- March 27th, 2010
2008 gets off to a promising start. Our 3rd show is well underway and the show is in good shape. It is an unusually mild winter and we are beginning to furnish the house. We have a bed in the guest room now, and I am keeping the little bedroom vacant as I expect it to be my nursery. Willis has just taken a new job at NCC which means that he no longer works in a job that he hates and as a bonus we work together again and that is really exciting.
In January I go in for that test. We have to go to the practice’s surgery center in Rockville. The day is gray and cold – traffic is terrible which affords me twice as long to stress out about the procedure. When we finally get to the office, Willis and I smirk about the form that we are given at check in-that lists all kinds of different services offered by the center. Willis raises an eyebrow and points out one line item in particular and I laugh and remind him that it always rains when you get a “sperm wash”. In general, sitting in this waiting room, I am reminded that Willis and I can find the humor in anything. We realize though that most of the people in the waiting room are there under entirely different circumstances and probably find very little to laugh about. Many of the couples were there to plunk down their savings and their second mortgages and God knows what else on a chance to have a baby. Who knows how many times they had been in this waiting room before?
The procedure is slightly less unpleasant as I expect it to be. I go back to the tiny recovery area to wait with Willis for the all clear but when the doctor comes back to see us he has different news. Stay on the hormones and make an appointment with your RE – something doesn’t look right. I go back to my doctor for ANOTHER unfortunate test and find out that I have developed a ton of polyps in the time since my surgery. He is baffled by how quickly they have grown and he decides they should be removed and biopsied. I am scheduled for another surgery. This time I am just not able to take time off to recover so I have my surgery and go back to work and rehearsal the next day even though I can barely stand. It’s worth it though – we are finally given the all clear to start trying for a baby in March.
Its leap year and opening night is February 29th, which I think is really fun. Hell Week however is not fun at all this time and I have an exchange with the youth minister that makes me question if I will continue on with this ministry in the future. I make an emotional decision to forward an email to my husband because I am hurt by it and unable to process it on my own. I expect him to give me a hug and a shoulder to cry on, but instead he responds by sending an escalating email back to the youth minister. The tension is so thick I can hardly breathe so that evening I go in armed with a speech for the cast that I expect will get their attention. It does, and we have a great rehearsal.
The next morning while Willis and I are walking into the office I remark that I can’t believe we had almost made it through all of Hell Week without having to miss any work. While I am recording my voice mail message for the day, the red light comes on. I think I mutter something about not even having a chance to boot up my computer and someone is already bothering me. I listen to the message and it is from my Mom. She was calling to tell me that my Granddad died that morning.
He’d been sick for a long time, so it should not have been the shock that it was. I guess because he had rallied and was doing so well I figured he might live forever.
We gathered in his home and I tried to figure out the role I was supposed to play in this scenario. His body was still sitting on the sofa in the spot where he died – in a position that I’d seen him in so many times before merely sleeping. I passed up and down the hall gathering things as people came and went – I’d see his knees out of the corner of my eye and had to keep reminding myself that he was gone. He doesn’t need a drink. He doesn't want a snack. He isn’t coming out into the living room to visit. When they do come for his body, I watch as they take him down the hall and into the elevator. I am overcome as I realize that this is the last time I will ever see him and I slump down into the doorframe. The day is full of decisions and phone calls and by the time we make it to the final dress rehearsal that night I don’t have the energy to do anything but take pictures. All I can think about is the day that we went to decorate Granddad’s Christmas tree - we listened to the soundtrack for the musical and he told me that he would be sure to live long enough to see it.
The show goes on, as it must.
His funeral is a week later on a Saturday with the strangest March weather I’ve ever seen - rain, sun and wind all at once. Willis plays the piano and I sing, because we don’t know how to do anything else. We bring the urn home to my Mom’s house to wait for the internment at Arlington and surround it with all of the flowers and the pictures from the funeral. We begin the long and painful process of settling his estate and end up with a house full of furniture before long.
Willis and I sign on to chaperone a trip to Disney with a local high school. Willis is accompanying the choirs anyway, and we need a break. While I am in Disney, my work life implodes. I start getting messages and texts to let me know that all hell is breaking lose in the office and I know I am coming back to something horrible. I get back in time to enter the eye of the storm and spend the next several months bolting things to the ground before finally being able to come up and survey the damage. Many priviledges and opportunities are laid to waste in this period of time and the jobs that are left behind are so burdened with policies and procedures that I wonder if it is worth it.
