Getting news and breaking news are difficult things. One involves reacting to something surprising, and the other has to do with telling something that might be difficult.
It’s been a short and long few months here since Doria died. We’ve mourned our daughter, slowly put our lives back together, and worked steadily towards the rainbow baby. Like so many things, of course, you don’t get that instant feedback that you’ve conceived a child, so we waited. I know that I can speak for myself when I say that it was frustrating all the way around.
Part of that process for us involved dealing with two realities: our couch was pushing 40 and showing it, and we had money sitting there for diapers and such that we clearly didn’t need. So we talked for a few weeks, did some shopping around, and saw some options to go look at. Still, it involved talking about an uncomfortable reality in order to do something comfortable. We had meant that money for Doria. Spending it was a way of admitting that she really wasn’t going to need it. We knew that Doria died, but this was one more way where we had to look reality in the eye and understand that dead babies don’t need diapers. We had a need there and she didn’t. So we went shopping.
We found something beautiful. The new couch is comfortable. The tables and lamps match. It looks like adults live here or something. As a pre-Civil War historian, I love that we got a blue and grey couch. It’s the perfect place to read!
We met a wonderful saleslady along the way. Somewhere in our discussion, as we were talking about making sure that our tables were child-impact-proof, it came out that Doria died. She teared up, too. It turned out that our salesperson lost her first child the same way. We shared a moment over the couch. The salesperson mentioned that she finally had that second child nine years later. I thought, “That sounds great, but that IS WAY TOO LONG.” That nice surge of relief and anger that goes together is really something to behold. But we had a great time and ended up with a great couch. That was (and is) a nice new reality.
That evening at home was nice and long. We had a nice time hanging out, knowing that a healthy couch was on its way in a few days. I was struggling to finish up my fall coursework, and the study area just wasn’t working out. Nothing else really was, either, but I just could not get the space to work.
See, the space was part of an arrangement I had concocted. My writing desk and Doria’s crib shared a space. As the night went on, and neither of us could sleep, but I still could not focus, we had the talk: Is it time to take down the crib?
That may sound like a small “of course you do–you do that the first day” sort of thing. It’s not. Taking down the crib is one more moment where you have to face that your child has actually died. We knew that it wouldn’t be Doria’s bed back in August, but we were looking forward to it being there for the next child. Taking it down wouldn’t just be acknowledging Doria’s death. It would also mean surrendering that near-term hope for our second child. It’s admitting defeat and giving in to disappointment. It’s not something we do well, but I was ready to give up on it. Probably for now, but who knows what happens once you give up.
Becky didn’t take it well. She stormed upstairs, reshuffled some things, and made a place that would work. It would at least get through the surge I needed to finish my work over break, and it left the crib intact. We don’t have another place for it, and building those things is a nightmare, so intact is good. Even with a solution, it was a long and emotional night. Becky got to sleep early-ish. I was up until 4. That meant Sunday morning church just wasn’t going to happen. We went through our nights, though, knowing that we had started down the road of thinking that #2 wasn’t coming anytime soon.
Sleep was nice. I woke up at 11:15. Becky had made it to church, which was good. A couple minutes after I woke up, and I woke up fully awake, the door opened. Becky came bouncing up the stairs, bounded into the bedroom, and said, “I have news!”
“I threw up this morning!” “OH!” I shot out of bed, got dressed, and we were off to Target.
See, my wife is healthy as a horse. She doesn’t throw up. Unless she’s pregnant. So we surged through Target, got a nice test kit with two tests in it to double-check, grabbed lunch, and headed home to wait for her bladder to finish studying up. Finally, she was ready, and it was positive. Happened again the next day, too. We’re back in the game.
It was a powerful weekend. We started by confronting again the finality of Doria’s death, and ended it with the brand new beginning of #2. No reason to give up now!
It’s going to be a long 7 months, but we’re ready to roll. We live right where faith and fear collide, because we just don’t do things any other way.
Welcome to Round 2.