We were discussing the pros and cons of the two insurance options our employer provides; cost, previous experiences, the stress of choosing new doctors. Neither one was going to cover our fertility treatments moving forward so that wasn't an issue.
I really wanted to make a change because I didn't want to be insured by our current provider when I was having a baby. I said as much to my husband and he very rationally said to me, "but you're not going to have a baby next year."
In All Likelihood, Next Year Won't Be Our Year
My jaw hit the floor. I could not understand what he was talking about. That was the whole point. That was why we decided to pursue IVF next year—to have a baby! Then I realized what he meant.
We still have lots of research to do, facilities and doctors to select, treatments to go through. All of that takes time. And we very likely would not be doing any sort of egg retrieval or embryo transfer—assuming everything goes according to plan—until at least a few months of 2019 have passed us by. Not to mention, I do actually know how long a pregnancy lasts.
So the truth is, I won't have a baby in 2019.
Yes, the plan is to move forward. The hope is that I will be pregnant at some point next year. But for some reason, the thought of walking into 2019 knowing that—barring an absolute miracle— the year will end without a baby in our arms just shattered me.
For the last two years of this infertility journey, I have stepped into each new year with the hope and expectation that this will be our year. We keep saying this will be our year! As if claiming the year as our own means it will have to deliver on what we want. Even when the years haven't gone as planned, the next was always filled with possibility. But it's not even New Year's Day and I already know it will not be our year.
Even when the years haven't gone as planned, the next was always filled with possibility. But it's not even New Year's Day and I already know it will not be our year.
The Cumulative Weight of Guilt and Grief
The inevitable impossibility of our baby being born in 2019 wrecked me. Completely.
At first, I was in shock. How did I not already know something so simple? Why had it not yet dawned on me? How could this be true? Then I berated myself for not figuring it out sooner. I was selfish for taking the second half of 2018 to process 5 failed IUIs and to attempt some normalcy. I should have kept going. I could have been doing research all this time! We could have ended this year being pregnant or at least be closer to it.
This lack of a baby in our arms for another whole year was completely my fault.
Then I had an actual panic attack. I'm a crier and I've been known to carry a good deal of stress— especially as we have navigated infertility. But this was something I'd never experienced. Heart racing, waves of agonizing grief. I was home by myself trying to just be normal, do normal things. That wasn't going super well.
When I realized how long it'd been since I'd eaten, I did my best to put a "lunch" together. Around 3:00. It took me forty-five minutes. I ended up on the floor of my kitchen more than once because I just couldn't stand anymore. I was completely startled by some scary thoughts I'd never had before: Is this me now? Is this my life?
I felt like I was being held hostage in this incredibly dark place. But I know that I am not meant to live there. And now, I'm working on digging myself out one day of rest, one worship song, one sweet conversation, and one prayer at a time.
Finding The Light
It is not always easy to find the light, but I will always try. It's taking me time to climb out of the darkness, but I will keep going. There is a whole lot of grief that sometimes I just need to sit with. I acknowledge it like one of my cats just rubbed up against my leg looking for attention. Sometimes I pick it up, stroke it, feel it against me. So real and present. Sometimes it's curled up fast asleep not making a sound, and I almost forget it's there.
There is a whole lot of grief that sometimes I just need to sit with.
We are learning to live with each other, grief and I. But the most important part is that I live. Knowing what is— or, I guess, what is not in store for me next year has been a flashing neon sign of a reminder that I have choices to make. I can spend this whole year swallowed by my grief or I can allow myself to feel like a bit of weight has been lifted.
There is some kind of plan, some knowledge of what my year will look like. It's strange, but there is a tiny bit of relief in that expectation. Or lack thereof.
As I am moving forward and accepting this next (and hopefully last) childless year, I find myself wondering what God has in store for me. I am imperfectly turning it all over in gratitude for another year where I can focus my heart and soul on Jesus, another year where I can love my husband and our time as a family of two, where I can dig into the creativity and storytelling God has put on my heart, where I can lean into the amazing infertility community and continue to show up for them. Knowing that we will not have a tiny human to learn about and care for, I am imagining how we can use our time to care for others.
I am choosing to see this next year as a blessing. If infertility has taught me anything (and boy, has it!), it's that finally having a baby is not going to suddenly make my life perfect. It's not going to make me whole. Yes, I want it. I pray for it. But I am learning that who I am praying to is more important than that answered prayer.
If infertility has taught me anything (and boy, has it!), it's that finally having a baby is not going to suddenly make my life perfect.
2019 is not an accident, a mistake. It is not an after-thought or only a stepping stone to get what we want. It's part of the amazing story God is crafting. It is filled with purpose, possibility, and abundance. When I look back over my life I can see God showing up in the tiniest of details, the intricate parts that only we know. His timing is perfect and He hasn't failed me yet. Why should I believe He'll start now?
I won't have a baby in 2019. But I know that I will have more than enough. In fact, it still just might be my year.