For ten days prior, I had decided to be positive. Well, that's not exactly it. I reached out to a 7-year-old, beloved-by-Oprah, pop-self-help phenomenon, The Secret. [insert eye roll] Okay, so I didn't really hop on that dated bandwagon, but for some reason I had been reminded of what a woman more New Age and spiritual than myself had told me a while back. She urged me to talk to my baby, that my baby was out there and that I needed to tell her that we were ready for her. Jamie has always told me that I'm too negative, (something that I've always argued as being realistic) so I figured it couldn't hurt to try something different.
For ten days prior, I talked to my baby. I told her about us and how long we've been waiting for her. I told her about how eager her grandparents are to meet her, about her three aunts and three uncles and her honorary aunts and uncles, about her two older cousins as well as the three cousins who would all be born just months before her. I pitched a happy and loving family. I cried to her in desperation then smiled when I felt that she was with me.
For ten days prior, I had convinced myself that I was pregnant.
I foggily walked to the bathroom, pressing the heels of my palms into the sides of my breasts on the way, trying not to trip over the dog dancing around my feet. The soreness I carried for ten days had mostly depleted. While aware of what this meant, the lingering warm-and-fuzzies from bonding and making new friends at Saturday's blog conference managed to buffer my disappointment.
After taking the dog out, I crawled back into bed with my iPad to skim through Facebook and Instagram. Immediately reminded that it was Mother's Day, I made a mental note to call my mom then mentioned to Jamie about my impending period. In typical Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus fashion, he didn't connect the dots like I had hoped, and I didn't connect them for him. Instead I held in my frustration that he couldn't figure out that this infertile woman was finding out she was, yet again, not pregnant on Mother's Day, and that she needed some serious spousal support. Instead, we argued over who was going to go get breakfast since we lacked anything substantial in the house. Not resolving anything, Jamie went downstairs and I continued flipping through Facebook.
I was doing fine with all the Mother's Day posts, even the ones about new or expecting mothers. There are quite a few of these on my feed, three of the expectant mothers being all three of my sister-in-laws, yet I'm finding it quite easy to be happy for them. Sara, the last of said sisters to fall pregnant, announced her pregnancy publicly on Facebook on Saturday, so I was reading through all of her congratulations when I fell upon a sweet comment from my dear mother-in-law asking "So how is our little Gummy Bear today?". For some reason, this triggered everything for me.
After crying for a moment, I closed my iPad, blew my nose, then curled up in bed. I rested for a few minutes, then decided to call my mom to wish her a happy day. When I finished up with my phone call, I went downstairs to see if we could decide on breakfast. Nope. Jamie was still grumpy that I wouldn't just go get some food, and I was still upset that he was still so unaware of my anguish. I sat in the dining room and cried a few minutes more before heading back upstairs and crawling back into bed to make myself fall asleep.
Having quietly showered and dressed, Jamie woke me up.
It was late morning, "Babe, let's go out to eat."
Startled, I looked sharply at him, covered my face, then fell back asleep. A little later, while on the phone with his mother, he woke me up with a gentle tap and silently urged me to get dressed so we could go to lunch. It was hot, so I threw on a comfortable summer dress. I messily applied some mascara and in an effort to make myself feel better, I stepped into some orange wedge sandals. I walked downstairs and sank into the couch. As we got up to leave, I took the shoes off and ran upstairs to put on flip-flops.
I felt okay as we drove to our lunching destination. While still heavy inside, I decided to make an effort to feel better, and it was kind of working. We grabbed two spots at the bar at Yardhouse; Jamie ordered a pretty tasty cocktail, I ordered a disappointing beer. We ordered lunch and I ignored the large groups of families out celebrating Mother's Day. I felt mostly fine until after we finished eating.
When we finished eating, I no longer had a distraction. My eyes wandered between a number of TVs surrounding me, settling on the golf tournament on a television behind the bar and to my left. I gazed past my husband as the broadcast showed a montage of unknowingly-filmed mothers with their children who were in attendance that day. A woman sitting next to a pond as her little boy throws grass into the water and her daughter picks clover from the edge of the water. A mother, hand-in-hand with her three children, strolling a path between holes, the eldest daughter wearing a pink visor and a polo shirt tucked into her khaki capri pants. Who brings their kids to a golf tournament!? Where are the dads!? I thought. A well-endowed blond bounces a grinning baby on her hip, the rock on her left hand catching the sun and creating a flare in the television camera. Oh, golf wives.
My eyes welled up and my face tensed, working hard to contain the tears within my eyelids. My uterus, that bitch, ached and cramped as if to rub it in. My nose tingled. My face felt hot. Unable to command my nostrils not to drip, I excused myself to the restroom. As I locked the stall door, my eyes relaxed and the tears ran loose. I didn't cry just then, I only allowed myself to clear what had built up. I wiped those tears and blew my nose. I used the toilet and made note that while slightly spotting, my period had yet to start.
I returned to my seat feeling a bit renewed and more calm. We tried to decide what to do with the rest of our day.
"Do you want to have another drink?"
I didn't know. We considered going home and to the pool since it was hot. I really had no preference, so I told Jamie that we could do whatever he wanted. If he was going to have another drink, I'd have another, but I didn't know what I should do. I told him, vaguely, that I was struggling which I felt that by then he had finally picked up on.
"Well, maybe you should have another drink!"
I considered that more alcohol would make it worse, and we both decided to just head home.
My face tensed and tingled once again and remained that way until we had finished our drinks, paid our bill, and walked to the car. About half way home, I couldn't contain it, and I sobbed silently. I let the tears run down my neck and chest; I've always found this to be therapeutic as if my tears were washing the hurt away. Jamie held my hand and didn't say anything. It was the gesture I had been fishing for all day and it caused a second wave of strong emotion to wash over me, overwhelming relief and gratefulness that he does, indeed, "get it."
We stopped at the grocery store and I waited in the car while Jamie shopped for dinner-making supplies. By the time he was finished, I was calm and collected (and annoyed that I didn't have one tissue in my purse or in the car.) Having let it all out during our ride home, I was able to get on with my day. When I walked into the house, I felt better. Not only better, but in a good mood. Having washed it away, my heaviness was gone.
My period came about an hour later and my reaction was nothing more than a casual "Aw, shit." I returned to the couch to continue on with our lazy Sunday, flipping through Mother's Day posts on Facebook and Instagram, half listening to the golf tournament on TV, giggling and that's-what-she-said-ing to the commenter's remarks.
("Did you see how it wiggled like a limp noodle when he swung it!? What power!" That's what she said.)
I felt normal again.
For ten days prior, I was confident that I will be a mother and today I can say the same.