How’s your wife did you find out when the baby was due yet?
JOHN: "Oh um, actually we had our first ultrasound, and the baby didn't have a heartbeat..."
INNOCENT: ... Oh, I'm so sorry. Are you okay, how’s Lara.
JOHN: It's okay, no were fine.

--have prompted us to inform people on a more formal note. Hoping to avoid these awkward uncomfortable confrontations for both parties.

Thanks for reading. We love you and appreciate your concern. Really though, as many of you know from experience, and many of you know others who have experienced this. It happens a lot, there are plenty of others who need your concern much more that we do. We look forward to next time and will of course inform you accordingly, just maybe a little later.


*For those who don't know. The Authors soccer team, "Shouty Audi" has moved from indoor to outdoor soccer. The season starts this Saturday. For those of you fans who desire to know when games are as to attend and not point out any of the goals the Keeper lets pass, simply reply to this email with the word 'FAN' in the subject line, and you'll be added to the Shouty Audi fan email list you'll only receive game information and possible team outings. Your email address will not be sold to other companies or individuals.

**This author’s limited knowledge of technology makes him unsure if this is actually a machine. Since a machine is a device consisting of moving parts that modifies technical energy and transmits it in a more useful form. Rumor has it these days that a computer has few if any moving parts especially bits that contribute to its actual useful purpose. Then again he could be way off.

PS: Still on the look out for a fridge, I have a couple in the works, and if you didn't hear... I need a used refrigerator and I'm willing to pay for it. I'll also provide labor for removing it, and I'll even move in your replacement for you.

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