Blessing #1: We knew heading into this weekend that we would probably be crazy. Today is 1DPO (one day past ovulation), which means that we just finished our first cycle of inseminations for J. Wow, right? Big deep breaths. We knew that the new elements (grief, fear, shock) would change the experience, and we told ourselves over and over again that that was okay, that this was allowed to be different. We accepted that trying to conceive again was never – not if we waited years – going to feel the way it did when we made Emmett. Those were days of simple expectation. If the joy then was short of unfettered, it wasn’t much so. These days are more complex. We knew it might bring out the crazy, having to be this open again. Having to trust again. And it’s a good thing we anticipated that.
Blessing #2: This town has one awesome tattoo artist. He was an artist first, and an art teacher, and he brought my idea for a rough sketch of an iris (irises will always remind me of Emmett Ever, and I wanted my body to be marked by her in a way that it wasn’t) to life. I wanted it to cover a tattoo I got on my back when I was 21, a Buddhist proverb meaning, roughly, “what I want can hurt me sometimes.” The pain that tattoo spoke of no longer felt relevant. This new pain, and the joy of loving the girl it’s attached to, is such a different thing. I wanted a tattoo to capture the small bit of her that I understand, or at least what I think I understand. So now there’s a gorgeous charcoal-sketch-like iris on my back. There’s one open flower and two unopened blossoms, one of which especially reminds me of watching the blue irises that our friend L sent as they slowly – over several days – left the cocoon of their tight little buds. This one will never blossom. It’s like E.E. in this way. So M looked at my existing tattoo, and then he looked at my idea for this one, and then he just started sketching in pen. In ten minutes, he had drawn it (the needle part came after). It crosses over my spine, and my right scapula. It’s beautiful and unfinished in ways that seem right for her. And, like our E, it will always be with me.
Blessing #3: Though it had been nine years since my last tattoo, I remembered that they hurt. This helped me to handle the feeling of a needle on my spine and my right scapula (places that had never been tattooed before). And it helped me to handle how much bigger this is than my other tattoos (because bigger means longer, and less numbness because by the time you get one area numbed, you’re moving on to a new, vulnerable location). J reminded me that at least I chose this pain. There’s something to that.
Blessing #4: J doesn’t have a pulmonary embolism, or any kind of embolism for that matter. The flood of terror we both felt for about six hours yesterday? Totally unnecessary. We did two inseminations this cycle: one ICI at home and one IUI at our midwife clinic. Despite our nervousness (different roles + new emotional terrain = much trepidation), our at-home ICI went so well. We both handled our new responsibilities with a noteworthy amount of grace. Our IUI was a little less ideal. Our midwife (who was SO generous to come in on a Saturday to perform a procedure not even normally offered by her clinic) isn’t very experienced in the process, and she used equipment that wasn’t quite suited, so a not.small amount of the sample never made it where it was going. That’s a little upsetting when you pay $600 for a vial the size of your thumbnail. More disconcerting, though, was that it seemed like she pushed air into J’s uterus, which is quite dangerous (because it can cause embolisms, which are, you know, bad). So we had a meltdown after. I was even more terrified than when I thought I was dying. Seriously, the drama. I mean, if you knew we she was going to be okay, and you watched us on video, you’d probably have a hard time not laughing. But then, hours of near hysterics and one xanax (me) later, it turned out that she didn’t push air into J’s uterus. And it also turns out (huge shock here) that we’re a little on edge. Our coping mechanisms for any kind of worry or vulnerability are shot. This had us writing to anyone we knew at the clinic at 9pm on a Saturday night. In response, we were told: “I know you girls are very nervous but please try to relax so conception may take place.” Yeah. Fair enough.
Blessing #5: We have really good friends. I mean, unrivaled, unparalleled, unmatched friends. (And I know those words all mean the same thing. That’s how much our friends are that thing.) And here I especially mean our friend C. This is a person we can call when we’re pretty much on the far side of the deep end, and she assesses, and calmly advises, and wades through our panic as if it’s a normal part of any afternoon. At one point, I practically hung up on her. J called her back. She didn’t even care. She takes me just the right amount seriously. (Validates my terror, but walks me back from it.) That’s good stuff.
Blessing #6: It’s been rocky, but we’re here again, and here is the place that comes with the possibility of children to raise, so here’s where we need to be. J has, all things considered, embraced this new reality with strength and openness. There’s so much vulnerability. There’s so much fear. There’s so much love. There’s so much life in all of this.