Last night I woke up at 3 am and began my usual pilgrimage through the dark hallways of our house to the kitchen. I stood in front of the glowing refrigerator trying to decide which midnight snack would be least likely to give me heartburn, and took my chances on peanut butter and jelly toast with milk. Then I walked a few laps around the kitchen and living room to relax my muscles. After feeling my way back to my room, I gingerly crawled into bed trying to minimize the pain in my pelvis, as I adjusted a multitude of pillows to support my growing belly, elevate my head, and take the pressure off my joints. Then I waited and prayed for sleep to come. It was elusive. My mind was filled with thoughts. Not anxieties or concerns, but random thoughts, like how to spell "Absaroka," the name of a county in Wyoming. I read a little, worked on my meditative breathing, and eventually got up again two hours later to have a bowl of warm granola as the sky began to lighten and the birds starting singing their morning song.
Each night when I feel overwhelmed by my cumbersome shape and the possibility of never sleeping again; when the frustration and emotion of sleep deprivation come creeping in I think to myself "this, too, shall pass."
I know some people don't like that phrase. Perhaps it seems too easy when applied lightly to deep heartache and sorrow. Maybe it has been overused or just used too flippantly. But for me it has become a reminder that all things pass away, whether it is sleepless nights or difficult pregnancies or years of infertility or grief. It also reminds me that when difficulties pass away there are often accompanied by blessings and beautiful moments that pass with them.
When Jonah died I prayed and prayed to find a job that would feel meaningful and give purpose to my days. After almost a year of applying for jobs and being rejected I found the perfect fit, but realized that while I waited and struggled I had learned to love the simple time I had with my husband in our home. We grew to love each other more deeply in the waiting space.
The same is true of our journey through infertility. Jordan and I began searching for ways to have more children shortly after Jonah died. We knew their would be obstacles because I am a carrier of the Treacher-Collins gene, but I had no idea how many obstacles we would face on our path to become parents again. We began six in vitro cycles and had 3 canceled, due to unforseen issues. We spent thousands of dollars on tests and procedures. We experienced two miscarriages and spent many nights and days crying and praying for relief from our trial. After 3 years, I found out I was pregnant with twins and we were overjoyed, but I also realized that I had found incredible support and joy in my work as we waited. I had developed deep friendships with the girls I worked with and knew that as this trial passed, so too would my time working alongside my dear friends.
When Jonah was with us I could have spent my days and nights wishing away his genetic condition, or praying to move beyond the struggles and surgeries he faced. But his time with us was short, and I'm grateful that I didn't wish away even the difficult times, because they are precious to me now.
And when Jonah's spirit left our home, and we plunged into grief, we also entered a realm of love a support that I can only describe as angelic. Now, sometimes, I miss the deep emotions of the grief and loss I felt, because it was always paired with the comforting presence and peace of God's love for us.
In the middle of the night as I try to fall back asleep I recognize how fleeting this moment really is. This will probably be the last time I get to be pregnant. Which means that I may never experience the heartburn, anxiety, fatigue, body aches, hemorrhoids, nausea, and pain that comes with growing a baby, or two, in my body. But I'm well aware that it also means that I may never again get to feel the incredible sensation of little hands and feet moving and pressing inside of me. This may be my last chance to marvel at how powerful and capable my body is of changing and supporting the life of another. I may never get another chance to witness Jordan exclusively taking care of me and protecting me. As the heartburn and joint pain pass away, these blessed moments, too, shall pass. They will be followed by new experiences filled with frustration and joy, but I will never be able to return to them.
So in quiet of my room, as the singing birds signaled the approaching dawn, and as I shifted positions one more time, I waited in the dark for the babies to kick, and tried not to wish the moment away.