Friday, June 22, 2012

Yes, that's it.

I came across this poem, "The Spot" by Holly Day, this afternoon. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page; it won't let me link to the individual poem.)

Yes, that's exactly how it feels. It'll be three years next month (and my first would have turned four at the beginning of this month) but that feeling came back fresh as the moment it happened.

Fair warning: this poem will probably make you cry. But I think it's a cathartic cry.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A bit peckish.

My sister had her third baby this week. I am valiantly restraining myself from packing my suitcase right now because my flight to go visit her and help take care of my niecephews isn't until next week and I don't want to be living out of a suitcase for that long. I am beyond thrilled for her.

Other friends and acquaintances have been having babies recently, too. I coo and ooh and ahh and gloat over pictures of teeny toes and fuzzy heads. And I'm thrilled for them, too.

But I can feel the baby hunger starting to come on.

It's not quite here yet. At most you could say I'm starting to feel like maybe I'll need a little snack in the next little while. But I'm pretty sure after a week of snuggling a cute little brand-new-fresh baby that the hunger's going to kick it up a notch. Or seven.

And a week of watching my cute older nephew and niece play with each other and my Little Guy is not going to do much to alleviate the desire I have to see what a great big brother he would be.

* * *

After we moved to Tampa I had to transfer my birth control prescription to a local pharmacy. I did this well in advance, feeling proud of myself for being so on top of things.

And then I nearly forgot to pick it up. When I finally remembered, it was only because I had to start a new packet THAT day. I thought to myself, "It's sure lucky that I have the car today or I wouldn't be able to get there before the pharmacy closes! And then THAT would have caused probl—"

Oh, wait.

This is me we're talking about here. The girl who was on no form of birth control whatsoever for nearly four years before that whole pregnancy thing worked out.

The chances of it making any difference whatsoever if I forgot to refill my prescription are minuscule at best. I sometimes don't know why I'm even bothering to take the pills when experience shows they're probably not necessary.

* * *

I don't want a new baby quite yet. The baby hunger hasn't really started up . . . yet.

But it was frustrating to realize—again—that when I DO want one, when I'm so baby hungry I could explode, it's not going to be simple, like grabbing myself a quick PBJ to tide me over until dinner. Or not refilling my birth control prescription.


But still, on the bright side: I GET TO SNUGGLE MY NEW NIECE IN LESS THAN A WEEK! Must . . . control . . . packing . . . urges. . . .

Friday, January 20, 2012

What might have been.

Today marks the second anniversary of my missed due date.

I spent it taking care of a busy little toddler, doing laundry, fighting off a headache and, from time to time, thinking about what might have been.

The emotions are complicated. I'm sad that we didn't have a second birthday party today. I miss the little one I never met.

But I found out I was pregnant with the Little Guy exactly 17 days after my due date. If the first pregnancy had worked out, what would that have meant for the Little Guy? I don't know how it works with pregnancy loss and the other side; whether each pregnancy is a separate soul or if it's multiple tries for the same soul to come to earth. I just don't know. I don't like the thought of the Little Guy being in any way involved with the miscarriage. But the sheer number of what-might-have-beens in this scenario make me a little dizzy.

In some ways it's easier to think about what might have been with my first miscarriage. That child would be three and a half now, with no overlap between either of my other pregnancies. It's easier to view as a separate instance without worrying about what may or may not have happened if I hadn't lost the pregnancy.

But with #2 and the Little Guy, there's no possibility that we could have had both at the times we did. And that makes me think about what is and what might have been, and the only conclusion I can come to is that I am so grateful that I have the Little Guy, no matter how it came to happen.

So I'll have a moment of silence and maybe a tear or two for my missing little ones, and then give two extra kisses to my son, and content myself with not knowing the whys and wherefores for the time being. Time enough to worry later about what might have been; for now I'll just give thanks for what is.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Santa, revised.

I wrote you a letter a couple of years back. I'd like you to please have one of your elves dig it out from the files and dust it off. Then I'd appreciate it if you could carefully read it through and consider it my letter for this year.

Except it's not for me.

All you have to do is change the names—and with your naughty/nice/asleep/awake omniscience, I know you know who I'm talking about—and you'll have my Christmas wish this year.

You really came through for me with that letter I wrote in 2009. Do you think you could see your way clear to pulling that same kind of miracle out of your magic bag this coming year?

I'll leave you the extra-special cookies. And again, I know you know the kind I'm talking about.

Thank you in advance—it'll be the best Christmas gift ever.

Yours, &c.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Darkness and Light

Today we went to see the Carl Bloch exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art.

