Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It Doesn't Always Come Up Roses

Oh man. Yesterday was a bad day. It started off with a grumpy toddler and it just went downhill from there.

I talk about infertility a lot on my blog because it has molded me and changed who I am, how I view the world, and certainly how I relate to my own son and my Heavenly Father. But, generally, I talk about it in the past tense. It is something that happened to me...once upon a time. I have a kid now and, despite the fact that we've failed to have another, I try not to be a raging hormonal lunatic in reality and, especially, on my blog.

Until now.

When I had the ultrasound done back in mid December, you know, the one that revealed my small continent sized ovaries, we were surprised to see, on the screen, a huge follicle on the verge of exploding and sending a viable egg into orbit--or whatever. The last time we'd witnessed such a sight it wasn't nearly as big and I was lying, once again on the table at the reproductive endocrinologist's. It was September of 2005, right before we quit infertility and about seven weeks before I conceived Garrett. So over three years later, it was weird to be there, with memories and all the time that has passed staring at me and taunting my emotions. We knew exactly what we were looking at. We knew how to read its size and location. In some ways, I suppose, it was kind of like knowing how to ride a bike. If the bike was more like a jagged roller coaster we weren't expecting to get thrown onto in that particular moment.

We are committed to adoption and believe that it is God's plan for our lives. But. We've often wondered if adoption would be in addition to another biological child or in place of one. It seemed that, maybe, God put us in that ultrasound room for a specific reason. Maybe this would be the month...20 months after we started trying...that God would give us a second child. Maybe I'd give birth and adopt a child in the same year. Maybe not. Only time would tell.

About a week ago I started feeling more emotional than normal. Parts of my body started aching. And I felt nauseated just as I did when I was pregnant with Garrett. I told myself the symptoms were psychosomatic. But I couldn't help but wonder how I was making myself have food aversions. And I couldn't help but realize that if I really was pregnant, my due date would be a week and a half before my brother's wedding and, well, he'd probably skin me alive if I delivered late and missed his blessed event. And I couldn't help but be giddy with the possibility. Not of missing my brother's wedding, mind you. That, I had determined, wouldn't be happening. Even if I had to give birth on the side of the road on our way to San Diego. I decided that I'd wait to test until several weeks from now because that way I wouldn't know for sure and I wouldn't stress about miscarriage for the next seven weeks. Yes, I know how premature that sounds. I know how incredibly stupid it makes me seem. But I couldn't help but dream. If there is one thing I hate most about infertility, it's the reckless way in which it makes me hope.

None of this really matters and I certainly wouldn't have shared it with the whole world (a.k.a. my six loyal readers) if it weren't for everything that happened yesterday. What I really want to tell you about is my son's gentle spirit and I just couldn't tell you without baring my soul.

So, like I said, yesterday was a bad day. It started with a grumpy toddler and it just went downhill from there. When I blogged about Garrett going upstairs in search of a pacifier, I failed to understand the depths of his disaster. He left nothing unturned in his efforts to pacify his addiction. He finally came downstairs, in a better mood. Later, I climbed the steps and discovered a destroyed bedroom and playroom. I started cleaning them when I remembered that I really needed to relieve my bladder. That's when I realized that even my room was disheveled. As I headed toward the bathroom I saw the puddle of travel shampoo that Garrett had spilled onto my carpet.

I yelled at him.

But before I could clean it up I really had to go. So I darted in to the bathroom. Suffice it to say, I'm not pregnant. I've been unpregnant for the last twenty months and I think I've shed exactly seven tears. Truly, I think there have been two months where I've felt the sting and allowed myself to cry--for about ten seconds before shaking it off and remembering that God knows the plans he has for me. Maybe I should have cried more. Maybe the hysterics that ensued yesterday were the result of what is now 21 months of bottled up emotions. I honestly do not know what came over me but I started sobbing and I couldn't stop. I know part of it has something to do with the fact that we are now in the "wait for someone to choose us" stage of our adoption. There is nothing I can do. Nothing I can control. I know part of it is how badly my son wants his own baby so that he can stop holding all the babies at church and hold his own sister or brother. I know part of it is simply that I never stop thinking that maybe this will be the month. But to say that I lost it would be an understatement.

I tore past my toddler, who was staring at the shampoo mess, and into the other upstairs bathroom where I keep all related definitely not pregnant paraphernalia. At that point I was merely feeling like I was going to lose it. I sat on the bathroom floor and officially lost my grip. All the while I was thinking that my toddler could not see me like this. And all the while there was nothing I could do to stop it. When hope authentically shreds, I've learned there is little I can do to sew it back together. It feels like a disjointed lie and I am altogether ill for having believed it. It's not that I lose faith in hope for hope's sake, mind you, I just exhaust myself by hoping for infertility's sake.

