What happens in a vortex

Ingrid - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Entered on March 5, 2008

I believe some things just hurt. Things that really hurt pull you into a vortex; an undeniable force filled with fire, intensity, and the painful force of gravity. And even though a vortex hurts, I believe in “the other side.”

On Christmas Eve, my husband Matt and I discovered we were expecting our first child. We heard the heartbeat at 10 weeks; the doctor found it right away with a tiny microphone pressed against my belly. It sounded like a strong racehorse, a very good sign.

At 14 weeks, I went in for my monthly doctor’s visit. The doctor checked for the heartbeat but couldn’t find it. “Don’t freak out,” she said, smiling. “I’m not,” I said. “We’ll do an ultrasound,” she said. “Sounds good,” I said.

In the ultrasound room, the technician put the warm wand on my stomach. The picture of the baby appeared. It looked like a baby, but I knew it was over. I was in my vortex. The baby was gone but had not gone away. “I’m so sorry; we didn’t expect to see this today.” I felt hot. I cursed. I knew I would have to do what nature had not taken care of for me.

At the hospital, the next morning, a sweet woman in the elevator told me how much she liked my shoes. “Thanks,” I creaked and entered into idle conversation. The intake nurse, eying my feet said, “Those shoes are too cool.” Apparently, in a vortex, you are forced to be normal. I was being squeezed through to the center.

In the room where they do the procedure, one of the nurses noticed the tattoo on my right calf. “It’s Whinnie the Pooh! I love Whinnie the Pooh!” I felt sick. She was so sweet. As things commenced, I began to see stars. My vortex was crushing me. “I feel hot,” I said, and soon a cool washcloth was on my forehead. The stars exploded into tiny planets. After the procedure, the nurse pulled my clothes out of the plastic bag so they were easier for me to get to. “What cool shoes!”

The next day, I received a phone call from my mom. She told me a professor who had been instrumental in my college life had passed away the previous day. Quickly, I sped through my vortex. Professor Stephen Feinstein. He taught me about the Holocaust, about the darkness of humanity. He taught me that everything ends and that endings need to be remembered. That remembering is not necessarily about finding the lesson within the pain. It’s about being on the other side and living with endings. A vortex can create history.

I believe I will remember the endings of this week, the hot, the crying. I believe being on the other side is where I’m meant to be. I believe not everything needs a silver lining. Somehow, that has a beauty of its own.