This Friday would have been my due-date. And yes, I’m going to go there: it should have been my due date.
I can’t help but notice how different it is for me this time around. Just about a year ago was my due-date for #1. And honestly, I don’t really remember processing it at all. I think, at that time, I was at peace with my first miscarriage. I realized, while sad, it happens sometimes. I think I was okay because I didn’t think it would happen again.
This time around, I’ve been very cognizant of milestones. Of dates. Of events.
On Mother’s Day: “I would have been 2 weeks away from holding my little one in my arms.”
While planting flowers and doing yardwork: “I would have been too pregnant to be doing this right now.”
At my assorted school events earlier this month: “I would have been fat and waddling around; I would have been needing to take it easy.”
Seeing the pregnant lady at my aunt’s graduation over the weekend: “Wow, she’s really pregnant. About to burst. That would have been me.”
Instead of wrapping up things at work and making sure my hospital bag is packed, I’m going in for my 3rd IUI tomorrow. It’s not lost on me: “I shouldn’t have to be doing this. I should be getting ready to welcome my baby.”
Should-have-been. I know. It’s dangerous to go there. Who even has a right to say what ‘should be’? I’m not God; I have no right to even speak about ‘should.’
But still, it creeps up in my heart. It shouldn’t be this hard to have a baby. And while I’m not a basket-case and I’m coping pretty well, there is still a background sadness that I carry with me. For what should have been.
My good friend saw me this morning at worked and asked how I was doing.
‘Okay,’ I said, as I usually do.
Being her usual, observant self, she said, ‘You’re not okay.’
No, I wasn’t. I told her about tomorrow. I told her about Friday. I told her how my life is lived in 2-week blocks: from cycle-day-1 to ovulation to the 2-week-wait; every 2 weeks, I can eat turkey and drink coffee and have a decent work-out. I told her how tiring this roller coaster is: every menstrual cycle coming with a twin cycle of hope-possibility-fear-disappointment-perseverance-hope….
She did what any good friend would do: she cried with me, hugged me, told me how sorry she was I had to go through this, and she prayed for me.
She said one thing in her prayer that really struck me: she prayed that I would ‘look to the future and not get stuck in the present.’ That really caught my attention because usually, we are instructed to do the opposite: focus on today and don’t look too much to the future. But I understood what she meant.
Right now, the present hurts. It sometimes feels hopeless. Like it will never change. But hope looks to the future; hope believes that things can and will change. That things won’t always be like this.
So I’m trying – to live in the present and have hope for the future. I’m managing, I suppose. Some days, I’m doing better than managing; some days – worse.
Instead of packing my hospital bags this Friday, I’ll be packing bags that will carry something a little different than all the baby gear: My bathing suit. Sunscreen. Flip-flops. Summer clothes (that are too tight, by the way, thanks to this damn Clomid).
A generous friend invited me and a few girls from work to a house she rented on Anna Maria Island in Florida. And she paid for my plane ticket, too.
When I think about it, I’m touched by God’s care for me. He knew Friday would be hard. He knew that being home in my normal enviroment would only make me dwell on what should-have-been.
I’ll miss J., for sure, but I won’t lie. There is something carefree and healing about escaping with the girls in a house on the beach. Doesn’t make up for not having a baby, but if I have to be anywhere, Anna Maria Island is not a bad alternative. Takes the sting out a little.
Part of me doesn’t want to think about it or remember what Friday is. Another part of me doesn’t want to forget.
In what I think is a fair compromise (at least that is what I tell J), I bought something to remind me but not crush me. (And if we are talking about ‘should-have-beens,’ I ‘should have been’ getting a Mother’s Day present this year, anyway.)
Another friend of mine had an Origami Owl party, and trying to respect the budget, I had no intention of buying anything. Then, suddenly, it hit me that this really would be the perfect way to remember and at the same time, hold on to hope.
The gold November stone is for Baby #1; the pink October stone is for Baby #2. And ‘hope’ is – well, it’s my word from God for this year – and I don’t want to forget that, either.
So I’ll bring #1 and #2 with me into IUI#3 tomorrow. I’ll bring them with me to the beach on Anna Maria Island this weekend. I’ll bring them with me always.
And, I’ll bring ‘hope.’ Because hope is there, too.