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Making Sense of it All
By Matthew Notch | 29th May, 2013 | 4:37 pm

Making Sense of it All


Several years back I had a dream that I'd had a daughter. Her age was indeterminate; in my dream she was only as old as a baby, but for some reason she was probably closer to six biologically. We were at the Orpheum Theatre, watching something or other. She had blonde hair, which is weird because I'm half-Mexican and Mrs. Notch has no blonde in her entire genetic history. But I was making her laugh and she loved her daddy. It was a lovely dream. Beyond those details, the only thing I remember is that her name was Clarity.

This dream was, as goes certain theories about dreams in general, a few things in my brain that fired off and then got sorted out into a semi-logical mishmash of a plot. I'd just been to a wedding at the Orpheum, my daughter in my dream looked suspiciously like my close friend's younger sister, and I had been talking to Wife about the possibility of having a baby. These were all things that were on my mind, so they were made manifest in my dream. Oh, and Clarity is the name of a Jimmy Eat World record and also happened to be a name my friend gave his kitten, who ended up living with my own sister. Really, there was nothing rational at all about it; my brain was just trying to sort out a lot of randomness, but I still took some kind of special meaning from it.

Mrs. Notch and I have never really been trying to have a kid. I mean, sure we get enough practice at the making of one, but it's never been something we were purposefully attempting. One of those "if it happens, it happens" kind of things. But we're coming up on seven years of marriage, and it hasn't happened yet. I think I've been of the impression that my boys all suffer from ADD. They have a singular goal in mind, but then they see something shiny and head off in that direction instead.

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"I don't know why it's in here, but by gum I'm going to look at it!"


Anyway, imagine my surprise when she had a miscarriage this Monday.

I was in the chat, talking about what I imagined would be the most momentous event of the week, that time I misconstrued this Lorem Ipsum for a potential terrorist manifesto, because I didn't know what Lorem Ipsum was until Orange, the publishing lady, set me straight. I heard a panicked call for help from my wife in the other room, and I went running. She informed me that something large and previously unknown had just, for lack of a better term, passed from her. I just held her for a bit because she was very scared, and then I asked to see the mass, which she still had because she'd been in the bath. So I gave her a little Tupperware dish and she produced, for me, a large mass of blood clots and some tissue here and there. It wasn't shaped like anything but a mass. It was a mass. So we put it in the refrigerator and she got herself cleaned off and her mom came into town just to give her something to do. I took a nap. I'd been woefully deprived of sleep the past weekend, and now I was going to have to both work my own shift and cover hers the next day.

At that point I was still pretty sure it was just a crazy big period, which made me imagine that it must suck all kinds of ass to be a woman sometimes. By the end of the day, though, Mrs. Notch was sure it had been a pregnancy, and she had an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow. We don't have insurance, but I had insisted she get looked at in any event, and we'd just pay for the thing a little at a time or else declare bankruptcy, whatever. Healthcare in America is broke as a joke, no matter which side of the fence you're on, even if you're neutral like me. But that's an article for someone else to write.

Yesterday my wife's suspicions were confirmed. All signs pointed to a complete miscarriage, which meant there was nothing left to get infected and continue harming her. As weird as it is to say this, it happened about the way these things are supposed to happen. In some ways I suppose it's also kind of reassuring; you spend this long thinking it will never happen, then all of a sudden there's proof that it could, you know? At least it could to a certain extent.

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It's really more like falling, with style


There is nothing rational at all about getting upset over it. 10 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage, 30 to 50 percent of fertilized eggs are lost before implantation, and of course all that depends on reporting so the number may even be higher. Most miscarriages are caused by chromosomal abnormalities, so it's not as though anything the two of us did led to it happening. I saw the result of this egg being fertilized with my own two eyes, and to a very rational mind it didn't look like anything but a mass.

But that wasn't what I saw. I saw potential. I saw hope I didn't even know I'd had. I saw frustration at that hope being dashed before I'd even had a chance to feel it. We didn't know she was pregnant, and it was likely no more than a couple months in anyway. If we had known, I imagine it would have been much worse, but this way we just kind of discovered, "Oh, look at that, we were pregnant I guess." I mean, it should be more like catching the flu than anything. But the flu has never made me fall apart so terribly. For two months I had a baby. And rationally, no, it wasn't a baby, it wasn't anything. Medically, no, it wasn't a baby. Legally, no, it wasn't a baby. There is not a single good goddamn reason I should think of that weird ass mass of tissue and blood as a baby. But I did, and I do. I saw my baby, for the first time since my dream.

This is why I don't do politics. I'm fully aware that some of the things I believe in are not entirely logical, or at least they have no rational basis in our scientific knowledge to date. For me to insist on my own "irrational" opinions to be foisted onto others by way of legislature seems unkind to those who do not share my beliefs, or who may not even be capable of understanding them. To them I'm anything from a little deluded to downright moronic, and I accept that's how it must be sometimes. One of my favorite tweets I've ever seen was from the comedian Ben Warheit: he said "'This is how life is.'--People in their 20's". Isn't that so true? It's terribly uncomfortable to consider the possibility that we don't understand everything as it happens. That we can't put people in shiny little boxes and immediately know everything there is to know about them. That we can't use the laws of the land to push for our own agendas, no matter how righteous they may seem to be to us. How difficult it is, truly and sincerely, to consider that, somewhere out there, someone is smarter and wiser and more eloquent and more logical than us, and all we have are our passions, our feelings, the irrational parts of us, that we turn to when logic fails. We can't make sense of things anymore. There is no reason for what just happened, and so there is no reason for us to react as we do. But we do. Well, I do anyway... I guess I can't speak for the rest of the world at large. That's why I don't try.

I hate the state of health care in America and I hate war and I hate abortion and I hate a lot of things that are still legal in this country, and also are probably and unfortunately necessary for the times we live in. I wouldn't wish this feeling on my worst enemy, but I'd also want someone going through it to deal with it on his or her own terms. So I suppose this makes me "pro-choice", but I'd hope the choice would always and ever be life, if that makes any sense. And I know I miss the point with this thing. I didn't cry for the mass of blood and cells in the Tupperware dish. I cried for the little girl in my dream. And neither one was really "life", but as Bjork says, there's definitely, definitely, definitely no logic in human behavior.

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Or Bjork for that matter


Sorry if I was a buzzkill of the worst kind today. Mrs. Notch went back to work today, and in a couple hours from this posting I'll be there too, so not to worry. Life goes on. And I know there will be more tears shed as time goes by, and even if they don't make any sense in the world, that's okay too. As with all things, it just takes time. And as hokey as this is going to sound, someday I'll have clarity.

Yeah, sorry, that was like really lame. :)

Tags: real life, personal perspective, Sad, medical 33


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