My emotional state resisted crumbling on that day. I wasn't numb exactly, but I wasn't all there either. That I felt the urgent need to walk around Marshall's says a lot. Probably says enough. That I managed to get a bit of joy from finding a set of olive-wood Laguiole steak knives for a song also says something. I was alive, after all.
Like Lin said, we didn't look at each other in that exam room once it was clear things hadn't gone to plan. I knew that if I did look, and saw in his face that he was about to lose it, I certainly would lose it myself. And there was Jeanne. We needed to be there for her, to make clear with our words and actions and our combined affect that we weren't too saddened or shocked, or god forbid, upset with her.
We talked things over on the ride back to New York, and started to get a handle on it. We were resolved in wanting to continue with another IVF cycle, and in an instant we jettisoned into the ether the minor neuroses that had accompanied us to that point. Yes, damnit, we do want a kid, really badly. We're still in.
That night I had a dinner meeting with some neighborhood friends that I'm doing some restaurant consulting for. I had enough time to get home from Connecticut, get ready, hug Lin repeatedly, and leave. We were interviewing a prospective chef for a place they're opening, and it was a welcome escape for me. The interview itself went from good to weird to comic, and after the candidate left we went for a beer to de-brief. Lin came and joined for a little while and then we went home together and went right to sleep.
The next morning we had a phone call with the IVF doctor. He was his usual clinician-upbeat self; authoritative yet approachable, and in this instance, feeling our pain. Our hopes of succeeding with IVF now rested with one the 9 embryos on ice in Waltham making in through the process. He told us that 3 of the embryos they'd frozen on Day 6, three days after the transfer, were gorgeous. Better than the ones they'd implanted. These were our go-to guys now. It was a plan. I felt immune to positivity at that point, but it was the functional equivalent of good news, and I took it in.
I left in the early afternoon to head back to the Hamptons for work. When I got to the house, the head housekeeper asked me how the appointment had gone. I froze. I hadn't yet had to tell anyone in person what had happened. Every lizard-brain emotion which til that point had remained buried threatened to erupt all at once. I managed to get out a "Umm, not...good...not...pregnant...anymore." And the look on her face got terribly sad and when that registered, I got even sadder and spun quickly from room and outside, now swallowing involuntarily, breathing sharp and quick, with tears insistent, and a tightly clenched jaw all that stood between me and an hour or two of deep, infantile wailing. I was supposed to be going straight to the kitchen to cook dinner! I ran back to my room, not wanting to be anywhere this might leak out uncontrollably. I called Lin, who was at work. "I...sniff sniff swallow grunt...think there was..sniff snort... a delayed reaction..." And I let it out a little on the phone with him. And he was wonderful and great and more than anything just hearing his voice did something essentially buoying, and helped me pull it together. But I was floored by the force with which what had just happened, happened. I'd been dutifully "processing things" and "gaining perspective" and "moving forward", and other Zagat-like nuggets of pop-psychology, which were meant to ameliorate what had happened -- and since what had happened hadn't killed me, in the aftermath I was supposed to be stronger even! But we're not always rational creatures, we're hurt and damaged and messy and confused at times, with a quivering lip and a pain in your gut that just won't quit.
As quickly as it came, it lifted. And a couple of minutes later, I was boiling penne and thinking how things weren't really all that bad after all.