It Is All a Gift

Two methotrexate injections and three weeks later, I am still technically pregnant. Never would I have thought this blip of a healthy pregnancy would have turned into this – so far – 11 week journey. I haven’t known really what to write because I just feel a little stuck. Physically stuck, emotionally stuck, spiritually stuck. Exhausted.

All of this is okay, though. I am trying to accept the pain and the vulnerability I feel when more and more people are invited into my pain journey. If we don’t allow our stories to be told for the purpose of connection, what is the point of the pain anyway?

So, I am learning to let go. When my sister tells her friend at the gym, or my mom tells the woman I have never met whom has also gone through similar fertility pain, I don’t tell them to stop sharing. When the woman next to me on the plane asks bluntly if my husband and I have had trouble having kids since we don’t have any almost nine years into our marriage, I don’t mask the hurt in my eyes and my voice when I give her a simple, “Yes.” She may not understand my journey completely, but she understands struggle through her own lens, and she may understand another person’s pregnancy struggles better if I allow my story to be told.

I am not ready to offer my story up on say, my Facebook page, but I do want to use my experience to lessen another’s feelings of vulnerability, loneliness, and heartbreak. So, as uncomfortable as it is, I am fighting the reaction to control the sharing. I don’t think anyone actually wants to be the poster child for miscarriages, but – if this is a way I can help others – I will do my best to share in the moments that count.

As my family structure will most likely look different than I once imagined, my struggle will be easier to identify. I imagine wheeling a cart of groceries around in the store with my Haitian child and possibly another internationally adopted child. Once in a while, I am sure someone’s eyes will catch mine and I will get that look. The look laced with a little compassion and a little question, wondering if I couldn’t have biological children. The part that bothers me about this is that having adopted children is not a second choice! However, maybe the fact that people will identify a possible struggle more quickly will allow me to have more opportunities to connect and even possibly help others when they are stumbling around in the dark, confusing period I am in now. Maybe I will have more moments to share the pure joy and excitement I have for my uniquely crafted, god-given family.

To all of this, I pray to remain open, forgiving, compassionate, and honest. It is all a gift.

Banishing the Negative List

Sometimes, in the midst of the struggle, the God power beckons. He beams energy into us, or out from us, at the same time our challenges are making us numb. I’ve been fairly, relatively, unemotional about this last miscarriage and my life’s misdirection in general. I feel unsurprised. I wish I felt more hopeful, but I don’t feel hopeless – and I think that is worth noting. I don’t feel abandoned, and I am fighting my ego’s wish to feel misunderstood or vulnerable. Really, there is no need for those emotions.

Instead, I am steady. I have endurance. Laughter visits me. I have room to care about others. This extra space was not present a year ago. I will call that progress of spirit. Without being able to control circumstance, lightness still has a place in our home. Not in every moment, but we do not give into the desperation. For us, this is an important goal.

My husband and I have been fighting against what we call our “negative lists.” It’s so easy to feel like the protective glass table-top breaking last night – or the zillion other random things like that which have been happening (I’m trying not to concretely create my negative list in this post) – aren’t so random at all, and that we have some curse to lift. Refusal to live in a fruitless state of mind is the best way forward for us, whatever and wherever forward is (sometimes forward looks backward or completely upside down).

We are, instead, trying to create small moments of gratitude in the midst of the chaos. Nothing is final and there is great beauty all around us, including our four children whom we can’t wait to get to know better one of these days. This is not the way we expected many things in our life to unfold, but…

…we will keep living and keep creating, knowing we have some soul shaking-ly good moments to look forward to whenever the time is right.

Contemplating Desire Versus Calling

I don’t know how to start this post. Do I just come out with it – that I am yet again/regretfully/humiliatingly/confusingly miscarrying? That it feels a little like selfishness; a little like shame; a little like we should have known better, even though each doctor keeps telling us we should have no trouble having a biological child soon?

Do I add that I just found out today that last Friday – the day I found out my hcg levels had dropped in half – our dossier had also been stamped “received” in the Haitian government office in charge of making child referrals? I have said before that I don’t believe in coincidences…

My soul work lately has been a lot about trying to figure out the difference between desires and divine calling. When do we decide a desire (e.g. having a biological child) isn’t a divine calling in our life? I am reading Radical Amazement – Contemplative Lessons from Black Holes, Supernovas, and Other Wonders of the Universe by Judy Cannato. It is challenging me to dig deeply and try to distinguish how I can best evolve my spirit and my communities. What is the most powerful way that I can connect to others positively and fuel a collective transformation of spirit? It seems like a no-brainer that adoption will do this. But, is this revelation mutually exclusive (for me and my family – I obviously don’t believe having biological children is in any way a bad thing)?

As usual, I don’t have an answer. I may not for the better part of this decade, or my husband and I may have an aha moment tomorrow…who knows. What we plan to do anyway, is commit ourselves entirely to this Haitian adoption for now. With that commitment in mind, we will follow the advice of my primary obgyn and go back to the fertility specialist for more analysis and possibly more testing. Whether we do anything, with whatever information comes out of that meeting, is completely an unknown.

With this current pregnancy, all we prayed for was to stay open to God’s divine plan. Full acceptance of reality feels peaceful some days, and like a full on struggle other days. We are completely aware that full acceptance sometimes – dare I say often – means a death of some dreams. But, we have to make room for new and better ones.

Maybe this means we’ll adopt two kids. Maybe this means we’ll only adopt one and re-vision our nuclear family tree once again. And maybe, sooner than later, we’ll bring that second labradoodle home and name her Mimosa, finally giving Hollywood a buddy. Sometimes we just need to revise the plan, and that’s okay.

The Calm After the Storm

I believe the storm may finally be over. It’s a dangerous thing to put in writing because, as soon as I think I know something, life will prove me wrong.

I am not pregnant, my job situation is still a mess, adoption is two years off by my best estimate, and I still have to baby my dog, Hollywood, in order to keep him healthy from meal to meal. But, for the moment, I feel the eye of the storm has passed and now I just have to keep moving through the aftermath, picking up all the windblown pieces of my life.

We got my genetic test back yesterday and my chromosomes are normal (enter little happy dance here). I am learning to love working part time. The adoption keeps steadily moving forward as I dream of learning how to braid cute, curly hair and nourish beautiful dark skin after bath time. I have continued to cherry pick moments in life that give me happiness…and happiness is surrounding me.

I feel more appreciative than I was able to feel most of this year. All year I felt an outpouring of compassion for others and a true spiritual awakening, but I am finally accepting where my life has led me in this moment. I feel joy bursting open in my soul from simply participating in my life.

As our dear Adam’s birthday approaches, I know my heart will never be whole again, but it may have grown deeper and wider. I am forever changed and this “new normal,” as I’ve coined it, is getting more comfortable, although laced with a sadness that I will always know. Through the sadness, though, space for the next chapter has finally been created.

I will revel in the fact that my deep breaths aren’t restricted with the anxiety and struggle that has been plaguing them for the last two years. I will continue to embrace the joy in the small, everyday moments. I will cherish the right-now, whether this truly is the calm after the storm or just a little break before the next blow. Either way, I have right now, I can breathe, and I feel peace.