So, this happened last Saturday:
We found out four days before Rachel’s 30th birthday party, which proposed a dilemma because we had a lot of smart friends coming out who would notice Rachel nursing a Shirley Temple, and we didn’t want to lie to them as to why.
Somewhere along the way, our society got the idea that if you go through a miscarriage, you should go through it alone. I’ve been trying to be careful about saying “Rachel’s pregnant” and not “We’re having a baby” because we don’t know yet if we’re having a baby. Conventional wisdom says that we’re not supposed to disclose our pregnancy until the second trimester. There’s about 1,000,004 things that can go wrong, and two months from now that number drops to 400,004.
My brother and his wife miscarried just days after their pregnancy became Facebook official. (They’ve since had a beautiful baby boy, Evan Carter Baugues.) The typical reaction is to cringe at the timing, but because their loss was public, they experienced an outpouring of love from their church. Five couples came out of the woodwork to say, “We went through that too.” Meals were delivered. People showed up just to be present. Jon and Allison were enveloped in a feeling of “We’re not alone.”
We’ve got at least a dozen friends who have had a hard time getting pregnant. My guess is that for every couple we know of, there’s another quietly struggling because we don't talk about infertility either. It’s been eighteen months since Rachel and I pulled the goalie. I wouldn’t say that we’ve been trying to have kids, but we stopped trying to not have kids. I think we’ve convinced ourselves that, “Hey, this dual income, no kids thing ain’t so bad.” But, in the back of my mind, I was starting to worry that it wasn’t going to happen.
We got a puppy back in July as a form of parental training wheels. Now, we can’t sleep past 7am. We can’t leave the house for more than five hours without making some kind of non-trivially expensive arrangement. I can’t really work from home because of the constant vigilance required to preserve shoes, papers, and socks.
Most annoying of all, my iPhone is constantly running out of space because of all the damn pictures I take of Kaira’s overwhelming cuteness.
Having a puppy is kind of a pain in the ass, and yet life is unequivocally better because she’s in it. Kaira’s brought so much joy into our home. She’s made us better spouses by teaching us to subjugate our selfishness to the responsibility of keeping another being alive. She’s granted us access to this secret society of dog owners that we didn’t know existed. She’s brightened even the darkest of days simply by wagging her tail when we come home.
So while we are as aware as we can be of all the ways in which having a kid is going to totally wreck the comfortable existence to which we’ve grown accustomed, the best evidence we have that we would love being parents is the 35 pounds of fur that occasionally takes a dump on our carpet. We can only imagine that the feelings we have for Kaira will be amplified a thousand-fold for our own child. Even the people I know who have had kids under the most undesirable of circumstances say that it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them.
There’s a verse in James that says:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Lord willing, Rachel and I will have a baby on November 15th ± 2 weeks. We are so excited, and we want our friends and family to participate in that excitement with us. And if it doesn’t go well, we want them to know that too so that they can be there for us as we grieve. There’s no part of this process that goes better by going through it alone.