The timing was awful. We were visiting my hometown for my 20th high school reunion. I did get to attend the festivities. But later in the weekend, I began to experience alarming symptoms. We were staying with my best friend from college and his partner. They hosted a gathering for old friends of mine so I could get together with people I didn’t go to high school with but wanted to see.
I started to have bleeding and cramping right as the first guests were arriving. I wasn’t 100% sure it was a miscarriage, but I knew it wasn’t good. I wanted to run up to the guest room and hide. I was not feeling the least bit social. But people had driven a long way to see me, so I stuck it out.
My husband was aware of the situation, and we were not ourselves. I’m sure our friends could tell something was going on from our demeanor, no matter how hard we tried to act normally. We did the best we could to be social and welcoming.
That night, after everyone had left, things escalated, and there was no doubt I was losing the baby. The pain was excruciating, the bleeding severe. I actually had contractions, and they wracked my body with spasms all through the night.
He held me as I cried out in pain and sobbed in sorrow. He was freaked out, and wanted to take me to the hospital. But I had called my OBGYN’s office and they told me under what circumstances we should do that. I wasn’t at that point. My symptoms were terrible, but sadly normal for such an event.
As painful as the situation was, there was one part that made me laugh, even then. Because I was bleeding heavily and did not have anything to tend to that, and was in terrible pain, I had to send my husband and my gay best friend to the grocery store for maxi pads. I will never forget the panicked, confused phone call:
"I'm sorry to bother you," my friend said sheepishly. "But there's quite an extensive selection. You didn't say what you wanted..."
“They have an ENTIRE AISLE of them,” my husband exclaimed after grabbing the phone. "How are we supposed to know?!"
I could not help but laugh, even through my tears. I hadn't been specific. Having not used maxi pads since I first got my period and my mom introduced me to the hideous belt contraption her generation had used, I wasn’t even sure what they should get.
My friend held up the boxes so my husband could read the product names over the phone until I heard what I thought I needed. When he said, “overnight” and “wings,” I told him to grab the box and get out of there. And to bring back alcohol. I could drink now, and desperately needed to.
I am once again participating in The Red Dress Club writing meme. This week's assignment, for us nonfiction writers, was to write a piece no more than 600 words, 3 minutes read aloud, about a time of laughter mixed with tears. The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, and felt like the perfect fit for the assignment. I made a few minor adjustments to meet the criteria, but this is pretty much how it appears in the book...