Tomorrow my sweet Nate turns twelve, but the celebration begins today.
Back when the kids were very young and the days were long and sometimes difficult, the phrase we and millions of other parents would utter during the arsenic hour is, “This too shall pass.” And it really did pass, even though I was quite sure at the time I would be stuck there forever. Looking back, I see that so many of the issues that consumed my daily life are barely discernible memories today. Today I am recalling the difficult journey that lead up to Nate’s birth.
We wanted our kids to be two to three years apart, and like many couples, we just assumed that when we were ready, we’d simply pick a month and then voila! Positive pregnancy test. That’s how it happened the first time and had every reason to believe that’s how it would be the second time, too. Not so.
Months on the hope and despair roller coaster of infertility turned into years. Test after test revealed no identifiable problems — all parts on both parties were in fine working order. Unexplainable infertility was the diagnosis, and it felt like a fancy way of saying, “Hmm, who the hell knows? That will be another $500, please.” I wished they would find a problem so we could either fix it or move on to acceptance that there would be no second baby.
When my best friend told me with great trepidation that she was pregnant with her daughter, I said all the right things (“congratulations!” “what a blessing!” “how fun to have two so close in age!”), and later cried my eyes out in the privacy of the shower. Then the baby boom started. Friend after friend had her second and sometimes third child while I still waited and waited for our turn. Slowly we started to accept that we might not get another shot, but we were lucky to be parents at all. That’s the thing about secondary infertility — you don’t really feel entitled to cry too hard. It feels whiny and self indulgent, and then you feel bad for feeling bad.
I am in no way negating the pain of secondary infertility millions of women are feeling or have felt; I have cried with you, believe me. But sitting here today, a mother of not two but three, it’s easy to forget the monthly drama that went on in my life for so long. It truly did pass, and it’s just a distant memory now.
Happy Birthday, my dear Nate. Life didn’t turn out the way I planned it (it rarely ever does), but it turned out the way it was supposed to.
Never been lonely
Never been lied to
Never had to scuffle in fear
Nothing denied to
Born at the instant
The church bells chime
And the whole world whispering
Born at the right time
— Paul Simon, Born at the Right Time
Aw, happy birthday to you both!