Sunday, May 29, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere

The last week has been hard for me. I find I've been fighting off impending bitterness. Bitterness toward not being pregnant, toward people that are pregnant, toward people with young children. I know - I believe - that we will get pregnant and have other children. What I struggle with is that I want it now - not in a year. I know - I believe that it will happen in God's time, but I struggle with reconciling God's Timing with Annie's Desired Timing. I struggle to stay positive.

I was at Target last week looking for a baby shower card for a friend. (I always hate going to Target - or any department store - because it's impossible to not walk past the children's and baby's sections.) As I was looking for a card for my friend, what I became struck with was how many cards took the event so lightly. Cute rhymes about changing diapers, sleepless nights, pink and blue everywhere, life changing event  - blah blah blah. The problem I encountered was that every card assumed the baby would be born and survive. Morbid, I know. But it is also my reality - my only experience having children is that all children do not live. So as I looked at ducks and flowers, I had tears running down my face because I thought it was  all so sad and unfair. Sad because I never got to receive any of these cards - unfair because I should be looking at baby cards and criticizing them for being so positive and presumptive.

So that was rough.

I attended the baby shower. It's the first baby shower I've been to since I lost Noah. It was hard. It was hard because that is what I want to be: pregnant. And it was hard to watch and awkwardly participate in the game where you try and guess how big the mom-to-be's belly is using a length of string. To me it just seemed to not take seriously that there is a life inside there. Maybe that's not it. Maybe I didn't like it because the game made me focus on the fact I wasn't pregnant and want to be pregnant. Maybe I didn't like the game because I never got to be that big. I don't know - but I didn't like it. The shower was also hard for me because I only knew three out of the eleven people there - which means that only those three knew about my experience. My eyes filled with tears and my throat became tight as I watched my friend give a guest a present for her upcoming baby boy. (My friend is having a girl.) I think that baby girls are easier for me to emotionally deal with because Noah was a boy - so baby boys therefore are harder on me emotionally because it reminds me that I never got to receive cute little onesies for Noah.

But I kept myself together because 1) I didn't want to cry and inadvertently make a scene and make it be all about me and 2) I didn't want to have to explain to any of the people there why I was crying at a baby shower.

I now know that two of the other women at the shower have experience with infertility. So it makes me wonder how they felt about all of it, too.

Lastly, at least for now, the Thursday Night Markets have started back up in town. On Thursday nights, there's a big farmer's market, beer garden, live band, yummy produce, carousel rides, bounce houses and corn on a stick. Here you can play the game "Find A Woman Who Is Not Pregnant" or the spin-off game, "Find A Parent Without A Child Under 12 Months."

And so, the English major in me, leaves you with these words:

Day after day, day after day
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where
Nor any drop to drink!
-Coleridge's "The Rhyme of  the Ancient Mariner"

Monday, May 2, 2011

A sigh of relief

I breathed out a sigh of relief on May 1st: April is over.

Last April was decidedly the most difficult time in my life thus far. April 5th of last year, we had an ultrasound in Fresno. A few days prior, I had received a call from my doctor that the 15week - or is it 18week? - screening test came back with some abnormalities.

I tried not to panic but tried to gather as much information from the doctor as I could. I asked him to please wait a minute while I walked out to my car so that I could hear him better and take some notes. The conversation led me to so many questions, but I obviously hoped for the best and took comfort in the fact that both Dave and I, and our families have healthy backgrounds, so the tests were probably a false positive. Additionally, all the pregnancy books tell you that false positives are a possibility.

Looking back, I am proud of myself for calming down, taking a breath, and taking notes. I knew that Dave would want to know exactly what the doctor had said and writing it down is the only way to remember!

April 5th was awful for so many reasons. The news we received, the manner it was given, and the way we were treated after were horrendous.

The following days and weeks were so sharply painful. Even today, I am not sure which was harder for us - learning that our son would die, or his actual still-birth/death.  We grieved both times, and both times differently. In April, we cried for days over the loss of the child we thought we would have had, the fact that we were told there would be no birthday or subsequent birthdays. In July, we grieved the loss of the child we did have, because, contrary to so many of our doctors, Noah was a person, he did exist, and despite - and because of - all his physical abnormalities, he was so loved.

This April passed quietly. Dave was home for half of it. I had spring break while he was home and did nothing outstanding. Dave and I now find the value of boring - sometimes, when nothing is happening, it is so much better than what could be happening.