The last six months have been filled with an incredible amount of life upheaval. Big decisions were made, and life altering changes happened in just about every aspect of my life. The one thing that has remained constant (thankfully!) is that my husband and I are doing all of this together.
By all of this, I mean moving across the country and all that it entails – leaving old city, old jobs, old house and social circle, for a new (though familiar) city, new jobs, new house and new social circle. And doing all of this against the backdrop of our first (and seemingly never ending) IVF cycle and all the drama that came with it.
So of course with all these changes, and the complex emotions associated with them, it’s not hard to imagine that it’s also been a time when I’ve been looking for signs to help me navigate the craziness, and grabbing onto anything that would ground me, or give me a sign that everything would work out. And it’s not hard to imagine that with all of these inter-connected changes happening at once, that sometimes emotions and thoughts from one of the changes would spill over and affect my view of the other changes.
Leaving our house in our old city was incredibly emotional. It was our first house, which we owned for seven years, and also where I imagined we would become parents. We knew what room was going to be the nursery (the small bedroom next to ours), and with that in mind, had kept the furnishings in there minimal, so they could be combined with our office when the time came.
We even had a piece of furniture waiting to be deployed once we brought our baby home. Our friends who had moved out of the country several years before had given us their nursing chair as they weren’t planning on having more kids. It was a padded arm chair/rocking chair with a matching rocking ottoman.
When we moved away for our one year sabbatical, it was the only piece of furniture we took with us. We’d been trying for a year, and I wanted to have the chair at hand for when we needed it. Of course, we lugged it across the continent, only to lug it back without having to use it in between.
We were happy to be able to sell our house fairly quickly, for close to the asking price, and were curious as to who had bought it (all we knew is that it was a couple). We were also looking to streamline our possessions before we moved, so arranged with our realtor to contact the new owners of our house in case they were interested in buying (or receiving) any of our cast offs.
The weekend before my egg retrieval, my husband and I were on our front porch sorting through our junk. While we were outside, the realtor for the people who bought our house happened to walk by, and he asked us if we’d heard back from the new owners about going through our stuff yet. When we said we hadn’t, he replied “They’re really nice people – you’ll like them when you meet them. I’m sure it’s just slipped her mind to contact you. She’s 5 months pregnant so she’s got pregnant brain, you know.” He laughed and walked away.
Hearing the words “she’s pregnant” was devastating. I felt like my heart stopped for a second, and when it started again, I was living in a cruel, cold world. I went grocery shopping, and seethed with anger the whole time that someone else would (in several months time no less!) be enjoying her baby in what should have been my nursery, while I was stuck with ongoing uncertainty while going through IVF.
Soon after this, the new owner emailed me, and we set up a time for the following Saturday. Unfortunately, when Saturday arrived, I was several days post egg retrieval and dealing with the worst of my OHSS. I really wished I could postpone our meeting, but it was last minute and I didn’t know if they would get the email in time. So instead, I mentally prepared myself for the visit.
When they arrived, they got on my good side right away by calling our cat by his name as they reached down to pet him seconds after stepping through the door. We started chatting and showing them what we had to offer. And then we got to the small room next to our bedroom.
As soon as we walked in, the new owner’s eyes went straight to the nursing chair. “Ooh, are you selling the rocking chair? We’re going to need one of those, since I’m pregnant.” And then she rubbed her tummy. Or maybe I’m just imagining the tummy rubbing, but somehow it seems right. My husband shot a panicked look at me, and jumped in right away “Actually, that’s not for sale.”
I cut him off. “Actually, I think we’re open to selling it” I said, as my husband’s jaw dropped in disbelief.”Are you sure?” he asked. And I was. Even before they had showed up, I had anticipated that they may be interested in the chair, and I had decided that if they wanted it, I was ready to part with it. We’d had it for years now, with no opportunity to use it, so maybe it was time for a fresh start. Who knows? Maybe, it was bad luck having it around, taunting me. In any case, I felt much better once we agreed to sell the chair, and in a strange way felt like now that we’d sold the chair, our luck would surely change.
I was reminded of this the other day, when I met one of my new neighbours in my new neighbourhood. Once she heard which house I lived in, she smiled. “Do you know about the old owners of your house?”. I knew that the guy we’d bought the house from had owned it for less than six months, during which time he’d gutted and completely renovated the inside and never lived there himself before selling it. Somehow, I didn’t think she was talking about him though. “No, I don’t know anything about them.” I said.
“They were so cute. They lived there for about 50 years, and even after all that time, they would go for walks every evening, holding hands. And then they died within one day of each other.” She smiled as she told me this. “So you’ve got some good karma in that house, hopefully it will rub off on you.”
I smiled back at her. And then she said something that terrified me. “It was always just the two of them. They never had any kids.” And just like that, the good karma disappeared in my mind.
My husband thinks I’m nuts to worry about this. I’m sure he’s right, but without anything concrete to latch onto, I’m looking for any sign anywhere I can that things are going to work out for us, and hearing that as far back as anyone can remember our house has not had any kids living in it does not help my fragile, insecure state one bit. I’m hoping the coming months will bring us good news on the baby front, but if not, I will have to continue to look for signs of what our outcome will be anywhere I can.