Yesterday’s mammogram was not as painful or as humiliating as expected. There was no pulling or tugging (maybe I have good breasts for this activity) and much less squeezing than I expected. I wonder if it’s a technology change, a place difference, a perspective, or my own disinclination to look, but I wouldn’t describe it as flattening like a pancake. Thank goodness for that. It was also much shorter than I expected – less than ten minutes. Also surprising: to be given a cape instead of a gown.
This lady’s cape offers far more coverage than my own. I might as well have been wearing a scarf for all the length it offered, barely covering half my back and arms. Which makes me wonder why, exactly, we bother wearing them in the first place. In all, I was glad it wasn’t as dreadful as I expected. In fact, my reaction was much like my daughter’s any time she encounters a new turn of events: “Oh. Well then.”
The mammogram clinic is in the same building, on the same floor, and one door down from the fertility clinic. I hadn’t really thought about that until we pulled into the parking lot and I got the butterflies I always do: happiness, excitement, what if it’s this time, can’t wait until it’s my turn to come back for the first ultrasound…oh.
Cue carefully bottled up sobs. In fact, I think I’m still sobbing somewhere deep inside. It isn’t fair. I know that my wife will want to comfort me (again) and as much as I love her, I’d rather she not. This is my own grief. She has her own somewhere but it isn’t something we share in the same way. I wonder how many mammograms it will take to shrug off the hope of the fertility clinic. It wasn’t one.
It’s hard, but as I dropped my daughter off at school today I was reminded of all the things we can do and she can be without a sibling. The school we can afford. The soft singing I can hear from the backseat. The time I can take to sit at a small table while she ever so carefully drops a single drop of water into a pea-sized cup. All worth the tears. More than worth it.