This past Sunday morning at our Michigan home was a rough one.
I should preface this by saying that the raggedness of that morning had absolutely nothing to do with the baptism we attended later on that day. Because I was actually looking forward to spending time with these good friends; a couple that experienced the roller coaster of infertility first hand. I was looking forward to meeting their daughter for the first time.
Nor did it have to do with spending time with those other family friends’ kids who are waaay too adorable. Because, believe me … seeing how these kids grew so much over the past six months was just plain fun. (Personally, the story about our friend’s two year old son placing a Vic.toria’s Secret bag on his head and walking around calling himself Opti.mus Pri.me was my absolute favorite!)
Nope, what made the morning rough was what I stumbled upon while cleaning off the top of our dresser.
And the thing is … I should have known better because it was in the same exact place I left it when I last stumbled upon this item.
Hubby happened to be there this time when I found the picture of our two would-be babies. And he noticed the subtle flinch I made as I picked it up and set it aside … this time to pack it away so that it would be “filed” somewhere safe, so as not to be lost while in the midst of our “final” move to Chicago.
And when Hubby asked me if I was okay, I told him the truth. I was okay for the moment, but I was sure that it would affect me at a later date. It could be tonite … or it could be next week.
As it turned out, I would have to face my feelings about my failed IVF at that very moment. Because that was the moment that Hubby stood next to me, picked up the snapshot and said, “I’m going to throw it away.”
“No,” I immediately responded. “Don’t.” And when Hubby asked me why, I responded “Because that’s the only picture I have of them.”
Them, meaning my babies. My one instance at biological motherhood I would ever experience. The one time I could ever say that I had babies inside of me. So what if my babies didn’t “stick”? So what if I never got my second pink line? Or an HCG level that would ever equate to a positive pregnancy test? That picture was everything that could have been. That picture harvested all those unfulfilled possibilities.
And even though that one and only IVF cycle failed … that picture showed that Hubby & I were able to create something (or rather three * “somethings”… even though we didn’t have a snapshot of our third) from the two of us. It was a testament what lengths Hubby & I traveled in order to have children created from our own flesh and blood.
“It doesn’t matter,” Hubby said in response. “We’ll always know what they mean to us.”
And because I had no smart reply to that, Hubby continued. “It’s time to move on,” he told me. “We need to keep moving forward.”
“D*mn it,” I remember thinking to myself. “He’s right.” But rather than acknowledge it (after all, I am stubborn), I continued cleaning off the dresser.
That is, until Hubby snuck up behind me and put his arms around my waist. “It’s time,” he repeated.
“I know,” I finally said to him as he picked up the picture from where I last placed it on the dresser.
“So I can throw it away?,” Hubby asked.
“Yes,” I said. “But do it quickly before I change my mind.” And then as he took the picture and walked towards the trash can, I turned the other way.
“I can’t watch,” I told Hubby.
I listened to Hubby slowly walk away from me and pause by the bedroom door. Where the trash can was. And after a quick rustle of paper, the picture was gone.
I blocked that moment out of my mind for the rest of the day; busy with two parties, the one baptism I mentioned above and the other a birthday party for my aunt. Both at buffet restaurants, may I add. (Still. So. Stuffed.) Then it was the long drive back to Chicago so I could work in the morning.
It wasn’t until Hubby & I dropped my cousin off (who bummed a ride with us to attend our Aunt’s party) that Hubby and I talked about our “babies” again. And how hard it still was for me to let them “go.”
That’s when Hubby turned to me and told me that it was hard for him too. Hard for him to throw away the picture. Harder for him to let go than he thought.
And as sad as that moment was for me, there was that little sliver of hope … that small glimmer of light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel. Because even though our car was packed with stuff we were moving from our old house to our new “home” in Chicago … the weight in my heart felt just a smidge lighter.
I guess this means I’m actually letting go.
* Our third “something” was a lone blastocyte that was frozen. Hubby and I had hoped that more blastocytes would have survived the initial IVF procedure so that we would have the ability to try a “frozen cycle.”