People from my writing community (who don’t even know I exist) sometimes whisper truths into my ear (unbeknownst to them) an entire year after they first put the truth on paper.
This one in particular held my hand last week: here
(Go ahead and read it—I’ll wait.)
Me? Here’s my truth:
I don’t know about the seven-week ultrasound. We’ve never made it that far. There is not a single baby waiting for us in heaven.
I could tell you about the follicle-measuring ultrasound. The one where the technician is both tight-lipped and extra chatty, discussing everything except how great and normal things look.
I could tell you about the yellow post-it on the table of the tiny consult room with the measurements of four would-be embryonic cells that just aren’t big or many enough.
I could tell you about the voicemail—the one where the doctor sounds sad and confused, both validating and defeating. “We just… thought you’d respond better. It doesn’t make any sense.”
I could tell you what three thousand dollars worth of medication looks like. How it takes up an entire shelf in the refrigerator, and where to keep the basket of 300 syringes and needles on the kitchen counter.
I could tell you about mixing the vials, the hormone cocktails that take 20 minutes to measure and administer—the right liquid with the right powder with the right syringe with the right needle with the right dosage in the right spot (x3)—feeling equal parts prize-winning chemist and meth cooker every night at 10p.
I could tell you how three thousand dollars of medication feels inside your body. I could show you the sharps boxes, the bruises on my stomach, the bags under my eyes— pointless, all of a sudden, post post-it.
I could tell you about signing the promissory note. The one that significantly limits your every choice for the next 7 years. I could tell you what it feels like to suffocate under the weight of the financial burden and enslavement to earning potential, while at the same time being unable to fathom choosing any single more important thing for the rest of your life: a human. Made of equal parts you and your heart-melting husband.
I could tell you about the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. How your back still hurts, and you’re still queasy and tired, how your body is still preparing for an embryo that will never be transferred into it.
I could describe the intermittent wave that grabs you by the shoulders and screams: Get tough! while it simultaneously lures you to bed for a while.
I could tell you about the relational glue that somehow cements two people who are grief-consuming TV marathons and coal oven pizza together because they can’t stop feeling the same loss. And I could tell you how they’re the only two people in the world right then.
“God made everything out of the void but the void shows through.” – Paul Valery
Yep, I hear that guy.
From the blog:
There is the way things should be and the way they are, and between them, there are a hundred thousand hollows, echoing with emptiness.
We are not a complete puzzle, missing one crucial piece. We are riddled with holes, waterlogged, going down.
God is not some perfectly shaped stopper, meant to keep a sinking ship afloat. He is something else entirely – a life boat, a raft. The Rock that we cling to when the whole thing is going to hell.
And I think that in order to find wholeness, we have to learn to tell the truth about our emptiness.
So this is me, telling the truth:
The IVF didn’t even have a chance to work, and my void won’t stop showing.