I just kept hearing the word “emergence” in my head recently. Where am I going to wake up and make my next move? What will it look like? Do I really need to abide by these self-imposed rules? Or can I just…do what I want to do? Is it okay for me to emerge into this new unfamiliarity of a world where I am not making every decision based on if a child will enter it?
Dammit, I think it is okay.
Anyone who’s dealt with the crapshoot of fertility treatments and/or the wait to be chosen by a birth mother knows that we find ourselves not doing stuff because of the giant What If. What if treatment actually works and we get (and stay) pregnant? What if I’m on the hormones and need to be available for ultrasounds? What if Ethiopia miraculously reopens their program and we get a referral? What if we don’t get chosen by a (domestic) birth mother by Spring when we want to put our house on the market?
Well considering only one of them truly applies to us (Ethiopia having gone from the forefront to a pipe dream comprised of a small binder stuffed in the back of my office… I suppose I could toss it but the letters of reference from our friends or something that I occasionally still go to for a little confidence boost…even if half the friends ghosted us as we went into the depths of IVF after that…some of my infertility readers don’t realize that we started the adoption process *before* we started IVF), what it comes down to is that we still need to live our lives as a family of two. Clearly we’ve been attempting and preparing long enough to be a family of three that we can give ourselves a break and focus on our life together as two people, one dog, 4 ducks and 10,000 or so bees.
Last week as I was driving back from the meat market with a slab of pork belly for my husband to make this month’s latest charcuterie (pancetta, mmm, a big slab of it curing in the basement closet…but more on that later), a Sheryl Crow song I love from way back in my past came on, and it made me think how far I’ve come in my life.
When her album first came out, I was spending a very strange year of my life in Denver, Colorado, a place that was a terrible fit, but ultimately led to spending the next seven years in Seattle, which was an absolutely awesome period of my life. Anyhow, the song was Can’t Cry Anymore and I played it over and over as I drove out of the Rockies and the altitude and the real weather, and back towards the Beautiful Big Trees and mildness of the Pacific Northwest. And then, last week I found myself, a little over two decades later, singing along and thinking about how I never would have guessed back in my early 20’s that these words would have such incredibly new meaning.
Wouldn’t it be good if we could hop a flight to anywhere – So long to this life
So much for pretending – Bad luck’s never-ending
Sometimes it hurts – but when you read the writing on the wall
Can’t cry anymore
And too much time I’ve been spending with my heart in my hands waiting for time to come and mend it
I can’t cry anymore
So I’m placing one foot in front of the other. Dividing up plants, propagating others, touching up paint, looking for more things to sell, filling up donation bags for Goodwill, and vetting home builders. Thinking about the upcoming holiday season, from pulling out the sweaters and polar fleece, to deciding with my husband that we’ll not cook for Thanksgiving and go out to dinner instead (mmm, Peruvian…), to working on strategy for my business for 2018 including finishing that damn book I started three or four years ago. What a concept, living life without fertility hormones or calendaring our lives around maybes.
It’s not a perfect process of course. The other day I decided to go through a giant box of old photos that had not yet been digitized (I’ve got my entire photo library on Shutterfly, otherwise I would be buried amongst thousand page photo albums…for you kids who can’t visualize, I come from the land before digital cameras, and as a longtime photographer I still have a binder of negatives in the basement – even if there are maybe two places in town that still print from negatives and it’s been almost 20 years since I was in a darkroom), and in there I found a photo of myself being held by my gram, and another one of my husband, the cutest chubby-cheeked 5 year old, and I fell apart thinking about how I will never get pregnant. How it’s been almost three full years since I was told my eggs were pretty much gone and therefore I’d never have a child with my eyes, and how it’s been 5 months since our sixth and final round of donor egg IVF ended, and therefore we would never see my husband’s smile in our child’s sweet face. And as anyone who has unsuccessfully battled infertility while pursuing adoption knows, it doesn’t make the child we ultimately get to adopt any less significant to us. It’s apples and oranges.
But even though this happened, just like all grief, at least it happens less and less as time passes. I’m breathing, still. I’m emerging from the haze.