The last few weeks have been rather difficult for me. I was happy for the week alone with the boys as I worked through an internal struggle that really had to happen. I decided that I am walking away from trying to have another baby. For good. It's over. The book is now closed. The end.
It really was a huge struggle. Before we went into our last attempt using an egg donor, I announced that I was okay with walking away whether we got pregnant or not. The truth was - I never expected it wouldn't work. In my heart I thought the young, healthy egg was our golden ticket to another child. I didn't believe that I wasn't pregnant - and I had an over abundance of negative pregnancy tests to prove my disbelief. I was sure the next test I took would turn positive. It didn't.
So during the week I had with the boys - I did a lot of staring at them. I did a lot of crying. I did a lot of confident boasting, saying out loud "I'm good! Two boys is perfect! Why mess with a good thing! Think of the money we'll save that can go to important things like Mommy's plastic surgery fund!" I was back and forth and back and forth - and shared my struggle with no one. Not even my husband. It was something I had to work through on my own, as strange as that may sound to many of you.
And then, just like that, I became sure. As sure as one can be when they feel broken hearted with uncontrollable regret. Ed and I were lying in bed one night and, taking his hand, I told him what I had struggled to decide. He squeezed my hand and wiped my tears and sweetly said, "Are you sure?"
I am sure.
You see, Ed may have been okay being "done" after we delivered Darcy Claire. But he knew in his heart and his soul that this was so important to me. He was unbelievably supportive. If I squeezed his hand and said, "I want to try again," he would have probably said "Let's do it." Maybe a poor choice of words - but it fits, so I'll leave it like that.
I poured out my soul to him as we laid there - telling him how hard it was for me to walk away. Trying to conceive had, in a sense, become my identity.
For years. It had become the focus of our marriage. It had, to be frank, turned our sex life into an orchestrated, precisely timed and stressful chore. Anyone who has struggled to conceive - or been through infertility issues - will say an AMEN to that one. I've written many times about the ups and downs of infertility. You can read "Infertility Sucks" and, my most popular post, "Whispers of Hope".
I told him it was time to reclaim everything. Reclaim our marriage, reclaim our love life...and reclaim myself.
I need to reclaim me.
Part of me, regardless of what anyone says, feels like I have failed. I so wanted to have another biological sibling for the boys. I thought it was important for their future - especially if they faced a future together without us there. Giving that up is hard - but life isn't always perfect. I'll adjust - and the boys will adjust. All they'll know is having each other and, just like everyone else in the world, they will figure it out.
When the tears stopped flowing, I got up to get a tissue in the bathroom. I looked at my email before coming back to bed and just couldn't believe my eyes. In the time before we went to bed and getting up for a tissue, I received an email out of the blue. It was from The Church of the Holy Innocents in Brooklyn, New York. In this church, they have a "Shrine of the Holy Innocents" where hundreds of people stop in to pray each day. The focus of that shrine is a large book that holds the names of thousands of unborn babies or babies born that passed away. It's called the book of life. Darcy's name is in there. The only correspondence I have ever received from them was a certificate showing that her name was inscribed in the book and people are praying for her every day. Why they would randomly send me an email - on that day in particular - will always be a mystery. It was almost like a sign from my daughter that I was going to be okay with moving on.
So...the process has already begun. I have pulled all the special things I had been saving (which filled a large portion of our basement!) upstairs. I'll be sorting and pricing and getting them ready to sell.
Like the car seat I distinctly remember picking out - green. We knew Gavin was a boy when we bought it, but we wanted a neutral color in case our next child was a girl.
That car seat brought Gavin home after his month long stay in the NICU...
...and then held Brian, too! (Barely!)
The bouncy seat. Ed and I chose the "Rainforest" patterns for much of our baby equipment. It reminded us of our fateful meeting in Puerto Rico.
The rainforest sounds brought back great memories for us - and seeing our own children enjoying it was icing on the cake.
The cradle. God, did I love this cradle. When the boys weren't IN our bed, they were in this at the foot of our bed.
And when Gavin was on a feeding tube and oxygen, having him close by was key for nighttime feeding pump changes or oxygen alarms going off.
Our Boppy pillows which we got a LOT of use out of.
Mostly for propping the boys for some of our favorite photos of all time. Like this one of Gavin which was taken shortly after his very long hospitalization as an infant...
...or this one of big brother, Gavin, snuggling up to his newborn brother.
The special infant clothes, including the one's I had put aside from Darcy, that I was holding onto for that next child. One of our favorites - worn by both boys - is that little doggy outfit.
Brian wore that outfit for my all time favorite photo (so far) of the boys.
If you haven't been through this, you likely wouldn't understand the inner turmoil I'm feeling. Each item I pick up makes me happy because I flash back to every moment Gavin or Brian cooed or laughed or had a "first" or was soothed to sleep. But then it makes me sad that I'll never have another baby in my arms. Something as simple as our cool bathtub that was like a bathtub in our bathtub it was so big got me choked up today. I instantly remembered this...
But now it's time to enjoy all of these things for what they are - memories. And to remember that as much as I feel my dreams have been shattered...
...they have also come true.