I desperately never wanted to be here again – ONE YEAR of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy. The one year – at the end of which – the medical world pronounces you infertile. It’s a sentencing no one ever expects to hear, a label that morphs into a stigma. A proclamation that tears hope right out of your gut. A diagnosis that rocks you to your core.
We’ve been here before. Thirty-two months of infertility. What I always thought of as natural became very unnatural with the increase in doctors visits, lab testing, medication, and procedures followed by negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. Inquiries started pouring in about the state of my uterus. People informed me that it’s time for children. I offered a composed response but inside I was falling apart. Mother’s Day became a bold reminder of an unfulfilled dream. Every social media pregnancy announcement stung. I had no idea if my lifelong dream of becoming a mother would ever come true.
Then, out of nowhere, those two, bold blue lines showed up. Shock, disbelief, joy, trembling, and tears. Miracle of miracles – I was pregnant! There was sickness I could have done without. Cravings and aversions galore. That rounded belly I’d always imagined. The wakeful nights and countless trips to the bathroom. I cherished every piece of that pregnancy. I’d waited too long, faced too much disappointment, and been on too many emotional roller coasters to make a complaint about the exhaustion, lack of appetite, or weight gain. I was the happiest I’d ever been. Until the day our daughter made her entrance into our world. And then happiness didn’t even begin to describe it.
Now here we are again – desiring to grow our family but faced with the reality that it may be just as hard the second time around. We have been assured by doctors that fertility increases after giving birth and I’ve clung to that hope, believing it would be true for me. I’m very aware of the time that is passing by as I watch my little girl turn into a big girl. The pain of this unmet desire is surprisingly different. The one-year mark is hitting me like a sucker punch just like last time, but in a whole new way.
This new version of pain is leaving me a bit baffled. The emotional lostness isn’t present yet. I feel a sense of hope for my body because a healthy and successful pregnancy is on my record. There is the promise of possibility. I’m turning 30 this summer and feel rushed to know the answer of how our story will continue to unfold. While friends continue to conceive baby after baby with seeming ease I wonder if I’ll ever get another chance.
Watching my daughter move away from the baby years is both thrilling and depressing. My heart aches for a chance to do it all again. I want to feel those baby kicks and punches on the inside wall of my basketball-of-a-belly. I want to repeat the exhilarating joy of birth after grueling labor. I want to hold a sweet-smelling newborn in my arms. I want to nurse again. I want to watch a tiny baby grow. I want to reiterate the sweet stages of that first year. I want another little human to love. And I want the chance to cherish each moment just a little bit better the second time around. If there ever is a second time around. While I don’t yet feel that all-too-familiar dread of negative pregnancy tests, and I’m not yet facing the month-by-month roller coasters of emotion, I do sense a stark emptiness in our family. There is an extra room in our new home beckoning for a new, tiny inhabitant. There is a big sister who prays for her mommy to have another baby in her tummy. I know we’re not complete.
While we wait again for those two blue lines, another life to add to ours, I cling to truths that were eroded in my heart through the waves of prior grief and disappointment. Truths that were my lifeline through years of confusion. God’s grace is turning up for me daily. The gift of life I enjoy every day in my daughter still makes my heart sing. Her twinkling eyes and bright smile light up my world. But hope-deferred is not a place I wanted to revisit. But I’m here. We’re here. We feel an emptiness but have no power to fill it. So we wait, but not in vain. We wait expectantly, knowing that in our waiting we find strengthened faith, deepened love, and great joy in God’s present gifts. And we look forward to the day when our hope-deferred is no longer deferred.