By blog contributor, Marie Biddle
Part 2: Red
It was odd that no one else got food poisoning that day. Maybe my chicken was undercooked? A bad smore? The throw ups hadn’t lasted very long and they were strange in nature. I went from lying in bed to “I’m gonna lose my cookies ASAP!” Then it was over as quickly as it came. Weird was the only way to describe it. Or was it even possible I could be pregnant? I quickly did pregnancy math. 28 days, carry the 1, divide the 3. MMM…the math added up.
As soon as I felt up to it the next morning I zipped out to the drugstore. With the precious test in hand, I chugged down a few cups of water…then waited. I opened the box. I tore that freakishly hard to rip plastic… and waited. Low and behold…there were two lines. Two! Two! Two! I ran to the backyard where Andy was mowing the lawn and yelled, “I’m pregnant!!!!” “Are you sure? Go buy another one,” he said. He was just as shocked as I was. We bought 5 tests that day, each resulting in two lines, a plus sign, or a division symbol. All I knew is that they all meant the same thing. We were pregnant! The heavens had shined down on us.
I lined up my pregnancy tests and didn’t want them touched. They were like winning the blue ribbon at the fair. They deserved a picture and to be discarded with the due respect they deserved. I needed to head out the door to a church youth activity and I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw my dear already pregnant friends. My news was met with hugs and tears. We’d made it to the club finally! As we drove down to the waterskiing activity I found my thoughts and body in a different happy place: happy places that when brought to recollection bring instant peace. One of those places was my childhood home.
The house I grew up in was surrounded by a park and tree-lined streets. My mother and father had very detailed wants when it came to purchasing their first home. My mother in particular wanted a home in which her children could form very specific memories. My childhood home had a chandelier in the dining room, a small sitting room through the front door, and red flocked wallpaper that wrapped along the wall of our old wooden staircase. The wallpaper became a guide to make one’s way down the stairs in the dark. Warm memories of me and my sister sneaking down the staircase in our long nightgowns to see what Santa had brought settled peacefully in my mind. I can still see and feel the velvet wallpaper in my mind. I wanted to create those same sort of memories for our children so during our first house remodel I followed tradition and painted the living room wall red. I reflected on this home and its vivid memories, and now mine, during our long ride to the lake.
“Poppy” courtesy Ian Britton via freephoto.com
The girls all assured me it was fine to go tubing and that it wouldn’t hurt the baby. I felt like it would be OK, and bounced around the water for a few minutes before thinking I was better served watching from the shore. I didn’t want any problems or for this baby to come out saying, “Hey, could have let me grow in peace lady.”
That Monday I called my OB and was told to head into his office for some initial testing. I cannot confirm or deny that we may have possibly, without a doubt, probably broke quite a few speeding laws that day. We were excited to get his nod of assurance that we were in fact pregnant and healthy and I wanted to get my hands on some of those primo prenatal pills; you know the ones. After my appointment, he called back and said I was in fact pregnant and everything looked good. It was still too early to get an ultrasound so we scheduled one for a few weeks later. The due date was scheduled and our minds were no longer focused on the year we were currently in, but that magical day the next spring.
I went hog-wild after that. I bought a cute gender neutral outfit, had it wrapped beautifully and put it aside for safe keeping. I went into a small boutique and purchased some huge blocks with letters that would create a myriad of baby names. One night, my husband and I decided to toss the blocks like dice and see what name it came up with. The blocks landed with the following letters: SHAYD. That would be her name. The baby dice had decided it. Since my first name starts with an “SH” as do my mother, sister and nieces, it was fate.
The nausea came and went for a few weeks but I didn’t mind. It was a welcome new friend. I continued working and headed home early to take the occasional “I’m exhausted pregnant woman nap.” While Andy and I would have conversations about other topics besides babies, our thoughts were not far from the small person growing inside. We were in love and didn’t even know it.
I woke up cold that next Sunday morning. Groggy, I sat up and tried to reach for the covers as my eyes slowly started to focus. The bed was covered in blood. I screamed for Andy. He gently got me to the bathroom where our tears fell from a place we didn’t even know existed. He immediately got on the phone with my Father to come over and give me a blessing–a religious rite of comfort and guidance. My heart was so broken I couldn’t focus on his message.
A couple from our congregation oddly showed up at the door that afternoon. We had not been at church and they wondered if we were alright. We explained what had happened, and I think we talked but I don’t remember what it was about. I felt like a zombie. We both did. Andy at one point said, “I don’t know what to do with all this!” pointing to his heart. I knew the only thing that would get us through would be faith: deep seeded faith that we would have to dig deep to feel.
The following day took us back to the OB to confirm that we had indeed lost the baby. Was it the fact I had gone tubing? Or that diet coke I drank? Was it my fault? I was reassured that it was mother nature taking care of my body. It sounded like rubbish to me; I wanted solid facts, not the lame “mother nature” speech. After we left, we took a very silent ferry ride to let the wind blow through our hair and souls. It didn’t help. We each dealt with the loss differently. His was to escape into a project; mine was to nap and shop. After a few days we returned to our “normal” lives. We were back to work and the numbing realization that we would be trying to start a family from scratch again in a few months.
The red of that flocked wallpaper of my childhood and my living room wall were a hue that would weave its way into our lives for the next 4 years. Perhaps it was an ominous sign when I finally brought myself to look at a calendar again; there was my cancelled appointment with the fertility doctor circled boldly in red.
Tip: It’s alright for spouses to deal with infertility differently. Just remember you are on the same page and want the same thing.