Today I saw a baby. Actually, I touched one. I smelled him.
This was a HUGE mistake.
He smelled like softness and dreams and well, babies. He smelled like impossibility.
I though it would be okay to approach this baby. This baby is “acceptable” to me because he came after a year of trying and a miscarriage at 12 weeks (isn’t it sick that I deem babies “acceptable” and “unacceptable” based on how hard and long they were fought for? Ugh, I make myself sick).
I thought it would be okay to touch this baby, to stroke his silky cheek, to snuggle my nose into the warm folds of his neck.
But it wasn’t okay. It wasn’t okay at all. I left that baby, still breathing in his heady baby smell, and walked into my staff meeting with tears brimming in my eyes.
I may never have that again, I thought breathlessly to myself, a hard knot calcifying in my throat and caging my lungs. I may never have another baby.
The reality of that possibility hits me like a sucker punch to my soul. I am not ready to face that prospect.
I’m not ready to embrace that uncertainty.
Because that is what it is really, a glaring uncertainty. It’s not like anyone has told me that I CAN’T have a baby, they’ve just told me that–barring treatments I can’t readily afford–there is very little probability of a baby. What I’m left with is uncertainty, obtrusive, unavoidable uncertainty.
I guess that is what infertility is, really, it’s uncertainty.
Which means the inverse is also true: fertility is certainty–that you can build the family you want, or one that closely resembles it.
Infertility is not being sure of that. Infertility is having to imagine life without realizing the family of your dreams.
Today Isa and I played “monkeys” on my bed. We scampered under the covers and read books by flashlight. It felt like someone was missing, like the ghost of my dreamed-of second child was there with us, reminding us of her absence.
I’ve never felt like that before, like someone was missing. I don’t want to feel that way, but now I do. What if I always feel like now? What if it never goes away?
Later, when we tucked Isa in for the night she requested “a family hug” and Mi.Vida pulled her out of her crib so we could all embrace. Is this what our family is meant to look like? Three heads pressed close together? Can I ever see just the three of us as complete?
I lay on Isa’s floor, exhausted from the sadness of today, wondering how I will handle all this uncertainty. Wondering if our family will ever feel complete.