Saturday, August 21, 2010

The capacity to hope

I am, in some ways, dumbstruck by the depth of grief that takes hold following recurrent pregnancy loss. I never saw a heartbeat, never even saw fetal growth, only only empty sacs. And yet the wound it left deep within has rocked me to the core. It has been 2 1/2 years since our first miscarriage and 1 1/2 years since our second. And there is still a real rawness to the grief. I am certain that rawness has been stoked, by not only the two losses themselves, but the loss that is experienced month after month of now not being able to even get pregnant. It makes those momentary losses, perpetual losses.

But even as I find myself shocked at the grief that I carry with me, what is even more astonishing to me is the heart, the soul's, ability to hope. Spontaneous, unbridled hope.

There is no predictability for me as to what will be triggered in me at the sight of a round belly or a newborn infant. Sometimes it is a wave of hurt, envy, bitterness. But there are times in which I am overcome by wave of pure hope. That comes out of no where. There is no glimmer of grief. No envy. And in that moment, no doubt what so ever. Only hope.

A co-worker of mine came in to my office today with her 4 week old son. I didn't know she was coming to visit. I didn't have any opportunity to mentally prepare myself. I walked around the corner, and there she and he was. She stayed and visited for an hour, and we oohed and aahed at her little tiny boy. And the wave came- the wave that runs through me that says "I want that more than anything, and I will keep up the good fight..." There is no doubt, only hope.

The capacity to hope really astonishes me. There are no odds or statistics in my story that tell me that it makes sense to hope. The odds are against us and the longer we get into this journey, the less realistic it seems to have hope that we will ever bring home a child. And yet those waves of hope rush over me at times....

We are actively TTC again. It has been 6 months since our third and final IUI that failed. After that we decided to go it on our own for awhile and see what happened, save money for IVF or something, we didn't know. I (we) needed a break at first, and so weren't watching the calendar or tracking ovulation. But that mini-break turned in to 6 months of almost no sex anywhere near ovulation time. There was no one reason for that long break- but many reasons I guess- exhaustion, busy schedules, DH out of town, a tiredness in our relationship, etc. I feel like it was lost time, which is frustrating when I feel like the clock is always ticking. But I am trying to let it be what it is, and more on and recognize we probably really needed that time.

Life is back in sync, and we started actually trying again this month. DH is enthusiastically asking for me to tell him about my ovulation signs. It cracks me up that he is so interested, but I am also grateful that after all this time, even he can hope....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our daughter has a middle name

It seems like my husband and I have been discussing names for as long as I can remember. We go in phases- sometimes we talk about it frequently, other times months or years go by between conversations. I'm not sure when exactly it started. But it seems like it has always been part of the fabric of our conversations, even long before TTC.

Through it all, there has been one boy name and one girl name that remain constant in our discussions. No matter how many ideas we come up with, how many combinations we play around with, these two names haven't changed. We feel like these are "the" names for the family we hope to have some day.

Amidst this certainty for first, names, try as we might, we haven't come anywhere close to middle names for a girl. We've talked and explored and gone in circles, only to end up back where we started.

Sure, there are plenty of names that we like, but we wanted a name that had some meaning, some significance. It just didn't seem right to select just any old middle name when our first name has so much meaning for us.

Nagging me, in the back of my mind, I really really wanted the middle name to have some family significance. But unfortunately, I had the bad luck to be born into a family that doesn't have that many agreeable names. We scoured our memory banks of aunts, great aunts, and other great greats, and never found anything that we could live with.

A couple of weeks ago, my favorite aunt flew out unexpectedly for a surprise weekend visit. My aunt is my dearest friend and was the most significant adult in my life growing up, besides my parents. I love her to pieces and so does my husband. I'm not sure how the conversation came to be, but we got to talking about middle names. And I realized that I didn't even know what my aunt's middle name was. As I heard myself ask the question, i knew in that instant, before the name was even on her lips, that the answer she was going to be giving me would have some significance in my life.

"Elizabeth. My middle name is Elizabeth."

My husband was on the other side of the living room, only semi-listening to the conversation. But he heard enough of the conversation to catch his attention. He made eye contact with me, and we both knew- that was it. A middle name for our daughter to-be.

Conversation changed topics, the weekend passed and my aunt flew back home. But several days later, I was still thinking about how much I loved that name. My curiosity took hold of me and I turned to the internet to look up the meaning.

Elizabeth means "My God is abundance"

My heart did a little beat-beat. That hard-to-describe inner hunch that comes when you just feel that something bigger than you can comprehend is at work.

It has been something I have held on to these past several weeks. There have been some low times again that have crept in, causing me to doubt that something beautiful will ever come to be from all this loss. But what has carried me through is hanging on to that hunch, those small moments surrounding something as simple and profound as the name "Elizabeth."

This past Sunday, all of this came together in yet another even more moving way. DH and I went to a new church that I have been attending this summer, but that he hasn't been to yet. My period was in full force, I had just learned of yet another friend that is pregnant. I had been in tears on the husband's shoulder just the night before, drowning in doubt.

But as the pastor spoke, I felt like she was tying my faith back together with the words of her sermon. She spoke about how often we are conned into believing in a God of scarcity- which leads to fear, self-doubt, and holding tightly to the finite. But God, she preached, is a God of abundance, not a God of scarcity. A faith in a God of abundance leads us to dance in all that is beautiful.

At times I it feels silly to believe that all of this means that some day I will hold a daughter in my arms whose middle name will be Elizabeth, and what is even sillier is that I feel like just be writing this, that I am jinxing myself and in deed none of it will ever come to be.

But amidst all of the doubt, I still can't help but hold on to the hunch, the hunch that calls me to trust, to believe in something unseen at work. That maybe, just maybe, a daughter whose middle name is Elizabeth, will some day come into our lives.

Or even more importantly, that maybe I will never forget that we worship a God of abundance.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Something Beautiful

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

- Something Beautiful, Needtobreathe

It was a friend of a friend on FB that made a comment in passing about this band, , and so in my mindless internet surfing, I starting listening to this song. And I haven't been able to stop listening to it all summer.

This is my desire
Something beautiful

It really is that simple, isn't it? Life? the infertility journey? If I could truly learn to trust that there will be something beautiful that will come from all of this, wouldn't the burden be a little less to carry?

Even though it is hard at times being on "this side" to read blogs of those on the "other side" I still follow along with blogs of fellow IFers who have their miracles in their arms. And regardless of whether their child is 3 months or 3 years, I am struck by how time and time again, IF moms reflect back on the darkness of their IF years in contrast to the the peace and contentness they now have. And it is authentic they aren't sugar coating things or overlooking how motherhood brings on a new type of difficulties in life. But there is a sense of..of..perhaps healing? There is something beautiful about their spirit.

If I could pray, that would be my prayer. As simple as that- that some day there will be something beautiful that will consume my spirit. I don't even care at this point how it comes to be. Maybe I will never be pregnant, maybe I will never have children at all. Maybe it won't look how I think it will look-

I just pray it is something beautiful.