Monday, February 22, 2010

What's with the weird comments

So I posted about the 'abortion thing' a few days ago. Then on Thursday there was the following conversation at the doctors office. Here's the background: I was at the doctor's office with Lexi. She has some sort of reflux/gut/sleeping/screeching issues and we are trying to get it sorted out. I was called up to the receptionist to check in (let me add that I love this receptionist, she is fantastic at her job and very down to earth when you call in with questions or concerns; gives her opinion as a mother and then as a doctor's office employee).

Receptionist: Hi Rachel, are you here for you or for baby?
Me: For baby.
Receptionist: (looking at my file) And that's for Baby Ben?
Me: (shocked) Ummm... Nooooo....
Receptionist: No? Not for Baby Ben? (clearly confused)
Me: Noooo..... (waiting for her to realize her immense error)
Receptionist: (just looks at me confused)
Me: Benjamin was my baby that was stillborn last year.
Receptionist: Oh God! Oh, I'm so sorry (hand on her heart)!!
Me: Don't worry about it, it's okay. This appointment is for Lexi.
Receptionist: (clearly still very upset about her error) Oh, why do they still have that on the file?!
Me: Really, it's okay.

Sooo... What to say about this exchange... Firstly it was a shot to the heart. Made me sad and sick at the same time as happy and tricky feeling. That's hard to explain. It's like when my friend lost her baby and I accidentally used her baby's name in place of her toddler's name in an email asking how her toddler was (days after her baby had died). When she pointed out my error I felt horrible but she replied with "It's okay, it was kind of nice because no one will ever ask me how she is". I get that. By the receptionist asking me if the appointment was for Benjamin I got to, just for a minute, feel like I was his mom; doing something so mundane for him as taking him to the doctor's office. I will never get to do that, but for just a split second it was like that is what I was doing. I also felt tricky because I could feel her confusion but didn't want to right away explain it away. Don't get me wrong, I really do like this woman and it bothers me how much I know she has stewed about it ever since, but I deal with the confusion, the despair, the somethings-not-right-in-the-world every day since losing Benjamin. So for once it wasn't me feeling that way over him. And of course I felt sad and sick because the truth was that it was not an appointment for Benjamin. He will never have a mundane doctor's appointment. He'll never have the entire waiting room smiling at his cute little baby coos and squeals. He will never make a teenage boy uncomfortable by staring at him and making silly noises and faces trying to get his attention. He will never attack the doctor's hand with his slobbery mouth when he is trying to do his assessment. He will never feel the cold paper of the exam table and the utter giddiness as another person tickles his belly and remarks on his chubby little legs. He won't get any of that. And that makes me sad.

But just for that split second I was able to imagine that he was my living baby. Bringing him to a doctor's appointment, concerned about his health and wanting to make him better. Just for that split second that was an option; that making him better. Just for a split second. And since that's all I get, I'll take it when I can.

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