The year was 2006, and we had been trying to get pregnant for a couple of years, and unbeknownst to us at the time, we would still be trying for over a year before we would find success. My period was always irregular, but the doctor had put me on some medication, and it had helped me to ovulate at the same time each month for the previous three or four months. This was great news, but it made TTC much more difficult emotionally because I had a clear reminder each month that I was, indeed, not pregnant.
I woke up one day feeling awfully nauseous, and this lasted throughout the whole day and the whole next day. And then I missed my period. Surely, this was it! I was so giddy that I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I let each of my classes go early because I just couldn’t focus on anything at hand. I went to Osco and bought three pregnancy tests. Surely, one of these would give us the news we so desperately desired.
I woke up the next morning and took a test, and it was negative. But “no worries,” I thought. Maybe it just needs another day or so. I went on with the rest of my day and came home to my husband. Shortly thereafter, he got a phone call from the doctor. I had forgotten that he had had some tests done, and the doctor was calling back with the results. The doctor calmly told him and then he told me that his counts were so low that they could not, at that time, be detected on any of the tests they did. There was absolutely no way he could have fathered a baby with those counts at that time. More testing would need to be done to see if this was a temporary setback caused by a side effect of a medication he was on or if was a permanent situation. After I was able to catch my breath from what felt like an actual physical blow to my gut, I went into the bathroom to take a shower and drown out some of the overwhelming sorrow. It was then that I noticed that I had started my period. The verdict was in.
That was quite honestly, one of the worst moments of my entire life. I cried for days. I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t concentrate at work; I couldn’t talk to anyone. I remember one night sitting on my balcony in the fall breeze, and I just started talking to my baby. Surely he or she was up there, out there, somewhere listening to me. I knew it. I had a baby somewhere and someday he or she would come to me. It’s weird to explain to people how you can love someone who you have not yet even conceived, someone who does not yet even exist according to our worldly understanding, and yet I felt an acute feeling of love and longing for this child.
And perhaps that’s one of the hardest parts about dealing with infertility. It’s not a thing you want or an experience you crave. It’s a person you love who you simply cannot get to. It’s a longing for something so deeply imbedded in our human nature and our souls that it feels like it will crush us if we can’t get to it.
Flash forward about four years later. I was in the car with Magoo and we were driving to a play date. It had been a stressful morning, and I was excited to get out of the house and get a bit of a break. I turned the radio up loud, and “Bless the Broken Road,” by Rascal Flatts came on. This is the song that I always told Magoo was our song; it was the song I had dedicated to her before she had even been conceived, and once she was born, I sang it to her near daily. All of a sudden, she started screaming the lyrics from her car seat,
“I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you
Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you”
I hear babies conceived after a miscarriage are called rainbow babies... the light after the darkness. But my three little girls, conceived after years of infertility, will always be my rainbow babies, my reminder that sometimes trials are temporary, sometimes wishes made to the night sky aren't in vain, and sometimes the reward of perseverance is beyond what we could ever even have hoped for.
This was originally published on my blog, Indisposable Mama in April 2012 for National Infertility Awareness Week.
Amanda Knapp is a stay at home mom to three little girls and an occasional writing instructor. She tries to make sense out of life on her blog, Indisposable Mama.