Of course I can’t sleep. It’s probably because I stayed in bed until 1 p.m. and then ate cookie cake for dinner. Sugar only medicates for a moment, I’ve discovered so I just kept eating it. Tomorrow I’m meeting my mom at the O’Charleys half way between Cincinnati and Knoxville. As of tonight, I’ve coined it the saddest O’Charley’s in the world. The first time I met a friend there we sat in our booth for over six hours crying over our food, dessert and later coffee while discussing our rather sad lives at the moment. It involved our families. My next visit there was a good six months later. I was meeting my mom for lunch to drop off Chili for the weekend while Corey and I drove north to Buffalo to visit grandparents. I was late – first time ever – which is huge when you’ve been spending a solid 19 months trying to get pregnant. On my way out the door it was confirmed that I was in fact still infertile. I called my girlfriend to cry and then was given news that knocked my cry to an entirely different ballpark. At their ultrasound the day before, they couldn’t find the heartbeat. I sat over my meal again at O’Charleys – same type of booth, only on the opposite side of the restaurant – and cried over my meal. Tomorrow will be no different.
This past December I wrote an update email to my closest friends and family. I titled it “update on our fight for a baby”. Inside was the best update I could give on where we were to date. It started like this…
“Obviously, nothing about this process has been easy, but we are both very happy. We are in love, we have a beautiful home, jobs we love, everyone we know and love is healthy, and we are both very much aware of the intentional road God has us on. I picture the day when we’ll be sitting in a stale hospital room, painted in colors of white, sea foam green and pale peach and holding a baby we’ve fought very hard for.”
I went on to explain where we were in the infertility process and also my shock when picking up my new round of meds from Kroger.
The photo was attached really to provide a bit of comic relief. It’s all very serious, I’m not in denial of that, but the site of this pile of medicine (I failed to include another box of medicine that was picked up from another trip to the pharmacy, left upstairs) is humorous. There’s just no way around it. Well, unless you see it as a way to conjure up a bit of pity from everyone around, but I am not that way. I ended the email with this…
p.s. I was telling my friend, Cyndi, over brunch this week that I just realized I have totally been going through the stages of grieving the past 18 months (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) and finally I have come to this sweet place of acceptance. It’s really quite liberating. So, I wanted to tell you all that because although this isn’t easy and although we have hard days, we’re both in a good place. Honestly.
I spent Christmas giving myself shot after shot and visiting my doctor for routine ultrasound updates (once on Christmas Eve, once the day after Christmas). Roughly two weeks later I got the typical, ugly pregnancy test that only shows one pink line (I quit buying those digital read out ones because screaming “NOT PREGNANT” at someone is just quite rude). Corey and I sat over burgers and beer that night and cried (well, I did) and yelled with our faces out of sheer frustration. We finally left, with two, quite full to-go boxes (neither of us were very hungry) and decided that we needed a break. We were just wiped. Exhausted. Stretched. Exasperated. Hurt. Sad. And, so very frustrated. We decided on a two-month break. I took a sigh of relief. I needed a break so very much – not from the fight for a baby, no I’m not giving up easy, just the hormones.
Six days later, it was a Saturday at 1 a.m. and I was in the shower so as to save on hot water for the next morning. Our friends were in town (remember this post?). I thought of the fact that although I felt as if it was coming at any minute, I hadn’t started. I told Corey. He asked me why I was telling him that and I told him I wasn’t sure. I’m sure it’s coming, but I just would have thought it would have paid me a lovely visit by now. We decided I take a pregnancy test so as to not lose sleep, it wasn’t worth it. So, I did.
I considered putting the picture here that I took so that we never forgot what our first positive pregnancy test looked like. But, upon opening it I almost threw up so I’ll leave it to your imagination. You know what it looks like. one line=still infertile, two lines=life and celebration and sweet relief and shock and tears…oh, the tears – they were like no other…and new plans and family photos and vacations and holidays with a newborn and so, so, SO much more.
We have spent the past two weeks celebrating with a very chosen few which of course included both of our families. The joy and relief that this road was finally changing courses was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Although I did immediately sign up at Babycenter.com and pull out my lists of names I liked and thought of what it would be like if I were pregnant with twins (a strong possibility when o.d.’ing on fertility meds), I did not dream of the baby room (too much) or start moving furniture or posting anything on a billboard. I know that these things don’t always pan out and I wanted to be careful. “You’re just guarding your heart,” my girlfriend said. So much so that I really didn’t know what to do with this newfound joy. I emailed another girlfriend and explained how I was feeling by telling her that it’s as if I’ve grown so accustomed to the “darkness” – not knowing really where we’re heading or if the steps we’re taking are even in the right direction – that this light God has shed on us is rather blinding and overwhelming. I don’t know this portion of my life with light, only darkness. It’s what I’m used to. Comfortable with, you might say. The light was new and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. So, I tried to warm up to it by thinking of our lives come September. I dreamt of delivering on my birthday and thought about us sitting in that stale hospital room, painted in colors of white, sea foam green and pale peach, holding the baby we had fought so very hard for. I thanked God for finally answering the millions of hours of prayers that had gone up and I was happy.
At this moment, the very moment I’m writing this, I cannot imagine allowing myself to dream of the future. I am the ultimate optimist, but this world has officially crumbled in on us and I can’t even fathom viewing it with hope. I miscarried this past weekend. I was only six weeks along, but it was still much too long pregnant. The light, although overwhelming, shed the type of warmth we’ve needed for so long.
After our ultrasound Saturday confirming the loss of life, I was rejoined with my friend, Sadness, and I felt comfortable again. I’m not saying he’s my favorite friend, but he surely knows me the best right now. My chest is so heavy – the type of heaviness where you breathe and feel immediately after like you haven’t breathed in an hour. It’s hard to hurt alone, much less to see the ones you love the most hurt just as much. I’m overwhelmed with the darkness. The light should not have teased us. It feels cruel and thoughtless and like a giant prank that will never leave us the same. We will never be the same.
I was reminded again this weekend the beauty of sadness. (I’m not being an optimist now. I have no desire to shed any positivity on what we’ve just went through. Maybe one day (doubt it), but not now.) It has a way of making us notice the details. I noticed the way my husband’s lips look when he’s heartbroken, the way he touches me when he longs to take away the pain, the way my Dad’s voice sounds when he’s crying, but trying to hide it, the way the pages feel to the book I’m reading, the couple standing in line in front of us – her wedding ring, his eyes, the way I feel about my business and writing and music and friends and family and even strangers, the way the bed feels warm when we’re in it together, the way that when Sadness has taken over you can stare into each other’s eyes without feeling the least bit of awkwardness, the way the ice looks when it’s enveloped all the tree’s branches. Yes, I decided to go outside. It was refreshing. Our dog ran in circles with sheer excitement of our presence. Corey chased her around while I took blurry, out of focus pictures of them playing. Then, I stayed outside a bit longer by myself in a trance by the beauty created by cold weather and precipitation. You see my newfound joy had left me content at spending the winter inside. Sadness returned and invited me out. I wasn’t happy about it, but I felt at peace breathing in the crisp air.
I have decided to blow this photo up to a large, gallery wrap canvas for our stairwell leading to our bedroom. I’ve been trying to decide what to put there and I think it’s the most accurate picture for where we are right now. A bud prepared to bloom, just wrapped in ice for the moment. But, the Spring will come, it knows, and when it does it will bloom bright and big and exclaim to the world that even through the dark winter it made it and is all the better for it.
Yes, Spring will come…