Baby, Take a Good Look At My Face
This past weekend I was – and this sounds so glamorous – in New York during fashion week to represent my day-job at an event for bloggers. I’m spearheading a blogger outreach, or influencer program, if you will, for my company and this event seemed like a great opportunity to dip our toes in the water. Plus, New York is fun.
So Courtney, my co-worker, and I hustled our buns, creating specialized collateral for the event, picking our choicest pieces to display – and some to wear (hey, it’s our job, right?), stuffed the gift bags, packed everything up and took a red-eye straight to New York the day of the event. Whoosh!
But that’s not really what this post is about. It’s not about Fashion Week, or my job, or the blogging community.
You see, a few weeks ago, I had my fourth miscarriage. This one was particularly difficult, as my body didn’t want to give up the ghost. Called a “missed miscarriage”, even after multiple ultrasounds had confirmed that the pregnancy had stopped developing, even after the D&C, my body held on to the idea that I was still pregnant…dragging out a process that I just wanted over as quickly as possible. My doctor was amazed. “With your levels you should have had a 90% chance of a healthy pregnancy. I just don’t understand what happened”, she said. The prevailing theory – always – with every doctor I have spoken to, is that I’m just too old, and my eggs must be bad. The embryo(s) must have been chromosomally abnormal and that’s why my body shut it down. After all, I've been able to conceive multiple times and they can find nothing wrong with me. That must be the answer. This time we were finally able to do some testing, and as devastated as I was, I took some comfort in knowing that as soon as that “abnormal” test result came back, we would just bite the bullet, and start IVF. There was still hope. And maybe even more, peace of mind, since we could ensure the embryo would be chromosomally normal ahead of time. We were supposed to have test results in two weeks, but like my body, the lab dragged its process on and on.
So back to my hotel room, as I tried on various outfits, trying to decide what looked the best and still complemented the gorgeous malachite statement necklace I was wearing that evening, my head in the shallow, fluffy fashion clouds; I get a call. It’s the results. And they’re normal. “Completely normal”, the nurse tells me, an apology in her voice.
“So we don’t know anything”, I say. “No”, she says. And in the awkward silence that ensues I can feel it. Much like my regular OB/GYN gently washed her hands of me after my first two miscarriages, I could feel my fertility clinic starting to peel away from this patient who didn’t fit the model for the solutions they had on offer.
So I’m sitting there, alone, in my hotel room, realizing I don’t have time to call my husband, time to emotionally process this, I have to go to work. I have to mingle, and network, and sparkle all over the damn place. I have to get my eye makeup on while I try not to cry.
And I realize, that this is something your training teaches you as an actor. Not just to summon emotions, to be open and vulnerable, to connect with other people – but it also demands an emotional discipline. Because when you go out on that stage, you have to let go of everything going on in your real life, no matter how important, and enter another world. And you enter that world as yourself. Perhaps a different version of yourself, but - if you’re good - one no less authentic than the face you wear everyday.
So that’s what I did. The event was popular and lasted long after the 8:30 designated end time. There were cocktails, and gorgeous views, and polished bartenders, and sales reps pushing just a little too hard, and bloggers: both pretentious and down to earth, ethereal trust-fund children and savvy everywomen, all trying to connect – to see and be seen. Afterwards we were hungry and exhausted and again, there was no time to grieve, this was Courtney’s first trip to New York. I had to find us a cab, and a place for dinner, and get back to the hotel. The next day, I made it my mission that Courtney see some cool NY sights before we headed back to the airport. I even had fun.
I don’t have a neat ending for this post. There’s no button. I still don’t know what to do, or what I even can do about my situation. I was hesitant to share this on the blog. We usually keep it light and pinteresty up in here. But I guess I just thought it might be interesting, this intersection of all the different pieces of my life, and how they weirdly fit together on that night. No one knew what I was going through as I worked the party. Even Courtney, who I confided in later, said she had absolutely no idea anything was wrong. Not a bartender, blogger or bellhop saw the tracks of my tears. But they’re still there.
*Cara is not my real co-worker's name.