Last Monday morning I sat in the coffee shop thinking about how quickly life can change, and then that night, it did, again.

The clinic called this morning to check on me. The nurse told me my betaHCG levels from last week and it seemed like a cruel joke, to remind me that last week I was pregnant. That last week the whole summer, the next year, our future looked completely different than it does today. I don’t know what to do with this future that keeps on changing, hope and hopelessness cycling over and over, leaving me dizzy and uncertain: pregnant, not pregnant, maybe baby, never baby. I handed in my dissertation last week. A moment I have been working toward for years and all the triumph of it was washed away in the fear and sorrow of losing another chance, probably my last chance, at what really matters to me. I have to learn to make other things matter more. How do I do that?

I held the bag of Anja’s ashes in my hands today. Turned them over and over. Ran my thumb over the round metal tag attached to the bag that must have been burned with her, to identify her. This is my baby, I think. This is the daughter who rolled and kicked inside me for all those months. This is my baby: a bag of ashes, splinters of bone and a charred metal tag, 2012 0037. And I want my friends to know: while you snap your kids into their car seats and gripe to yourself about how much harder it is to do with two (or three), I want you to think of me turning a bag of ash over and over in my hands. Imagine that instead of those pig tails and squirming legs, you had only this. I was just like you, wanted my baby as badly as you wanted yours, was just as pregnant, just as ready, just as happy. Just not as lucky.

But my friends aren’t calling. I suppose this just seems like what I do now: my body rejects baby after baby after baby and there is nothing left to say. I don’t want to be bitter, but I am. I am seething inside, full of the kinds of inappropriate comments that make people writhe in discomfort, and I will snap your head off if you look at me wrong in the line up at the grocery store or coffee shop. But I am also desperate for a kind gesture, for someone to notice how much this hurts, to reach out and tell me that’s it’s still okay for me to be this broken.

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