10 months. It was my breaking point. I woke up with a migraine, did my usual migraine-remedy routine, and got ready for work. I was about to head out the door for my 50+ minute commute, when I realized I should use the restroom first. That’s when I saw it. A sight I’ve seen every month since I was about 12 years old. But this time was different. It was a day early. I was not expecting it that morning, and I had carried a very small glimmer of hope that our well-timed vacation that month had been more than just some perfect alone time with my husband. In the past few months, I had some cruel episodes of my period being late, and yet I still got negative pregnancy tests until it finally started. I was shocked it was early.
I texted Jeff, and then I decided to call him. When he picked up, I started to cry. It was the first time I had really, really cried since we had started trying that January. The sadness was mutual, but unfortunately, I had caught him briefly between patients at work. He could not talk long. I, on the other hand, still had 50 minutes before I would get to work.
These two thoughts came over my heart and mind: “It’s okay for you to be sad…” and “…just because you feel sad does not mean you have lost your faith or hope.”
That was it. I gave myself permission to feel sad, and I cracked open a place in my heart I had held together steadfastly for almost a year now. I sobbed. I sobbed so hard I am not entirely sure how I got to work. I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. And then eventually I called my mom. *I want to make this important note: I tried to be very intentional with calling her. I know my mom carries the emotional burdens of her children, and the last thing I wanted was for someone else to feel pain, too. So I called her simply to ask for prayers.
I did not ask for the prayers you would initially think of, though. I did not ask her to pray for us to get pregnant, or for a baby, or for it to happen soon. I asked her to pray for us to stay strong and steadfast in our hope, faith, and as a couple. But to no surprise, she had been, and for a long time. She helped me get to the point where I could go into work without active tears falling down. But let me tell you, that day was one of the hardest I have ever had at work from a personal standpoint. I am close with so many of my amazing coworkers, and all it would have taken was “Hey Lindsey” and I would have lost it again. So, I had to avoid everyone as much as possible. I found computers around the hospital that few people would walk past, and I was able to limit my tears to my bathroom breaks.
Jeff and I spoke on the way home, and he said something that took me by surprise. As many of you may be able to relate to, my husband is very open with me, but his emotions don’t usually get the best of him. He said that he had gotten home early from work, had cleaned a little, but otherwise, had just felt “lost” all afternoon. He told me as confident as he was that someday we would be able to have a baby, that he felt as sad as I did. We held each other when I got home, in silence as well as I can remember. Then we talked about how we wanted to keep living each day of our lives with as much love and intention as we could: with our marriage, with our health, and with our goals and dreams. Although I do every day, that day I sent up an extra thanks to God for the love I have in this man.
The next day was so strange. I was very fortunate that it was a scheduled day off of work for me, but I had to give Jeff a ride early in the morning. I woke up, got ready, and even had Jeff snap a few pictures of me in my inspo&grace apparel before we headed back to his car to drop him off. I happened to glance at the pictures, and noticed how incredibly puffy my eyes were as evidence of the day before. I felt this aire of confidence, so once I dropped Jeff off, I headed to a coffee shop to get some work done. I spotted the perfect table, and even took a deep breath of the fresh, cool morning air – grateful for it. I told the cashier that I wanted a chai tea latte. And completely unprovoked, my eyes filled to the brim with more tears. I have NO idea what happened. I did not see a baby, I was not even thinking about anything other than my order, and it hit me all over again. Somehow I waited long enough to get my order, rushed to my car, and had tears streaming down my face the entire way home. I spent 45 minutes at home sitting out on our back patio. No phone. No laptop. No multi-tasking. I just sat there and cried until I could not cry anymore. My dog knew something was wrong. He laid against my feet and let me pet him, whilst never walking away to get his ball for fetch. If you know my dog, you know that this is world-altering for him, ha!
There is a reason I am being so detailed about this grief. I hope that maybe, just maybe someone can relate to me in this way. I have a generally very healthy habit of being incredibly positive. I have a strong faith, I do everything I can to see the possibilities, the good, or the purpose in everything and everyone. When I am stressed or overwhelmed, I exercise, I pour into my relationships, I practice forgiveness of myself and others…it goes on and on. You probably are thinking, okay this girl is bragging about being a super positive person. But hear me out on this: these habits of mine have a negative side to them. I rarely let myself feel true pain, sadness, bitterness, frustration, resentment, etc. If any of these emotions start to rear their ugly heads, I immediately kick in my strategies to overcome them. But the problem with that, that I have learned through a few counseling appointments, is that rather than working through and moving PAST those emotions, I just suppress them. They are there, and I have to use my energy to keep them suppressed so often that I don’t even realize that I am doing it. So in my counseling sessions, we started them off by giving myself permission to feel these emotions. Once I let myself truly feel them, then we could focus on how to work through them and move past them as a stronger person.
I gave myself permission to feel my sadness as it came that week. Because I historically have not let myself do that, it was almost like a purge. I had more tears in me than I ever knew I could in a couple of days. But as I write this, I am coming out of that
state feeling so much better that I let myself do that. So if anyone is out there like me, I hope this story gives you something to consider if you are ever in a situation that you feel afraid to feel anything “negative.”
Here we are on this incredible journey. The journey to you, our sweet baby. We do not know you yet. We do not know how or when we will get to meet you, but we know that we are being forged into the parents you need us to be. Parents that love each other with a love deeper than we could have ever known had we not had this journey to you. And parents that will love YOU more deeply than we could have ever known had we not had this journey to you. We will know when we see your sweet face that every tear, every moment of getting knocked down and standing back up again, every hug when we don’t know what to say, every doctor’s appointment, every day of choosing faith and hope in this journey to you, that they were worth it. They led us to you.
Update: Early January 2020, our “yes” finally came <3. We were awaiting our appointment for a fertility doctor when I got my first ever positive pregnancy test. After days of total and surreal shock, we did still go in to the fertility clinic. They took incredible care of us from weeks 5-11. We are due in September 2020, and could not be more grateful for simply each and every day of this pregnancy.
My message to all of those women (and their partners) still in the valley:
I only got a small, first-hand glimpse of how hard this is on the heart. I have had a lot of second-hand experience walking with friends through infertility, miscarriage(s) and infant loss, and what I understand now, is that no one truly understands unless they’ve been through it. *Do whatever it takes to take care of your heart, even if that’s the most you can do some days.* The people who love you most will be there for you, even when you can’t always be there for them. I will keep all of you in my prayers every day, and pray you know that your worth is so much more than two pink lines could ever determine. <3
Photocred: (1) Ryann Lindsey Photography; (2&3) Black Mountain Photography