The other night I dreamt I lost the baby. In the dream, I went to the bathroom, and when I wiped, there was blood on the toilet paper. I looked around for a sanitary napkin and found one of those mini-pads individually wrapped in a little pink pouch, the kind they have in the bathrooms at Cornell. Betty Draper was also in the dream but that’s probably because we’ve been watching the last season of “Mad Men” on DVD, and we watched an episode that night just before we went to sleep. Betty also had a baby this season, and they showed a graphically painful labor scene that made me cry.
I imagine the dream was prompted by the ultrasound I’m having this morning — the first since I’ve been pregnant. I got pregnant naturally, about three years ago, and it was at the six-week ultrasound that we saw the first sign the pregnancy was terminating. My gynocologist saw a fetal sac but no fetus. Actrually, she called it a fetal pole, and I kept picturing a striped pole from a barber shop. We went through the motions of going back for the eight-week ultrasound because she said it was possible the fetus hadn’t grown large enough at that point to be detected. What she was probably thinking was, “Houston, we’ve got a problem.”
Well, don’t you know it, I woke up this morning and went to the bathroom, and when I wiped, there was blood on the toilet paper. I stood up in alarm and saw the water in the toilet bowl was red — not that dark beet red that blood can turn when it hits air or dries. It was beautiful fire engine red, the color of gaspacho.
Over the last few years, perhaps since my father died, my feelings don’t come out the way they’re supposed to. It’s as if the pores are clogged. Imagine a plastic bag where instead of the air flowing out the opening at the top, the bag is sealed shut and the air is forced to squeeze out some pin-prick of a hole near the bottom corner. That’s how I felt this morning: I didn’t cry. I couldn’t find that place. Instead, I felt flattened. Depleted. I’ll probably cry later when I’m on the train reading a food magazine, or at home, when I see Betty Draper on another episode of Mad Men. Betty incarnates everything I’m not: she’s thin, blonde, looks like Grace Kelly, and can carry a pregnancy right through to the end.
The source of the blood will become clear in about an hour, when I have my ultrasound. In the meantime, I sit rifling through the internet for clues to the blood like a person dumping file folders onto the floor in search of a lost receipt. And as I sit here and feel a mild cramping ripple through my lower abdomen, I fear I already have my answer.