My wife, Jonalyn, wrote a ten part series on the play-by-play of her thoughts and feelings, pains and uncertainties during the month of December. We were pregnant, but it ended in miscarriage. You can read those thoughts which begin here.
I've shared very little of my side of the story, the colorful twists and turns of surprise and questions, and the sand in the oyster that never became a pearl.
We thought news might be in the air when Jonalyn's cycle was "late." It wasn't the first time. On a Jeeping trip last Spring, the cycle was on day 35 when she tested at the campground. I walked around the tent a few times, shuffling in the red clay, waiting for her to emerge from the cinder block bathroom. I was emotionally preparing with questions of WHAT IF. And when she finally walked out to me, her head cocked to the side with a half grin on her face, the news was a strange bittersweet sound: Not pregnant. Though the pregnancy would have been a surprise, I told her that I was strangely disappointed.
I'm annoyed that our culture has developed a vocabulary around pro-creation that a 'surprise' often means 'unwanted.' Even at the OB-Gyn clinic, one of the first questions they ask is if the baby was 'planned' or a 'surprise.' Why does that matter? I think. What is here is here! 'Planned' easily carries the connotation of 'wanted' these days. This is Planned Parenthood's primary slogan: every child is a wanted child. Yet surprise doesn't mean unwanted. And a surprise doesn't diminish the miracle.
Well, at Thanksgiving, we faced the scenario again. Jonalyn's cycle was at 35 days again. We figured the previous explanation for the tardiness on the Jeeping trip was due to lots of stress. We did travel a lot speaking last Spring. And this Fall, it was the busiest speaking season to date.
So on day 36, Jonalyn tested again. She didn't tell me this time. We had been talking for over a year about having children and my reluctance to just jump in with both feet. Many options and ideas were weighed. With major decisions, I'm often one that either needs to be pushed over the edge or I have to ease into it. It's kinda like getting into a jacuzzi on a cold January evening: it looks exciting, but it's not going to be comfortable for a while, especially if you have to step barefoot in the snow to unlatch the cover.
Because of my reluctance for children, this time she tested alone, without my knowledge, to see if anything was brewing within.
An hour later, she placed a picture of a motor home on the table at breakfast. It read something like, "We may be needing one of these in August." In three seconds, I put all the pieces together. I caught my breath.
We had been talking about getting a motorhome if we continue to be itinerant speakers as a family. It seems like one of our only options since we are both speakers in our own right. When I saw the picture, I knew what was going on. But I felt sad that I was left out of the initial discovery process. Jonalyn did this, in part, because she knew I wouldn't be as excited as she was. But it still saddened me.
And there it was, a positive result. I recommended we not spread the word till we saw the doctor and had it 'officially' confirmed. We had another couple of weeks before the doctor could see us. In the meanwhile we waited, telling no one, snuggling the secret between ourselves.
Then I noticed that as the little life made space in Jonalyn, a small emotional space started to open up in me, as if someone had suddenly appeared in the doorway with their bags and said, "I'm moving in!" and I without a choice in the matter. At first it felt like sand in the oyster, an irritating, but not bad, something that confronted my personal, mapped out world. The space grew. I paid attention to it, daily, like getting used to a piece of new furniture in a room that seemed okay without it. And the surprise, yet happy invasion of love was underway.