Saturday, August 4, 2012

Freedom trail

Follow the red-brick road

Our first morning in Boston, Grey and I camped out in Boston Common waiting for check-in. During our wait, we made a few discovers: red-eye flights require having one's room available upon arrival, the local bums know the best spots to camp out, that movie theaters are a God-sent for the sleep-derived, sunshine is an amazing drug and, finally, there's a single red line painted on the sidewalks that starts in the Common. For this last point, we also discovered that for someone who is clearly sleep-deprived, this is an incredibly fascinating thing as I literally walked straight into an individual dressed in colonial garb while trying to figure out what it was.
The Freedom Trial is a 2.5 mile (mostly) red-brick path through Boston that leads to 16 historic sites. The path starts in Boston Common and ends on the other side of the river at Bunker Hill. After checking in to our B&B and spending a day catching up on sleep, Grey and I decided to spend the day before my interview walking the trail as a form of distraction. What neither of us expected was that the trail would take us on a journey down memory lane.

Following the first stop on the trail at the Massachusetts State House, we arrived at the Granary Burial Grounds. Being a midwesterner, I'm not accustom to seeing grave stones that have been weathered almost illegible, so both Grey and I spent quite a bit of time examining each one. Though most of the graves marked that of adults, there were some stones for children. As I listened to a father trying to explain to his young daughter why children sometimes pass away, I was overcome with emotion. My children, though they existed for only a few moments, would never have a grave site. And though this seems macabre, it was yet another reminder that they didn't exist to the rest of the world. In the adoption literature, it's continually repeated how important it is to mark these losses and transitions, but until that moment, I didn't really realize how important it is to me. So, after pushing back tears, Grey and I found a moment to talk while standing in front of Paul Revere's tomb. And as I laid a penny on top of the tombstone, talking about how I wanted to generate a memorial for the embryos we lost, the conversation began to shift to our journey through infertility and what we have learned.

The trail continues from Granary Burial Grounds to King's Chapel and the Boston School of Latin before leading to the site of the Boston Massacre. Along the way, both of us reflected on what had happened during the past year as we journeyed into a world that few dare to speak of. During this conversation, Grey began to talk openly about his feelings during each of the events: how defeated he felt after the IUIs failed, how spooked he was once he saw the expense of IVF, how he had cried and prayed during retrieval during our first IVF, the joy and hope he felt in the days that followed as we learned we had embryos and they we're growing and how each miscarriage had affected him, turning him inside out. A lot of this I knew, but what was special about this journey was Grey was exploring these feelings aloud. As we wandered through little Italy past Paul Revere's house, I realized that my husband was finally allowing himself to heal.

And then we hit the courtyard of the Old North Church and things changed. At this point, I had learned first-hand why wearing good shoes is important for a walking tour; something that I had neglected to do.

Across the area where the leather sandal straps met my feet there was pain and blood. With that pain and blood came the memory of both our miscarriage and the loss of control. As we sat down so I could nurse my wounds, it became clear that Grey was frustrated with me. During that moment of heated discussion about how I don't take care of myself and am quick to jump forward into the unknown, we began to talk about the road ahead.

I've written before about how a move, any move, will delay the adoption process for us if we go through an agency. But there is an issue with going the independent route. Too often, these couples encounter scams. Without knowing how to navigate these waters, they often fall victim to those who are more than happy to take advantage of them. I've met a handful of these couples and each of them now has their children . . . after they switched to an agency. In some cases, going the agency route was faster. Still, with this safety net comes inflexibility.

The reality is, Grey is wary of independent adoption. He's spooked because of the scams, he's nervous about the lack of protocol and he's uneasy about the open-ended costs. Costs that can easily run into the thousands if not tens-of-thousands. And, like my feet, he feels I'm not being as cautious as I should.

