A box of raisins

The forecast called for a mild day with drizzle, a nice change from the month-long deep freeze we had been enduring. I happily dug my long spring coat from the back of the closet where it had been languishing behind our heavy winter gear. I shrugged into it and ran out the door, late as usual for the bus that was just pulling up to the curb. It was only when I got off the bus downtown and was walking with my face turned up to the newly softened spring breeze that I shoved my hands into my pockets and encountered the cardboard box. I pulled out my hand and opened my fingers. A small green box of organic raisins. In a heartbeat, my upbeat mood turned melancholy.

Of course, I thought to myself. I haven’t worn this coat since last fall. Last fall, when I was pregnant, I never went anywhere without a stash of granola bars and raisins to stave off that sudden lurch of nausea brought on by an empty stomach. I would have been switching to my winter gear just about the time we lost the baby. The last time I wore this coat, I was pregnant.

It’s only been four months. Amazing to think that if I hadn’t lost the baby, I’d still be pregnant right now, not even all that close to my May 8 due date. I’d be huge and uncomfortable and obviously pregnant, able to feel even the smallest of the baby’s movements. I’d be having trouble finding a comfortable way to sit, let alone sleep, and would be deep into preparing the boys for the impending arrival of chaos. I’d be pulling out the old cartons of baby clothes again, picking through to find sentimental favourites and reminiscing about how my giant boys used to practically swim in the tiny sleepers. I’d be hating my maternity clothes and missing my old favourites that no longer came close to stretching across the vast expanse of my stomach. I’d have forgotten what my feet look like. I’d be uncomfortable and crabby and glowing, all at the same time.

But, that’s not how it turned out. Instead, on the weekend that would have been baby’s first weekend at home, by a coincidence of timing we’ll be enjoying the company of my extended family on the free camping weekend. It’s taken a very long time for me to be able to consider the month of May without a sharp constriction of my throat. May finally no longer means the birthday that won’t happen. It means the month with the fun getaway, the month before our big vacation, the month when the boys switch to their new (sshhhhh!) caregiver.

Even though the shock and pain and immediate grief of the miscarriage have faded to a gentle melancholy, it only takes a little box of stale raisins to bring it to the fore again. And every month, the red tide of disappointment spills forth, dashing once again my hopes for another chance to be pregnant.

My feelings on getting pregnant again are complex, not clear even to me. I would like to be pregnant, love the mechanics by which one gets pregnant, but am so very afraid to become embroiled in the emotional maelstrom that is Trying. And every month since January, when we officially started Trying again, I’ve been heartbroken to find myself not pregnant again, even as I wonder in the bright light of day whether I am ready or able to risk going through it all again.

How ironic it all is. When I was speaking to the writer for the upcoming Chatelaine article, she seemed intrigued by my statement that I still consider myself in the camp of the infertile, even having conceived three babies naturally and Tristan and his twin through IVF. (I was still pregnant at the time.) For someone who considered herself infertile, we had really only spent that one year trying to conceive – and then a bunch of other stuff happened.

Sure, it took us more than a year and more than $10,000 of medical intervention (including the IVF and two IUIs) to conceive Tristan, but both Simon and the baby lost in November were conceived without concerted effort on our part. We weren’t really even Trying with Simon – in fact, we were celebrating the sign-off of waivers on our new house. Oops! We didn’t Try before Frostie either, because we had high hopes for that to work out, and when it didn’t I became pregnant the very next month anyway.

And now, so ironically, for the first time since before Tristan was born, seven long years after we tumbled into the land of the infertile, here we are again. We are Trying and it’s Not Working.

It’s different, of course. Back in those dark, lonely, scary days when we were first struggling with infertility, I was wracked with fear that we would never have the family we so dearly wanted. Now, the cruel and abrupt arrival of the monthly red messenger is disappointing, but not crushing.

With each month, as we drift further and further away from the last pregnancy, the urgency to replace and restore my pregnant condition subsides. All things being equal, I think I’d like to have that third child some day, and so we’ll keep trying for a while. Keep trying, without Trying, maybe.

That’s a whole lot of emotional detritus to stuff into one little box of raisins.

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

22 thoughts on “A box of raisins”

  1. What sentiment and imagery that can be brought on by a box of raisins. I do know exactly how you feel. You want to keep trying but you start asking yourself the ‘what if’ questions. In between each of my four miracle pregnancies not a month went by that I didn’t wonder why not this time. And with each of those pregnancies, I asked why couldn’t I have the miracle that survived. But, alas it wasn’t my choice to make so, I had to rely on medicine again and hopefully all will work out in the end.

  2. One of your best posts!
    You are such a strong woman and mother.
    I love the quote -its by taking chances that we learn to be brave- you are a brave girl Dani, you’ve taken chances, and through everything you’ve become a role model for so many others around you. I admire your courage… and whatever the future holds for you, I wish you all the best in the adventures ahead of you.

  3. Beautiful post, Dani, even though I know the motivation behind it probably didn’t come from a happy place. Thinking of you in the next few weeks…

  4. That was beautiful, Dani.
    I don’t even know what to hope for you. Maybe that the wisdom and depth and perspective you have when you write sticks with you the other 23 1/2 hours a day. And that whatever else happens, Tristan and Simon and BH appreciate the love and thoughtfulness and strength you offer.

  5. It’s funny – I thought of you yesterday – I’d flipped forward to May to add something to my calendar, and I’d noted “This will be a hard month for Dani” – but that note of happiness, that you’re camping again, makes me feel better for you.
    I think of you even when I don’t comment you know!

  6. Cyber hugs to you. I totally know what you are going through. It took us over a year to conceive our 3rd baby, then it ended up ectopic. My surgery date was April 1, 2003. I still feel it somedays. We were fortunate enough to get pg again, once we were ‘cleared’ to try, right away. And we got our #3…..and 4. Together. I hope it happens for you.

  7. I am sorry for the pain that still wells up and catches you by surprise. Infertility is such a tough journey, every month of the way. It’s good you have something to look forward to in May, and I hope that April will also bring peace of mind, and many moments of joy with your family.
    Best wishes,

  8. This made me cry. We’re currently dealing with being Not Pregnant, Again, so I’m sure you can imagine the emotion flying around… But thank you for writing it. You’re an inspiration

  9. Thank you all for your sweet, sweet comments. Posts like this are as much about getting them out of my head where I can examine them somewhat objectively as about posting for you guys, but I truly appreciate that you not only tolerate them but say nice things about them, too.
    Rebecca, I’m sorry I made you cry – so not my intention. In fact, I’ve felt pretty darn good since getting this out of my system. I hope your happy ending is waiting just around the corner for you…

  10. This was certainly a timely piece, in more ways than one. I’ve been thinking about you and wondering where you and Beloved were with this decision. On a more personal note, DH and I have also found ourselves in the Trying and Not Working Camp. Your writing defintely resonates.

  11. an annual christmas craft show in ottawa puts a lump in my throat – it’s been three years and one baby later, but that craft show always triggers a sadness in me.
    thanks for such a great, thought provoking post.

  12. hope all goes well and a pregnancy happens for you soon. Being infertile sucks…..but I loved your blog….which I found by accident. Good luck and keep not trying!@!

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