Heartstrings

We were married for almost 12 years before our son was born.  We didn’t intend for it to be that way, but things don’t often go the way we plan.  A lot of people assumed that we didn’t want to have children because we didn’t go around hollering about just how much we did want them.  

I was 27 and my husband was 31 when the baby fever hit.  I truly believed that within a year we’d be a family of three.  All of my friends who had children said they were pregnant within a month or two, so I started thinking about colors for the baby’s room and dreaming of all things tiny.  

Three years and several doctors’ visits later, we were still a family of two, not counting the two dogs, and no one had an explanation.  As far as any of the specialists could tell, babies should have been popping out left and right.  

You can imagine how comforting that was to hear.  Because, obviously, babies were not popping out left and right.  Or from any direction, for that matter.

It was frustrating and maddening and emotionally draining, and it’s not an easy thing to go through.  Plus, we had other stuff going on in our lives.  I was teaching 3rd grade, finishing my Master’s project, and preparing to present it and defend it (if called on to do so).  My husband was working and as soon as my Master’s project was over, he started his MBA through a fast-track program at one of the universities here.  It only took a year and a half, but he was working and/or studying ALL the time.  We managed to take a few little trips here and there, and we worked on our house.  We went out with friends, visited our families as we pleased, and took care of our two dogs.

We went along with our lives and tried not to get too worked up about the fact that we were still a family of two who would really like to be a family of three.  My husband did a better job of not getting bogged down by  it.  I had a much more difficult time.

The hardest times for me were Sunday mornings at church.  You would think it would be the opposite, wouldn’t you?  I was kind of surprised, too.

The only thing I can figure is that it was about the only time during the week when I was truly still and quiet.  We would sit in the old, old, OLD sanctuary of that big beautiful church with its dwindling congregation and listen to our preacher, whom we just loved.  And it never failed, Sunday after Sunday, that I could feel the tiny arms of a child curled gently around my neck.  

I have no idea why it happened that way; why my longing for a child manifested itself during church.  I’ve heard of people dreaming of babies and children, but I rarely did.  I had this phantom baby who visited me during church every Sunday.  I suppose it could’ve been worse.

For lots of different reasons, we never went through with any major fertility treatments.  I did try Clomid for a couple of months, which I’ll have to write about in another post sometime because it was kind of funny, but I stopped it.  We went through three rounds of artificial insemination, and each one seemed very promising.  Although none of the three were successful, we were glad we tried and we loved the doctor and nurses who were so sweet to us.  After we decided that we’d had enough for a while, my doctor hugged me and said, “I’m so, so sorry that we didn’t help you.”  He was so sincere and so disappointed for us.  (We probably would have gone through with IVF if his clinic offered it, but artificial insemination was as far as they took it. I liked and trusted him that much.)

At some point, I just stopped needing.  I was tired of trying to make my life turn out like I thought it was supposed to.  I stopped wanting and wishing and hoping and praying for that part of my life to be what I wanted it to be.  I let out a big sigh and thanked God for what it was.  I finally admitted what I’d been afraid to admit for a long time:  that if it’s not in His plan for us to have children, it’s okay.  It will be all right.  Sure, we would have liked to have had them, and some part of us might always be a little disappointed.  But if God closes the door on this one, it’s His to close, and He will lead us through another one.  

The peace that came over me was immediate.  It was almost like the Lord gave me a hug.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  But I felt safe and loved and calm.

Within a month of my new-found peace, we found out about Tater Tot.

It’s a wonder I didn’t keel over from the sheer roller coaster of emotions.

Nine years.  We waited nine years for the greatest blessing of our lives.  We joke and say that most women are pregnant for nine months, but that I carried Tater Tot for nine years!  

And in a way, it’s true.  I loved him for years.  He is the child I wished for, the one I wanted so desperately, the one I hoped and prayed for…the answered prayer.  He is the child whose arms I felt around my neck so long ago in that old church.  I knew it the minute I held him, and I’ve known it ever since.  

A little while after he was born, I told my mother about this strange sensation I had whenever I held him, which was ALL the time.  I’d NEVER experienced anything like it.

I told her that my heartbeat was so fast and so heavy that I felt like it was going to come out of my chest and that my heart was going to wrap itself around him and hold him there on its own.  “Mama,” I said, “it overwhelms me.  Am I going crazy?  Am I having a heart attack?”

She smiled such a great smile and told me that everything was just like it should be.

“My love,” she explained, “those are a mother’s heartstrings.”

Until then, I only knew the word.

The two-year old sleeping in the next room taught me its meaning.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. JLI
    Nov 22, 2008 @ 10:32:52

    Mesmerized by this post…I can relate. Haven’t had to deal with difficulty conceiving, but rather finding a suitable dad & some very overwhelming times where I was afraid I’d never be the mom I’ve always known I’m meant to be. Now that I have him, we plan to start soon after we’re married (at 32 & 37 years old). This so reminded me of “Facing the Giants”. If you haven’t seen the movie, I recommend it. Grant Taylor asks his wife “If God never gives us a baby, will you still love him anyway?” She tells him she will…she will love Him anyway.

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Tater Tot’s Reaction to the Big News « Tater Tales

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