Soon after we return our sweet and loving little dog, Snowball, dies. We have always been very attached to our animals in my family – they are members of the family and we love them with our whole hearts. Snowball was 17. We struggled with how to do right by her in the end – was she suffering badly? Was it time to have her put down? She answered the question for us, and died peacefully at home in one of her favorite spots. I sit and cry at my desk looking at pictures of her sweet little face.
In May, a dear friend’s Father dies. We travel for the funeral – we play and sing again. I wonder what is wrong with the world.
We are still actively trying for a baby though I am frustrated because the further away I get from hormone controlled cycling the longer and more wacked out my cycles get. Months go by with no idea where we stand – I drop more money that seems possible into pregnancy tests because what else can you do when your cycles are 60+ days long?
They are all negative or course. Until June.
I just about jump out of my skin. I run down the stairs and wait impatiently for Willis to get off the phone so that he can squint at the stick and tell me I’m not crazy. I take test after test unable to believe the results. I do the math – a February baby. Pregnant for the Winter with a new baby going into Spring. We don’t tell many people – we are waiting for my birthday dinner to tell the family. I have my first appointment with the doctor. I’m already so sick, it has to be a good sign.
One night I have a dream and I am sitting in the living room at my Grandparent’s house – the house my Mother grew up in, the house I grew up in. Granddad is sitting in his La-Z-boy and Grandmom is on the couch, alert and smiling. I have a baby with me, a little boy. We sit and talk for hours – about the baby, about life - until eventually, I realize that it’s time for me to go. I reach down to take the baby and my Granddad stops me. He tells me that I need to leave the baby there – that he is going to take care of him for me. I kiss the little boy on his head and place him in my Grandfather’s arms as I wake up.
I call the Doctor in the morning but I already know it’s over.
A couple of weeks later a friend that had been marooned in Colorado for the last two years finds her way back to Northern Virginia and moves in with us. We get the guest room ready for her and I break my rule about the “nursery” and start to get it ready for her son. We receive a ton of warnings from friends and family about the million ways that this situation can go badly but in the end, it is just fine. Actually, for most of the time it is pretty great.
In the fall it’s time to audition another musical. I can’t seem to pick one because every time I nail down an idea I talk myself out of it – coming up with tons of excuses why shows won’t work all the while ignoring the obvious reason: I don’t want to do one. I am tired. It’s been an awful year and I just don’t have it in me. I refuse to let myself go down that path, though, so I announce that I think we should do Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
That family surfaces again with rage over the casting. This time…well, this time it’s bad. It’s really, really bad and involves almost every leader in the church, and actually the leadership of the entire District conference, before it is eventually settled. I attempt to reach peace about it but have a difficult time because, while I have certainly been attacked by parents before due to casting, these insults are being hurled at more than my decisions. My morality, my compassion, and my Christianity – the very foundations of my being – are being attacked. I am running out of cheeks – I have nowhere else to turn to get away from this situation.
In October I go to my doctor – I am done with the endless cycles of trying. She suggests Clomid – a fertility drug that I fear will cause me to lose my mind. She wants to start with a lowish dose and see if that helps me ovulate. If I ovulate, I should cycle, and that should help with the guessing game. I fill the script and put it on my dresser so I can start it on my next cycle. And I wait.
In November I start getting migraines. One day I get one that is SO bad I go to the doctor and they force me to take a pregnancy test before they can give me the drugs to help with the pain. The doctor asks me how late I am and I tell him I'm on cycle day 50 or so. He laughs, assuming that I have migraines because I am pregnant. He tells me all about the different drugs he can give me to help even if I am while we wait for the results. I am not surprised they are negative. He helpfully asks if I have talked to an OBGYN about my cycles.
December rolls around and the Clomid is still sitting - unused - on my dresser. I've had enough. I am swollen and uncomfortable - 76 days into my cycle. I call the doctor to get an appointment to end this nonsense, but I have to leave a message and wont hear back until the next day. That evening, I see a pregnancy test in the cabinet that somehow survived my last testing binge. I go ahead and take it so that when the doctor calls me in the morning I can tell them that I'm not pregnant. I am so sure that I don't even watch the test develop.
I'm brushing my teeth when I feel like I can maybe see a second line. By the time I finish brushing my hair, I don't even have to squint.
The next day I make an appointment for an entirely different reason, and on Christmas Eve I find out for sure - I'm pregnant.