The phone rang and I looked at the number calling in. It was a familiar number but not one I recognized right away. I almost decided to let it go to voicemail but then thought better of it and picked it up. It was a friend from grad school.
We had lost track of each other in the years after grad school but then found each other on F B. I had been open about our IVF cycles with my updates there, about donor eggs and all. She had seen them and emailed me about her struggles. After that, until the phone call from her today, I hadn’t had any contact with her for well over a year. The last time I saw her she had just been through a failed IVF cycle and about to embark on another cycle. An email I sent her a couple months ago was met with no response. I figured no news, in this case, meant no good news.
So, the phone call today was a happy surprise. I could tell by her tone right away that she had good news to share. And I was happy to hear it. Even when she said she cycled in March, the same month we had our last IVF cycle. My first thought, not spoken of course, was that we could have been pregnant together and expecting a baby at the same time. Later, it occurred to me that in a parallel universe, my first thought would have been how I wished I could be her, happily looking forward to the anatomy scan to find out the sex of the baby. A tiny difference in thought, yet it spoke volumes about the head space I was in. My heart could have filled with jealousy and envy that my March cycle didn’t work. Instead there was just a sadness for a lost opportunity of a shared pregnancy with a friend.
For the last couple of months, I had been working my way through clothes TK had outgrown and baby gear that won’t be used again, at least not by me. I gave them away to a cousin who recently had twins, another cousin with a boy about a year younger than TK and my best friend, also with a son almost a year younger than TK. It wasn’t as hard to part with these things as I thought it would be. Maybe I could do it because all three of these women had some shared struggle with infertility. Maybe because I gave myself permission to keep anything and everything I just couldn’t let go. Maybe it was because all the particular items that I gave away to each particular woman just felt right.
I still have maternity clothes, nursing clothes and TK’s newborn items stored away. The newborn things I probably would have been fine keeping until the day TK went away to college. And beyond. But there seemed to be no point in keeping the maternity and nursing clothes except to serve as painful reminders of what I had hoped for. Yet, it would have been more painful to sell or even donate to strangers. I racked my brain for a friend or acquaintance who might be of the right size to use the clothes and came up blank. I decided to keep them stored away, hoping that a situation that felt right would present itself.
It dawned on me as I was talking with my friend today that she had the same body type as me. Without thinking about it too much I asked if she was emotionally ready for maternity clothes. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew it’s what I wanted to do and hoped she would want them. She told me she had been holding off buying maternity clothes because she had fears about the viability of the pregnancy. But, the idea that she might finally have a take home baby was now sinking in. I got her address and mentally made a note to myself to ask her whether she wanted to have my nursing clothes and TK’s newborn things when it seemed like she was ready to think about and plan for life after baby.
I am sitting here thinking about how right and how good it feels that the things from my pregnancy with TK and TK’s babyhood went to or are going to women who also struggled with infertility. How I wasn’t exactly sure what and how to give up some things but decided to trust my feelings. That as long as there was no strong doubts holding me back, I should just keep moving even though moving along this path also means shedding a lot of tears.
I didn’t get a chance to say this to my friend, but her phone call today helped me to remember, believe and trust that good things can happen despite choosing a path that also brings sadness.
You know how when you look back on life, you tend to remember the good things more than the bad? I hope when I look back on this year what I will remember most is not the pain of losing the dream of having more children, but that losing that dream allowed me to share with others some of the things that were a part of creating and growing TK.