sometimes, you just know

I knew this with Amanda.

Despite a lot of people telling both of us we were wrong/crazy/etc., we dated, got engaged, and were married. Along the way, there were naysayers and doubters who pretty much all asked the same question: How do you know?

There are a lot of different ways to fashion an answer to that question, but the purest version is more of a gut thing; a reflex. Some people call it instinct or self-preservation borne of conditioned responses; survival of the fittest, perhaps. Providence. Whatever you choose to call it, explaining it isn’t as simple as choosing a favorite color. Mine’s orange.

We are not pregnant. Or pregante. Or pregananant (a little humor because laughter is powerfully medicinal).

And that is okay. And is going to be okay. It was a blow, for a day. But then the sun set and rose again, like it tends to, and we found ourselves days and weeks removed from that news that we didn’t necessarily want to hear; that no one on a journey toward building a family via surrogacy wants to hear.

Infertility is a monster.

We spent a few quiet days at home reorganizing schedules and thoughts and feelings (lots of feelings; because hormones) and arrived at a place of accepting what’s next.

Together, with our IP’s (intended parents), we are trying again. At breakneck speed, we received the news of a failed transfer by way of a negative blood test and, within a day, an updated timeline for next steps.

Wow. Fast.

So we pressed on. Between the failed transfer at the end of October and today, we have received more sad news in the form of an egg retrieval yielding eight useful eggs that all ceased to grow several days after being fertilized.

More feelings. More processing.

Somehow, I knew. I don’t have any sort of supernatural abilities or clairvoyance. But I prepared for these setbacks, in hindsight, knowing that the outcomes wouldn’t be what we wanted. Don’t ask me how, because I don’t have some secret formula. I just knew. So I anticipated and reacted accordingly. I hoped, but I reasoned. All the odds and numbers and timelines were what they were and didn’t come together. It’s still a little weird to me, but I’m glad that everything wasn’t a complete blindside as a result.

This news changed some plans very last minute. We had trip number eight to California (in eight months) planned for this past weekend. We didn’t go. And despite the temperature difference being something like 80 degrees Fahrenheit between here and there, I wasn’t sad to be home. Especially on a weekend in December. My kids weren’t sad either. My dog was downright elated. Me too, dog, me too.

We have more plans for more trips and more appointments. But not until after the New Year. I’m all in on this grand adventure, but I’m not sad about a lull for a minute. I’m thankful for a small break from what’s been a relatively more chaotic journey this time as compared to last. I’m thankful for my wife who is fiercely committed to bringing her piercing light to the searing void that is infertility. I’m thankful for my kids and their endless wonder and questions and support when we have to leave them for two to three days here and there for doctor appointments that seem (at least some days) to be endless. I’m thankful for our supporters. You know who you are and we love you. I’m thankful for our critics. We don’t have many, but I really enjoy a good argument, so whether I do that in my head or in person, I’m exposed to perspectives I might not otherwise have, so, thank you. I’m thankful for our babysitters and dog-watchers and sounding boards and (perhaps more than most others) our Sunday pizza lunch buddies. All of you play a part in us being able to do this.

As 2019 closes, I may not login here again. In fact, let’s plan on that unless I’m feeling entirely too sentimental come Christmas. I do that sometimes. I’m excited for what’s ahead and perfectly content in the now. Now is so very, very good. Don’t forget to be in the now, with your phone set aside, complete with eye contact and a warm cup of cheer. Or a cold one; what do I care? I drink Nitro coffee (it’s cold) in sub-zero temperatures. Give good hugs, plan on doing nothing with a friend, and do a random act of kindness. And because, for me, the season feels empty without some mention of “why”…

I hope that you find peace that only a Baby can bring; a baby who brought Kings from afar, whose birth summoned a heavenly host and was attended by shepherds who had to be talked out of a panic attack by the same, and whose sinless life and death would save the world.

We’re big on babies around here. Jesus, included.

Merry Christmas.