And then, while everything already felt so off that day, I'm not sure why I called my nurse to ask about those old betas. I was just gathering together stuff for the appointment with the new OB and emailing with Jackie. It was strange to take out my journal and look back on those cycles.
For one of those five cycles, I had written in my journal:
I am debating whether or not to test tomorrow at 13dpo. On one hand, I will have a beta at 15 dpo so why not let myself dream a little longer? But for some reason, I think in my heart that I am pregnant.The morning of the beta, we went to get blood drawn and since we were already awake at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, we decided to go to Quaker meeting. At this point in the story, you're probably reading that last line several times since...you know...I'm a Jew. But I had always wanted to go to Quaker meeting and see what it was like, though not enough to wake up that early on a Sunday on purpose. But since we were already awake and since I was lost inside my own thoughts anyway...
Our friend (a Jewish rabbi, no less) told us about this old meetinghouse in the middle of farmland that he went to on the anniversary of his Quaker mother's death each year. I felt very shy going inside because I really didn't know what one was supposed to do at meeting. But if you've never been and if there is a rural meetinghouse near you, it is a wonderful way to spend the last few minutes dreaming before the nurse calls with a negative beta.
We sat in silence for a little more than an hour. Whenever someone was moved to speak, they stood up and said something and then sat down. I wanted to stand up and say, "I really need for this cycle to have worked. I will not be able to handle a negative beta." But that probably wasn't what they meant by being "moved to speak." Judging from everyone else's less-selfish words, thoughts on community, Christ, and peace were probably more inline with what the congregation expected to hear.
We were home for a little bit when the phone rang. And I remember standing next to the window between the kitchen and the hallway to the living room, dragging my thumbnail inside the grooves of the phone while the nurse sympathetically told me that the beta was negative and here were the new changes for the next cycle. After I sat down at the kitchen table and cried. I had been so certain when I was sitting in meeting that morning that I was pregnant. And now it turns out that something had happened--maybe not a pregnancy, but something.
We went downtown after the phone call. We bought three hats--a red one, a brown one, and a black and grey number with delicate flowers painted onto the rim. When we were paying, Josh threw in two small metal hearts from a dish next to the cash register. We hold those hearts whenever we go for treatments or when we're waiting beta results.
With the divorcing couple next door, I think we're thrown off by the proximity to all of this anger. On Saturday morning, they were having a fight and I could hear the wife screaming. She had gotten to that point where she was so enraged that her words were unintelligible--it was just a throat-tearing shriek. We've seen them a few times outside and we never know what to say--if she knows how much we know and if he wants to forget how much he told me. The man isn't living in the house anymore and we're not sure where he is staying. He was gone for a few days, but I've now seen him a few times--he comes back to the house at odd hours. It's the strangeness of being home during the day and watching things unfold whereas if I worked outside the house, I probably would miss these small pieces.
If they lived a few streets away, it would have been something I had thought about for a few hours that morning and forgotten as I went about my day. But since they live next door, it's this constant reminder that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Unless they're having their fight in the backyard and screaming as if the words are barreling out of her throat like a gun going off.