I run into the chilly garage in my pajama shorts, tiptoeing on the cold cement around strollers and boxes and automobile oil. Swinging open the passenger-side door of my husband’s car, I lean in for a kiss. A long kiss. A kiss that says, “I love you,” and “It’s going to be okay,” and “We’re a team,” and “Surely today will be better.”
The sun has not yet fully risen this morning, as David leaves for an early test at Mines University. Abby’s restless sleep and “laughing” baby doll before 5 am (apparently, Abby’s “imagination” rarely rests) roused me early enough to provide the luxury of a second cup of coffee. A reward, really. Or, perhaps, more a consolation.
For yesterday, I confirmed that I wasn’t pregnant.
Hence, two cups of coffee during these dawn hours. Hence, the small glass of our favorite Leopold Brothers Maryland Style Rye Whiskey that David and I shared in bed last night. Him still studying. Me just blubbering.
I didn’t expect to be pregnant, but I hoped. Dreamed. Imagined all of the crazy symptoms such as nauseousness, cramps, migraines, food aversions, weight gain, spotting, and exhaustion were early signs of a miracle. Even my midwife last week thought the possibility was strong enough to order a blood pregnancy test. Miracles do happen, you know.
Instead, a miracle of a different kind is happening. I’m picking up the pieces of my weary emotions and finding the renewed energy to write. To process. To be vulnerable. To be raw. To be sad. To love. To begin to find the energy that IVF will require in the future when finances and life circumstances allow. To take today and its gifts as enough.
These past couple of weeks have ripped my heart wide open. Perhaps it all started with a birth I attended in October that ended with a baby born 9 weeks early being rushed to Children’s hospital for surgery and a long NICU stay. Then my dad’s emergency appendectomy on his birthday. Then a dear friend’s loss. Then David finding out that he didn’t get the SECOND job that we dearly hoped to materialize. Then weeks of migraines and debilitating exhaustion and physical symptoms. All probably because I’m stressed and not nursing Abby that much anymore. My body has decided to go on a roller coaster of postpartum hormones and is most likely developing painful cysts again (common for me since I was 16).
That sob story makes me just sound whiny, I know. And, I abhor the image of myself as a whiny wimp. I’m fine, really. I didn’t lose a baby, and life as a mom and doula is full to overflowing with goodness.
But, then, I locked my toddler and my keys and my phone in the car on Friday. In a parking lot. Before Abby’s music class. I was on the verge of hysteria, as my toddler cried in the car and it took 20 minutes for the fire department to rescue us. (HUGE thank you to a sweet friend who happened to be parked next to me, loaned me her phone to call 911, sat in her car nursing her fussy baby until help arrived, and then sent me a Starbucks gift card in my email. You don’t know how I grateful I am.) At least the firefighters made it sound like my predicament happens everyday. Still, that pronouncement did little to assuage my mommy-guilt.
That was Friday.
Yesterday was Monday.
Yesterday, Abby fell while I was visiting a client in the NICU, and David nearly took her to urgent care. Instead, a pediatric nurse talked him through how to watch for a concussion, and I listened to my baby crying over the phone while I was too far away to do anything about it. I have to admit…I picked up infant Tylenol AND chocolate for David on my way home.
Now, this morning is simply Tuesday. And Tuesdays are one of my favorite days. Tuesdays I stop and notice the small things.
Things like friends who lend you their phone and then send you Starbucks. Friends who have suffered much harder losses, but still sympathize with your negative pregnancy test. Friends, who let you whine and then tell you that you aren’t whiny. A husband who wordlessly joins you in bed after you wearily collapse cross-legged in the pillows. He’s that husband who can somehow have complex engineering calculations in front of him and still listen to the complexities of my mother’s heart. He’s the best kind of nerd.
This past month has taught me much, but too much to contain in this post. For now, it is enough that I’ve admitted that I locked my child in the car and confessed that this parenting thing is hard. Heck, very little about life is simple right now.
But, it is worth it.
And, I’m determined to live in the new mercies of today. To run into the chilly morning to kiss my husband goodbye. To relish two cups of coffee, because I can. To love deeply the people in my life. To count it all grace. To find sacredness in the rhythms of motherhood. To cheer Abby on as she pees on the floor again just inches away from her child’s potty. To relish her smile and her story and my role in it.