these midwestern storms

Yesterday, amidst near-hurricane-force winds in the Midwest, we did the second insemination of our fourth cycle. We did an ICI at home the night before (at the outset of a lovely storm), and our IUI happened to fall an hour after students, staff, and faculty all over our campus were released from the (no doubt dank) basements of university buildings, where they’d been sequestered since late that morning as a result of at least one tornado spotted in the area. Various news outlets have declared it among the strongest storms the Midwest has seen in decades. The air felt electric.

Meanwhile, J & I were feeling (for us) relaxed and (as is typical of me, at least) reverent, both because of the insemination and because of the storm. C, the beloved assistant to our nurse practitioner, said, “this is a good day to make a baby…these storms bringing all this new energy in.” I agree with her. It was an intense day. The wind, and the rain, and the silent calm that came in the middle of it all (which always, of course, makes you hold your breath in anticipation of a tornado). And in the middle of that, J and I curled up at home, after the IUI, with our sweet cats and a pile of blankets. It was a good day to make a baby. I’m not putting the same kind of pressure on this try as I have in the past. I think we’re doing a better job of surrendering to the experience – the out-of-our-handsedness – of trying. Still, I have no doubt that these winds (which are still here) are capable of bringing new life into being.

Yesterday’s weather also triggered – in my own mind and in the minds of several of my closest friends – a memory of the last time we were all sent to basements: a late night storm last June. On that night, all of our thoughts were with a family we love, the members of which were facing pretty terrifying news while also expecting the arrival of their second child, a little girl as it turned out, who was (the night of the storm) already a day or two overdue. J was with the family that night, and I was at home sitting in the stairwell to our basement (with our boy cat, who gets nervous during storms) at 2am, thinking how sad and surreal and powerful life can be. T didn’t arrive with that storm, but she came a few days later, on a rainy, windy day. Her family is still fighting the difficult news they learned that week, but they’re unbelievably strong. And you hold their little girl, and you just know that she is too. The weather that week in June was better suited to how we all felt on the inside than any other weather could have been. But now I associate that weather with a small, strong child. It’s funny what we take away from those heavy times.

I love storms, but I’ve always been a little uneasy about wind. As I sit in my seventh floor office now, though, and I hear it whistling through the creaks of this old, tall building, I think that I don’t know much about how the universe works. Wind might be a portend of change, but if it is, we can’t know what kind. I think surrendering to this process has been good for me. This process mirrors life more than I would have admitted in the past.


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