A Monumental Trip to The Dentist

toothbrushThis week, I finally went to the dentist.

I know, it doesn’t sound  like a huge event. But this is the dentist visit that was originally scheduled for Thursday, February 14. The day that instead of going to get my teeth cleaned, I checked into the hospital to deliver my little girl. I had rescheduled that silly appointment several times. First I was out of town. Then I was morning sick and the thought of anyone sticking anything in my mouth had me gagging. So, I was finally sure this Valentine’s day appointment would work. I had arranged a baby sitter for Kyla and was going to get my teeth taken care of. If only I had known that my dental health would be the last thing on my mind that cold day.

I remember sitting in the passenger seat of our Ford Taurus on Wednesday, February 13. We had just been at the doctor to confirm our baby’s passing, and then at my Dad’s office to work on burial arrangements. Suddenly, through my shocked, numb, brain I remembered my dentist appointment. I had Adam call the office for me and I could hear the voice on the other line ask, “would you like to reschedule?” I practically came out of my seat, saying “Just tell them no! It’s a medical emergency, and I will be in the hospital tomorrow!” I could vaguely hear the receptionist reply, “Oh, I’m sorry, I hope everything works out for you.” I sunk back in my seat, thinking, “No, this will never work out.” It felt too soon to actually voice the truth  “my baby died.”

So the dentist carries a deep reminder of that fateful week in our family’s life. Perhaps that is why I was dragging my feet to reschedule (for 6 months!) I knew I needed to get my teeth cleaned. But I also knew a visit would likely include some discussion on my health, and why I hadn’t been in for so long. Thanks to the continual nagging friendly reminders from my husband, I finally made this new appointment.

As I sat down in the the chair, the super-chatty dental hygienist asked so many questions. I felt like I was dodging bombs in a minefield. “What have you been up to?” “How was your summer” “How old is your baby girl now?” “What has been going on since your last visit?” “Any health changes” At first, I chose avoidance. I talked about everything except the biggest thing that has happened in our family this year.

But finally, due to continued questioning, I just dove in. “I was pregnant again. We lost her at 16 weeks. I was in the hospital giving birth the last time I was scheduled for a cleaning. My dental health was put on the back burner. That’s why I haven’t been in for awhile.”

Nothing like dropping this bomb.

I have discovered there is simply no good way to say, “My baby died.” It usually stops everyone in their tracks, and silences even the chattiest of people.

Now, six and a half months later I can say these words. I can explain my “health changes” to the dentist without completely breaking down. Yet the tears still came to my eyes, and perhaps they always will. That’s okay, though, because it simply means she is loved and missed so very much.

After the tears, I sat back and got the teeth cleaning that I really needed. And though I wished I was at home with my little Esther, I was so thankful once again, that I was chosen to be her mom.

So despite how ridiculous it may sound, this was a milestone dental appointment for me. Honestly, I hope next time it is more routine, and doesn’t carry with it quite as much weight.

It’s crazy how living through tragedy can cause you to attach significance to odd things. I guess it is just one more step in this journey…

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