When I found out that I was pregnant with Emma, the first thing I did was call my husband at work to let him know that the test I’d taken three days earlier was wrong. The second thing I did was call my friend M. She had been told by a handful of doctors that she would likely never conceive when the unexpected happened and her fertility treatments worked. And then she miscarried. And then she had a D & C. And then she had complications from a D & C. At the time I sat with her in her bedroom and stared at the wall-mounted TV, marveling at her trust that it wouldn’t crash to the floor and at her strength as she lied there in bed in excruciating pain thinking that she would likely never be a mom.
So when I saw the test was positive I rejoiced and then I called my friend so that she could get started recovering from yet another heartbreak as quickly as possible.
I don’t remember how many weeks it took, but she somehow came to terms with my pregnancy. We didn’t talk much about it. Then several weeks later she conceived again and soon we were experiencing pregnancy at the same time, waiting for our girls to be born just months apart.
I continued to think about the other women in my life as I went through my pregnancies. I watched in disbelief as pregnant women around me seemed able to eat anything and had boundless energy. My experience could not have been more different. I suffered quietly through my miscarriage with my childless friends around me, one eye on them and their pain, one eye on my healthy, happy, 18 month old daughter. When I conceived again and found out at 15 weeks that I’d be having a boy, one of each, like neat little bookends on a perfect parenting shelf, I shared the news with caution to the friends around me struggling to conceive just one child.
I loved my life with my babies. Noah was born in May and just weeks into his little life with us, big sister Emma decided she was done with diapers. The three of us lived a reclusive life together in our cul-de-sac, a happy trio alone together for eleven hours each day. Emma running around without bottoms, me rarely wearing more than shorts and a nursing tank, Noah in just a diaper, all fat rolls and milky mouth and smiles. Our days were hour long breastfeeding jags and sidewalk chalk and board books that went on for miles.
It was bliss. It was pure, sleepless, adrenaline-filled bliss.
The thing about babies is that they don’t stay babies for very long. By the time Noah was turning two, I could feel the pull deep inside, the desire to have another baby. I became restless. I started a blog. I brought my Mustang down from storage and raced around with the top down and the music blasting. And still I could feel the stirring. My friends around me began to announce third pregnancies, Emma began elementary school, my business thrived. Some friends welcomed a fourth child, my kids spent 7 hours a day in classrooms, I wrote a book.
I turned 35. Another friend announced her pregnancy. And then another. And another.
And each time I cried quietly to myself in stolen moments, alone.
The last time the tears flowed unfettered for thirty minutes before they were spent.
Three times we planned a pregnancy. Three times we conceived immediately. And as I watched the women around me in those exciting years of my still young life, I never dreamed that this body of mine that seemed to respond to my every whim would someday deny me my most intense longings. I didn’t expect to be the woman receiving the gentle, thoughtful phone calls. Yet here I am, once again staring into my children’s sparkling eyes and looking to the women around me to find strength. One moment has passed and I need to live in the amazing moment in time that is now.