If you get hit by a paintball you won’t die but at the time of impact you feel you just might. The bruise aches for days to come. Last night I went to dinner with some friends and Tricia (who I wrote about here). All the women were either pregnant or new mothers. I knew this was coming and had tried preparing for the onslaught to come. The onslaught came. Sitting at the center of the table the conversations swirled around me like swarming bees threatening to sting. The talks about labor, feeling a child kick inside you, motherhood’s triumphs and burdens and the joy a child brings to your world.
I was fine. I prepared for these conversations. I felt like a soldier standing on the front line. Until. Until, Maria said with a smile the time that you hold your child within your womb is the most magical time . It’s so amazing to know you are sustaining them and that you both share a unique connection. Sting.
I felt in an alternate universe as the conversations continued around me. I held Maria’s ten week old baby and all I could think as I looked at her cherubic face was ten weeks. Ten weeks since I lost you Speck. I lost you for as long as I held you. I must sit with this smile plastered on my face while my heart crumbles inside my chest as I remember you. I saw you on the ultrasound. I felt the exhaustion and the nausea. You were real but you didn’t make it. You will never know these babies. I will never hold you. Maybe other babies, but not Speck, not my first.
Our friends followed us to our house for dessert and I cried the entire way home. I felt empty. Luckily dessert went much better. We ate chocolate cake and laughed and conversed until three in the morning. She made me smile when she said, Sometimes I just sit and watch her sleep. Then she said with a dreamy look Labor was amazing. I felt pain but I couldn’t help but think, wow I’m bringing a being into this world. I turned to her, and with a raised eyebrow said, labor was amazing? She laughed and said, Kate, I thought I would never be a mother. I wanted to be one so badly that every minute of pregnancy and now every minute of motherhood is a complete and utter blessing. I love hearing her cry. I love waking up at 2am to feed her. I don’t take a minute for granted. Wow- I got goosebumps.
As they were leaving Maria said to our husbands, Give us a second I need to talk to Kate privately.
Turning to me, she said Are you considering IVF. I did a double take. Was I that obvious? The huge IF stamped on my forehead? Or maybe IF sisters can recognize one another better? They notice the subtle clenching of cheeks or imperceptible sighs. I’m not sure. As we walked to the car she said Kate, consider this time a test from God. Consider yourself singled out to be drawn closer to Him. You have a good life, you met the guy of your dreams young, you went to law school, you have a house and great families, we can get stagnant spiritually when life is going well. Consider this struggle a blessing. It’s a time for you to grow stronger and learn a lot about yourself. Just remember if He wants it to happen, it will. I got pregnant naturally after four failed IVF cycles. He just has to say BE and it is. Consider yourself blessed and grow from your pain.
For the past few years I felt so conflicted about God and spiritual matters that though I believed, I kind of packaged it all away, observing some rituals but not really letting it enter and settle into my heart. But when moments like the one I shared with Maria occur. Those out of the blue moments where someone tells you exactly what you needed to hear . . . seeing Maria after two years and her opening up to me and sharing her infertility struggles and then, just when I reached my emptiest moment to pull me aside and advise me…. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps she came into my life when she did for a purpose.