“Sorry…” That’s all I had to hear to know what she meant.
That’s not what you want to hear after going for several weeks to get blood work done every other day at 7am, taking pills and injecting 2 to 3 needles in your stomach and your bottom every night and going to sonograms every week. No, definitely NOT what you want to hear.
But let me go back a few years. Alex and I got married 9 years ago. I was 30 and he was 26. Yeah, I’m a cougar! :) We married in August and the following January, 4 months after we got married, we decided I should go off the pill since we wanted to have at least 3 kids because, let’s face it “who wants to be in their 40s and still be having babies?” Oh the irony of that statement today.
I have to say that not even once did it cross my mind that getting pregnant would be an issue for me. I come from a family of very fertile women. I mean, my mom would say that all dad had to do was look at her and she got pregnant. She gave birth to 9 kids to prove it! So yeah, never thought I would be here telling you THIS story.
Not getting pregnant the first few months, even the first couple of years, was not a big red flag for me. I mean, “I’m still in my early 30s. I’m good!” And so I went about my daily affairs. Loving my life every single minute. Not even when I hit 35 was I super concern about it. “It will happen. All in God’s timing.” Yeah. God. He plays a HUGE part in all of this.
But I’ll get back to God later.
You see, this story is not about what God ‘blessed’ me with but the ‘lack’ thereof.
I grew up in a home where we not only valued faith but we lived it and breathed it! My dad was a pastor, as a matter of fact, he is still a pastor, has been for over 55 years now. So I grew up going to church and hearing stories of people and the things that God has done for them. Like the person who was in need of a healing, prayed and God answered their prayer miraculously. I also grew up hearing statements like: “Just ask and you shall receive”, “If you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you”, or “God will never leave you nor forsake you”. And not only did I grow up hearing these statements, I’ve said them myself to others while encouraging them.
The journey I’m about to tell you may not be the biggest ‘tragedy’ this world has ever seen but it is MY ‘tragedy’, my hardship. Aaaahhh, yes, Mr. Hardship has knocked on my door a few more times than I would have liked. The last knock came that day when I heard the voice of the precious nurse on the other side of the line saying: “sorry…the test came back negative. I’m so sorry”.
You see, we had finally decided to give fertility treatments a try a few months back and though I never went into it with big expectations that was NOT the answer I was hoping to hear. This was our third try. So now we have 2 failed IUIs and 1 IVF on top of the 8 years of waiting and wondering every month if we were pregnant.
Hardships. They’re never easy, never pleasant, and NEVER a bearer of good news.
I wish I could tell you that these hardships never paralyzed me, never knocked me down, never caused me tears, never caused me pain, never made me doubt. But I can’t.
We’ve felt the pain.
We’ve been paralyzed.
We’ve been knocked down.
The day I called to get the latest test results I was at home sick and when I heard the answer, I simply said: “that’s okay. Thank you” and hung up. I was sitting on the top of the stairs and began to sob. I didn’t say anything, just sobbed. Tears sometimes are more expressive and more heartfelt than the sound of any words I could ever utter. So I sobbed. I kept looking to the sky as if trying to get an answer to my silent ‘Why?’ but got none. I got knocked out...again. So I went back to bed. And if I would have had a big bag of potato chips I would have taken them to bed with me. :)
I was supposed to call Alex to let him know the results but, “what will I say?” or “how will I say it?” I waited a bit but knew I had to call because he’d like to know. The phone rang and I heard his sweet voice say, “Hi honey!”. I tried to say hi but all that came out was a cry and not a pretty cry at that. He knew. I didn’t say anything but he knew and then said, “I’m coming home honey.” I heard the front door open and heard him run up the stairs and as he entered our room he hurried to hug me. And he cried. We both cried. We said nothing to each other. We just hugged and cried.
After a while we were silent. Just in bed, next to each other, with Netflix on the iPad playing episodes of the ‘West Wing’ trying to occupy the mind as if somehow it could drown out the feelings of the loss we felt that day. At some point I spoke up and said: “why do you think God doesn’t want us to be parents?”, “why do you think God doesn’t feel I would be a good mommy?”, “I think I could have been a good mommy and I know you would have been a great daddy”. Loaded questions and statements to say and ask, specially to a man, even more so to the man laying next to me for he was in pain just as much as I was and he had just as many loaded questions as I. He had no answer. All he had was, “I don’t know honey. I don’t understand it.”
I know I’m in the company of thousands who have verbalized this ancient three-letter word in their own moments of hardships as well as in the company of the many who haven’t received an answer, yet. The reality is that some things in life have no rhyme or reason. Some things are not able to be explained audibly or theologically. Unjust happens on the 'just' and we are often left baffled as to the why.
In life, there are going to be times when we will be thrust into pivotal moments. Yes, unwelcome moments in which you have to define, or perhaps, redefine who you are, what you believe, what you value. And it is at that moment that we are given the chance to disable or empower the often overwhelming effects of, in this case, our ‘tragedies’.
I found myself at a moment in life where I could turn around and go in a completely direction. I felt I had a valid reason. My faith in all things good, in the Almighty was being invaded by tragedy. So the moment came when the journey ahead was pending on the answer to this question: “Will you still hold to your faith in the face of tragedy?”
This is why I sit here, staring at this computer, thinking, remembering, typing, telling you my story. Not because I have lived through it with the most outstanding behavior. I tell you this story because I believe that sharing our imperfections in the midst of our hardships brings about moments in which we can alter the outcome of its debilitating intensions.
C.S. Lewis said: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one”
Perhaps this is the beginning of new friendships.