As we continued to Copp's Hill Burying Ground, my anger rose. "How dare he," I thought. "How dare he throw another wrench into this process." And as we reached the graveyard, a storm rolled in reflecting my mood. What I realize now is that my anger was peppered by my fear. My fear of never becoming a mother. What I was failing to do was recognize that Grey wasn't asking for us to stop, but simply to slow down and be more thorough. Instead, I wanted to scream. Scream and cry.

The rain cut us off from what would have been a monster of a fight. And as we scrambled down the trail, it became evident that we would need to find shelter. Shelter came in the form of an Italian restaurant where we were able to sit at the bar and sip some grappa, which helped me calm down. After some food and a bit of entertainment by the owner, I was ready to continue our journey over the Washington St Bridge to the USS Constitution and Bunker Hill.

The hardest part about these last two stops was seeing the families: watching parents play with their children, oohing and awing about the tall ship that was dry docked. At that moment, the dream of completing our family felt so very far away. And I began to doubt myself. How in the world was I suppose to follow my dreams when there had been and continues to be road blocks along the way?

As the park around the USS Constitution was closing, Grey and I wandered to our final destination: Bunker Hill. At this point I was ready to call it a day, yet Grey was insistent on seeing the monument. As we climbed the steps, I noticed that the clouds had parted. And when I looked to the west, I found the reminder to have courage.

MissC has written extensively about rainbows. I'll be honest and say that every time I see them here in the Pacific NW, I always assume that they are from M&A reminding me to contact their mother. This time was different. For one, Boston is a long ways from WA state. The other was the rainbows themselves: the lower rainbow was a double, extending from red to purple and back to red. The one above was fainter, but still visible. At that moment, while others where staring at the granite of the monument and reading the plaques depicting the first battle of the revolution, I was brought to my knees from this sign. For the first time since the miscarriages, I could feel the spirits of the ones we lost were telling me to not give up.

I carried the image of the rainbows with me the following day to my interview. Though Grey credits the smoothness of the experience to me, I know it's due to this renewed sense of hope. Somehow, someway we will find our children. But we need to heal too.

Next stop on our journey: Salem, MA. A chapter about meeting fellow bloggers, surviving a wedding and a family of skunks.


  1. Great post. You will find the children you are supposed to have. Wishing you peace as you heal.

  2. This is a beautiful post. I'm so glad you saw some of my favorite parts of the city. The North End (Little Italy) is WONDERFUL. Which restaurant did you weather the storm in?

  3. I hate that feeling of realizing my dream to be a mom being so far away. To me it feels like drowning.

    Beautiful post, girlie.

  4. Beautiful post hon! I love Boston. The Hubby promised me we will go back soon and stay at least one night in a beautiful hotel.

  5. That sounds like quite a journey for you two. I'm sorry things are so scary and uncertain right now, but it sounds like you are on a path to healing, and that will lead you to your family.

  6. I loved this on many levels. The double rainbow over Bunker Hill, wow.

  7. I love how you relate your own journey to your journey along this trail - beautiful.

    And your new blog design is perfect.

  8. One of these days I'm going to have to get to Boston. I have family in MASS so there should be no excuse why I can't make a trip into the city too.

  9. Simply beautiful. And ouch your feet! Hope your interview went well.

  10. I love the imagery in this post and how well you described your day's journey. It was very touching.
    And those rainbows! I most certainly think your embies are encouraging you. They found a way hon. Just like M & A did for me.
    Thinking of you always.

  11. Wow! Wow! Wow! I've taken that freedom trail walk before too....and I can relate to the landmarks along the trail. And- how wonderful for you and Grey to be able to compare it to your journey to become parents. I hope (and it sounds like it) that the freedom trail has released the fear and shackles of IF and freed you to take the next big steps in your lives.

  12. Such a beautiful post and brought me to tears. I love the double rainbows! I'm so touched! I have confidence that you and Grey will have the your happy ending! Lots of hugs....

  13. What a great post. I love reading about your trip along the Freedom Trail. I loved seeing the picture of the sign as I used to pass that every day on my walk to work.


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