Though the clinic was warm and I had yet to be pried open by the speculum, I shivered and dripped softly with blood. They had told me it was normal, and offered me a blanket while I waited. The chalky pill – incompatible with pregnancy – had started my procedure. The being inside, if I was ready to call it that, shivered with me as we both awaited the inevitable sever of our bond. Like expired lovers, we both knew we had to part, to each float according to the soundtracks of our lives or non-lives, wounded at our breaking points but trusting our individual tumbles into the next phase. I felt like a northern grapevine, frozen in place after a season of warm harvest. The last of my premature fruits now hung as sweet shards of ice, pointing downwards as if to dive, to break the dirt apart and then curl into it under blankets of snow. My branches had let go, attached to this embryo by nothing but frozen dew. And I waited to be pruned by gravity here, in this old house with Victorian accents and bullet-proof glass.
I wished their had been someone by my side for my goodbye. I wish there was a human to anchor me to the earth as we drifted into separate worlds. Instead I was alone – save the nurses and blankets and elbows of my wordless waiting room – as I opened my palm and let my broken seed float upwards, evading the inhospitable soil below.
As I sat silently, a nurse brought me crackers. When I felt nauseous, she covered my forehead with a cool white towel and waved peppermint oil under my nose. She asked about my daughter—asked about her age and her interests and she told me of her own children, one town away. She turned on classical music and drew blood from my veins. And we exchanged stories of motherhood. She stayed by my side through the journey from reception to recovery room. When it was time, the top of my hand melted into her palms as she stood over me, guiding my breath and catching my shivers until I was alone again in my body.
It stung – I can’t pretend that it didn’t. And though it was not a sharp pain, but yet the pain of my own womb contracting around the plastic tube inside me, it burned like bare ice upon a swollen joint: sucking heat away from my body, balancing it out against a fire it yearned for but could not handle. I could feel my organs twisting and cringing, wringing themselves out of excess blood and tears and life as I severed myself from dying possibilities. And I stepped back into my body like coming home to an empty house after the dissolving dream of companionship – cold sheets, a voiceless stairwell – inhabiting my own aching solitude once again.
Even the ghosts had left.
Rachael is a writer and psychotherapist in Boulder, Colorado. Her practice, Atacama Counseling, uses creativity, empowerment, and feminist psychology to explore issues of abortion, sexuality, and sexual empowerment. Through her writing Rachael enjoys merging grit and vibrancy to bring voice to the silenced corners of women’s experiences. She is currently working on her first novel, “Valparaiso, Barefoot,” about a girl’s struggle with depression, mania, and sexuality in Chile. Follow @rachaeluris on Twitter.