we were so certain that the third time would be the charm.

after all, all the bad stuff had already happened to us, right? including the horrible day — easter sunday — at the dog park, when i was attacked by a drunk woman walking five collies all wearing muzzles. i was running my two dogs when this crazy chick started yelling at me about how i shouldn’t be running in a dog park, which, in case i didn’t know, was meant for dogs (i guess it didn’t occur to her that the two dogs trotting at my side were, um, my dogs, who i’d brought to the dog park for, um, exercise). when i ignored her she chased me down and, fool i am, i turned to face her. it didn’t matter to her that i was a full head and shoulders taller than her: she started jabbing me in the sternum, practically spitting in my face about how i had no business being in the dog park. realizing i was either going to get beaten up or get medieval on her ass, i turned away. she pushed one last time, just as one of her collies walked up behind me. knocked off balance by the combination of turning and being shoved, i fell on the dog. crazy drunk woman immediately started yelling “sic ‘er!” i looked up and there was this big collie with a muzzle, growling at me. my dogs, of course, had run for cover. this was not a game they wanted to play.

when i miscarried a week later i wanted to blame it on the horrible woman but i knew it wasn’t really her fault.

but after that, we were golden, you know? all happy and blissed out about the positive pregnancy test that showed up in may. hooray and all. in a celebratory mood we loaded up the dogs and went camping for the weekend.

our first night in the tent i woke up from a horrible dream that i was gushing blood. i really had to pee but i was way too afraid to get up…afraid to actually get up, because then gravity would do its thing and blood would rush down my legs…and afraid to go the bathroom, because then i would have to confront my blood-soaked pants…and in this state of mind, afraid to go back to sleep. so i woke up s and told him i was scared and he helped me determine that i was dry and clean and it would be ok if i went to pee. and indeed it was.

a week or so later we had a positive u/s with a tiny little heartbeat. such a happy day.

three weeks later at our second visit we ended up seeing a nurse because our doctor had been called to his other clinic. the nurse did an ultrasound and looked at us very seriously. “i don’t see a heartbeat,” she said. “but i want the doctor to have a look.” so she called the other clinic and told them we were coming in.

the other clinic was 30 minutes of tense silence and impending sorrow away. still, we had that pathetic ray of hope — if we were being sent to the doctor it might be because the nurse was incompetent, right? or the ultrasound machine was on the fritz, right? or maybe because the baby — the bean — was hiding?

we entered this other clinic, full of mothers and young children playing in the waiting room. we were called in to see the doctor after a 90-minute wait. the doctor reviewed my hastily-constructed chart and said “so you’re having a miscarriage?” i started crying immediately and said “well, nobody has told us that until now.” he said he was so, so sorry, and why don’t we have a look?

at nothing. a sad little empty sac. the bean had been dead for a few weeks, and i’d had no sign of it. no knowledge. how can your baby die inside you and not even know? i couldn’t stop berating myself for not feeling the bean’s absence.

and my body was not so keen on cooperating this time, which led to an eventual d&c. i came out of the anesthetic and burst into unexpected tears. “don’t worry, hon” the nurse consoled me. “that’s just the anesthetic.”

no it f*ckin’ wasn’t.

given that june is still spring in minnesota, we bought a gorgeous rhododendron — the beanodendron — to plant as a memorial in our front garden. i chose a species bred in helsinki for extra durability through the winter. we burned one copy of the bean’s ultrasound and buried the ashes under the gorgeous pink blossoms.