Incidentally, the whole experience of seeing the exhibit was yet another confirmation that I am turning into my mother, as I started crying pretty much the second we walked in. Luckily, my mother is awesome so I'm good to go. (Note to my mother: Mom, I'm sorry for all those times when I teased you about your crying. Please come watch Tangled with me sometime and I give you full leave to laugh at me as I bawl my way through three-quarters of that movie. Seriously. It happens every. Single. Time.)

The Spirit hit me as we walked around the corner to see the giant picture of The Doubting Thomas (see the first picture in this article) and it only got stronger as we went through the exhibit. Of course Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda is a favorite and a common sight in nearly any LDS meetinghouse around the world, and I loved Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane (one wonders who the angel was).

But then I saw The Daughter of Jairus.

You can see a more detailed version here.

I wish the placard text for this picture was available so I could give it to you exactly, but it went something like this:

Instead of focusing on the moment of healing when Christ raises the daughter of Jairus from the dead, the artist instead shows the moment of deepest despair. The grieving mother has sat with her daughter all night, mourning for her death, until the light of dawn is creeping into the sky through the open door. With that light comes life. Christ is seen in the doorway and the moment of the miracle approaches.

So much of life and infertility is filled with those moments of deepest despair. I have wept many nights. I have spent sleepless nights knowing that the small hope growing inside me has gone. I have grieved for my missing daughters and sons.

But with light comes life.

Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.

This painting brought back to me full force the remembrance that Christ knows our every suffering and every pain, and has taken them all upon Himself. In this painting, He is coming to take them away from this mother and bring her joy again.

I was reading a recent blog post about The Days Before—those days before the Big Days that change our lives ("Tomorrow, when our lives changed," the author says). The post specifically mentioned some happy days before bad or difficult news came, but this painting also reminded me that there are the other Days Before. The last dark days before the light comes. I remember the last few days and months before each of my positive pregnancy tests. I remember the terrifying day before my first ultrasound with the Little Guy, when I was certain that it would all come crashing down around us again. And I treasure those days now, because they are made precious by what came after.

Because I lived through the dark, I was able to drink in the light more deeply, with more wonder and thankfulness.

With light came life.

The ultrasound proved that the Little Guy was there and healthy and we saw that amazing, beautiful heartbeat for the first time.

Christ has brought joy into my life in countless ways, not the least of which are my husband and son, and I thank Him every day for it. But I also am learning to thank Him for the darkness that comes before the dawn. Because of that darkness, I look at this painting and see not only the affirmation that Christ is the light, but that he is in ALL things, and that our knowledge cannot be made perfect until after the trial of our faith.

With light comes life, but it is the darkness before that lets us know the light best.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Birth story

For those of you who are interested but haven't already seen it, the story of the Little Guy's birth can be found here, here, and here. It's kind of ridiculously long, but then so was labor.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Three poems by Grace Noll Crowell

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month. Orson Scott Card has a post about it on his blog, which includes several poems by Grace Noll Crowell. I hadn't been familiar with her work before (although she did write the words of the hymn "Because I Have Been Given Much"), but three of the poems especially struck a chord with me in relation to the feelings and struggles of infertility and miscarriage, so I wanted to share them with you all.

I think that God is proud of those who bear
A sorrow bravely -- proud indeed of them
Who walk straight through the dark to find Him there
And kneel in faith to touch His garment's hem.
Oh, proud of them who lift their heads to shake
Away the tears from eyes that have grown dim,
Who tighten quivering lips and turn to take
The only road they know that leads to Him.
How proud He must be of them -- He who knows
All sorrow, and how hard grief is to bear!
I think He sees them coming, and He goes
With outstretched arms and hands to meet them there,
And with a look, a touch on hand or head,
Each finds his hurt heart strangely comforted.

A Prayer for Courage
by Grace Noll Crowell

God, make me brave for life,
Oh, braver than this!
Let me straighten after pain
As a tree straightens after the rain,
Shining and lovely again.
God, make me brave for life,
Much braver than this!
As the blown grass lifts let me rise
From sorrow with quiet eyes,
Knowing thy way is wise.
God, make me brave. Life brings
Such blinding things.
Help me to keep my sight,
Help me to see aright,
That out of the dark comes light.

This, too, will pass. O heart, say it over and over,
Out of your deepest sorrow, out of your deepest grief,
No hurt can last forever -- perhaps tomorrow will bring relief.
This, too, will pass. It will spend itself -- its fury
Will die as the wind dies down with the setting sun.
Assuaged and calm, you will rest again,
Forgetting a thing that is done.
Repeat it again and again, O heart for your comfort:
This, too, will pass as surely as passed before
The old forgotten pain, and the other sorrows
That once you bore.
As certain as stars at night, or dawn after darkness,
Inherent as the lift of the blowing grass,
Whatever your despair or your frustration,
This, too, will pass.

—Grace Noll Crowell