I should back up--to the moment when I peed on not one, not two, but six pregnancy test sticks. To the moment where I stood alone in my tiny bathroom starting at these fortune-telling sticks and they all beamed back up at me a resounding YES. YES! the thing that you have wanted since you were a little girl is happening. YES! it is terrifying and wonderful. YES! your body really DOES work the way it is supposed to after all. YES! to a happy new year. YES! to things falling into place. YES YES YES! I always thought I would scream, and cry, and jump up and down clutching Chris joyfully, but my reaction was much more internal and subdued. Instead of a triumphant outward celebration, I quietly began to allow myself to believe in steps-- I let myself acknowledge that my body felt different, I let myself realize we really could fit a crib in the room with us, I let myself fantasize about this little miracle that was cooking inside of me, I allowed myself dreams of her little cheeks and hands and her smell. And then in the darkened room of my first-ever ultrasound after being poked and probed and prodded, I was told I may have allowed myself to believe too soon. I was told that this was most likely a miscarriage. We would know definitively in a week they said. And so began the longest week of my life that was kicked off by an afternoon of “walking around like zombies” (as my best friend Jeremy later described it) that lead us to that fateful soda shoppe.
That day was the hardest I had experienced to date. The world skipped and jumped and raced around me as I moved in slow agonizing motion with the sound muted like I was underwater. My entire world hung in the balance while people selected books in the bookstore, bought tickets to movies, gathered groceries for dinner, and drank milkshakes. Looking back, I really only remember a foggy outline of the day. I know that I walked like I was moving through honey with Chris on one side of me and Jeremy on the other. I remember that day in black and white and blurred around the edges. That day faded into a night where I woke up repeatedly thinking it was all a dream only to remember it wasn’t and to cry myself back to sleep.
Each day from there got a bit easier as I realized that hope was not lost and I could not surrender to thinking it was. It could have been a miscalculation, it could be a mistake, it could be so many things. There was a thin line to walk between the power of positive thinking and not wanting to make myself vulnerable by ignoring the potential worst case scenario. Impossible as it seemed, I managed to get into a place where more often than not, I believed in a miracle. I had just as much reason to believe things would work out wonderfully as terribly. I renewed my faith in my body and it’s power. I did all that I could to renew my faith that the Universe would make things happen how they were meant to happen. I let myself joke and be distracted. My mom flew in to put a blanket of comfort around my entire apartment and me within it. I ate the foods I craved with no guilt for the first time in my life. I read stories of mothers who had been told all hope was lost, but lived to see otherwise. I surrounded myself with people who I am lucky to say love me to an unfathomable degree. And I waited. There were days when I walked around in a fog and days where I laughed like life was normal. It was a strange sensation to live through a week that you knew ultimately would not matter in the history of your life. I would either look back on that week as the week before something wonderful or terrible happened ...or before more of the same happened. That week was the closest thing I have ever done to putting my entire life on pause. I ate. I napped. My mother dusted my bookshelves and organized my cabinets. Dear friends drifted in and out knowing there was nothing to say. I engaged in an epic battle against the magical thinking notion that if I let myself get negative, the worst would happen. It stood to reason that if I could convince myself to be truly positive, the best would unfold.
One thing I knew is that I had no choice but to move forward. Ever forward. Whether it was against my will or not I had to wake up every day and breathe and allow myself to be open to what was next.