7 weeks, 2 days.
We sit in the tiny plastic chairs meant for three-year-olds. There aren't enough grown-up chairs to go around. I examine the small coat hooks next to me. They are labeled with the thoughtfully uncommon names and homey photos of smiling toddlers: Dashiell, Anemone, Violet. The toddlers are in an adjacent room, and the din is terrible: a clanging mess of outside voices and blocks crashing against one another. One woman rushes in late, explaining that she has a nine-week-old baby. Two other women in the room are heavily, third-trimester pregnant. One is wearing a tight tunic, and its black and white stripes strain and distort on her belly.
I can't stop stealing glances at their stomachs, even though I am supposed to be listening to this preschool orientation. Early-childhood educational buzzwords are hurled at me: Montessori, the Reggio approach, "whole child," Bank Street. They are said in a matter-of-fact way, as if we are supposed to know what they mean.
On normal days, I resent the whole preschool rigmarole. That we've had to spend several hours of our lives taking tours, arranging "interviews," and writing applications that list our not-yet-two-year-old child's "educational goals." I hate that there are no public options and these private options are so exclusive and precious.
But on this day, I'm especially full of rage, because we're waiting to hear news, and it seems like the rest of the world should just pause and wait with us.
7 weeks, 1 day.
I go to get my seven-week sonogram alone. During my first pregnancy, my husband went with me everywhere, but this is an early-morning appointment, and someone has to stay with our daughter. All the other appointments during my first pregnancy flash back as I go through the motions of peeing in the sterile cup, undressing and folding my leggings on a chair.
I am nonchalant during the exam. The doctor asks me about my work while he sticks his fingers inside me. I mention some article I have written for Cosmo. We keep chatting as the wand goes into my vagina and starts probing around.
The chatter stops as the doctor takes measurements on the screen. The mood in the room changes quickly, from perfunctory banter to muted quiet.
7 weeks, 4 days.
I am sitting on the carpet with my daughter, turning over blocks. "Which one is B?" "Beeee!" she says, picking up the correct block. "That's great! Now where's the Y?" I ask. "Whyyyyyyyy," she says, and puzzles over the pile. Her strawberry-blonde hair is lit by the sun streaming through the window. Her skin is impossibly creamy, and her dimples are cartoonishly perfect. I am overwhelmed by how much I love her. I say, "You know Y, we saw that letter at swim class this morning."
We took her to her YMCA swim class as if nothing were wrong. We argue with her about putting on her Crocs, which she pronounces "cocks." It makes me laugh every time even though it shouldn't. We play Humpty Dumpty on the pool wall and pass a ball with another toddler. We take off her wet swimsuit after class and pile her back into her winter clothes. The whole process takes longer than you could even imagine, but on this day I find the tedious routine soothing.
7 weeks, 1 day
I can't remember exactly what the doctor said, but the following information was imparted while the wand was still inside me: there was no heartbeat, no fetus, just an empty sac. I could see the sac on the screen. It was just a black hole in the middle of outer space.