The adoption application requires a physical. I have not been to my obstretrician since six weeks after we lost Matthew. I dread this appointment with Dr. Salamon. Seeing her is not actually the problem; I like her a lot and she has been very supportive. The problem is the waiting room filled with pregnant women.
There I sit, hunched into a chair, waiting for my appointment with the OB so she can fill out my adoption application form. I feel nauseous in the waiting room, swallowing constantly against a tingling sensation in my throat.
I avert my eyes from the swollen bellies around me, from the husband who has taken time off work to join his wife at this appointment, from the memories that threaten to push me off the tip of the iceberg that represents my tenuous grip on composure.
Sitting in that room, pondering what could have been, feeling so incredibly alone, I bow my head and wipe the tears off my face. When I am called into Dr. Salamon's office, I wordlessly hand her the application form. The day goes on. I return home from work. It is a W.H. Auden night.
"Stop all the clocks.
Cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with her juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin.
Let the mourners come.
Let the airplanes circle mourning overhead,
Scribbling in the air the message
He is Dead.
Put great bows around the white necks of public doves.
Let traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my north, my south, my east and west,
My working week and my Sunday rest.
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song.
I thought that love would last forever.
I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now.
Put out, every one.
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Put away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
Ah, the absolute misery of Auden. I read the poem over and over, indulging shamelessly in self-pity until Andrew comes to see what all the moaning is about. I show him. He reads it.
"It's a little dramatic," he comments. Yes, I guess it is. But it feels necessary to wallow tonight. I mope around a little more. It's either Auden or too many chocolate bars. The misery runs its course. I go to sleep.
As has been my pattern, I respond to the emotional setback by throwing myself even more into our adoption efforts, determined to bring a child into our lives.
One of our adoption reference books, Adopting in America; How To Adopt Within One Year, by Randall B. Hicks, suggests that hopeful adoptive parents prepare a mass mailing of their Dear Birthmother letter to doctors, lawyers, crisis pregnancy centers, religious organizations and other people or organizations who may encounter birthmothers .
In the back of Hicks' book, there is an order form for mailing labels from a company called Adoption101. Andrew and I decide to try a mass mailing. It is hard for me to sit and wait for the baby phone to ring; I prefer to keep reaching out, searching, looking actively for my baby.
At the end of March 2003, we order five hundred labels for networking locations in Indiana and five hundred labels for Oklahoma. We recruit some friends to help us stuff envelopes, order some pizza, bake cookies, and make a night of it. We send out one thousand copies of our Dear Birthmother letter and wait to see what happens.
The wallowing has passed and I am back on task.