[april 15, 2011]
I knew the dentist I was about to see. I remembered him from three years before, when he examined my teeth and told me a crown was probably needed.
He looks to be in his late fifties. Gray hair, but full and coarse. He’s tall and slender and has the appearance of old wealth. A few wrinkles dart across his face. His smile shows average teeth, which makes him seem trustworthy. I remember his gentle spirit, the way he gracefully moved the utensils around my mouth, the way he carried himself in and out of the room. I was drawn to his sense of calm and paternal concern.
I was a different person way back in 2008 when I saw him last. It was, as I’ve come to think of it, the Before Margot time in my life (It’s strange to think that six weeks ago was also the Before Margot time in my life). Kari was five months pregnant with Stella and we were blissfully happy. After finishing his examination, he gently explained that I needed $1500 worth of work done in my mouth. I may be the only person who smiled contently after such news. Well, it’s better now than after she’s born, I told him happily. Let’s do it, I exclaimed.
That was back when I thought being pregnant would automatically lead to having a baby.
Today I slip into the chair and wait, with wet eyes, in the After Margot era of my life. In this moment, all I want to do is tell him what happened. That I just lost my baby. That she weighed 7 pounds, twelve ounces and that her name was Margot June. That she was just as gorgeous as my first born, with her big cheeks and blue eyes. I want to tell him that I feel sad.
I can’t seem to understand this desire to tell him, or to tell others who I think might empathize, as if their pity will somehow validate my pain, give meaning to my sadness. Perhaps telling strangers is some form of acceptance, acknowledging out loud that this tragedy did happen. And any little trace of acceptance that creeps out of my heart feels good these days.
Good morning, Josh, he says casually. How are you?