I silently but rather convulsively sobbed on the floor of the bathroom and my son bounced in. As he saw me he came to a screeching halt. I tried to stop crying. Really, I did. "Mommy," his little voice whispered. I couldn't answer. What would I say? Oh, hey there, kiddo. Mommy is totally fine. This is just something she does on occasion? Or, a more truthful answer, Mommy has completely cracked up. This happened a lot before you were born and I thought that, at two and half, you were ready to witness it in full force. There was truly nothing I could say in that moment. He slowly approached me. "Mommy," his eyes implored my own. I was on my knees with my legs tucked under my body. He stood just in front of me and, ever so tenderly, reached out his left arm. He placed it on my right one and gently rubbed up and then down. In that moment I was fiercely proud of his compassion and exhaustively moved by his sweet spirit. He searched my eyes once more, moved his hand to my cheek and stroked a tear away, and, as I wondered how my toddler could be fulfilling the role of a parent so brilliantly, he whispered. "Sorry, mommy." I told him he didn't do anything wrong and he didn't need to apologize.

"Sorry, mommy. Soap on floor. Me clean."

My child, my heart, my only sweet baby thought that I was uncontrollably sobbing on the bathroom floor because he'd spilled shampoo on my carpet. That made me cry even more. I pulled him onto my lap, smothered him in snotty kisses, squeezed him tight and told him that I was not crying because of shampoo, that it was much bigger than that and had nothing to do with him. I alternated between praying and talking directly to him and said how thankful I was for him and how much richer my life was because God had brought me through the storm once before. When I'd calmed down slightly, he turned and faced me.

"Mommy. Me clean soap. Sorry." He ran and opened the linen closet, got out his Lightning McQueen towel and darted in to my room. I followed him explaining again that I knew he didn't do it on purpose and I'd clean it up and that wasn't why I was crying. I tried to clean it up but honestly it just kept frothing and bubbling and I finally gave up. Trying to pray, I explained to an omniscient God that I know he knows the plans he has for me but my emotions don't always understand reason. I pulled it together and made my son lunch. As he happily ate I silently broke down again. While I whispered more prayers, Garrett turned to face me. "Sorry, mommy," he said, seemingly exasperated at having to apologize so many times. I reminded him that I wasn't crying about the shampoo.

There is a part of me that hates myself for allowing the anguish generally contained to my womb to permeate my thoughts and my heart. But sometimes we have to climb a steep trail to see the view. As a Caedmon's Call song says...

Looking back You know You had to bring me through
All that I was so afraid of
Though I questioned the sky, now I see why
Had to walk the rocks to see the mountain view
Looking back I see the lead of love

I'll hope again. I will hope for hope's sake. I will probably hope for infertility's sake and I know I will hope for adoption's sake. I'll hope that today will be the day someone will choose me to love her child. I'll hope because, if that dream becomes despair, I have a little boy who I once only hoped for, waiting to put his tiny hand on my cheek.


  1. Um, I don't even know what to say, but I feel I have got to say something. (Your blog does that to me a lot.)


    I am so sorry for your pain.

    And I'm sure this won't help, but you are completely the type of mother I hope to be when my baby comes, even on your "bad" days. You inspire me, with your faith and your patience and your love for your son.

    And, you REALLY could sell a million copies of a book about your misadventures in fertility and everything else so when all else fails, keep writing. :)

  2. I agree with Jen.
    And how wonderful that God gave you a son not only full of mischief, but compassion as well.

  3. You make me proud to call you a friend. Your courage and hope astound me, but what I find even better than that is how much you love your son, Garrett. You don't just love him and secretly spend all your energy pining away for another child - but you put forth all your energy, heart and soul into that little boy. You truly give him everything you've got!

    You are an amazing and strong woman and deserve a release every now and again. Your family is in my daily prayers to grant you a sibling for Garrett and a new baby for you and Troy. No birth mother could ask for a better family to intrust their little being to.

    God will provide.
    God will provide comfort, strength, love, and I'd be willing to believe a baby - all in his miraculous timing.

    I love you and your sudsy carpet.

  4. such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing and being real. and i agree with your friends, you're doing such an amazing job..even in the 'ugly crying' scenarios. still praying.

  5. hugs. that's all i can say. well, that and prayers, which are a heck of a lot better than hugs!

  6. It's nice to know I wasn't the only one left speechless, yet desiring to say something. I second the thoughts of these women. J

  7. I love your heart so very much.