Monday, February 29, 2016

#MicroblogMonday: Signs and symbols

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

In December of 2011, Grey and I were in the middle of our first cycle of IVF. Following the good news about fertilization, we found ourselves in a strange period where we were holding our breathe as our embryos grew. An odd sort of waiting period as we had more information then most couples will ever have about potential pregnancy, yet nothing was guaranteed.

One night during this period, I stopped at a local bakery to pick up some madeleines for dessert before picking up Grey from work. Upon picking up Grey, an idea manifested that we would take a detour and stop outside the clinic so we could be close to our embryos, sending them well-wishes. We were certainly a strange sight for anyone who passed, as we looped the building a couple of times in order to pinpoint where the embryology lab was located. Then we stood holding one another, talking out-loud to our potential embryos, encouraging them to grow.

It was in that moment that Grey took out one of those madeleine cookies and rested it against the wall of the clinic, below a window that we assumed lead to the lab.

It's been over 5 years since that night. 

Last night I made a batch of madeleines, beginning the work to find a recipe that we'll enjoy. I left them on the countertop to cool overnight, not thinking about that night. Till this morning, when both Beats spotted those cookies. And in that moment when they both reached up to retrieve a 5:30 am treat, I found myself wiping away tears.

Like many, my time in the trenches has lead to me collecting symbols and signs. From fertility bracelets and mantras to pennies and rainbows, my collection swelled. Getting pared down over time to those things that symbolized hope and light during moments when darkness threatened to take over. Two particular objects, a locket that I acquired before my second miscarriage and a pendant acquired prior to our final FET, have been most dear to me. The locket representing those potential babies lost too soon; the pendant acting as a promise and reminder that there is light and hope in the world. Still, the others hold meaning. Pennies and madeleine cookies. Cherry blossoms and rainbows. Reminders of all that has happened. Reminders of all that has been. 

And reminders of why it's important to believe that if its not okay, its not the end.


  1. For us, it was breakfast at a diner near our clinic. We always ate there after an early morning follicle check and blood draw, before we headed to the office. I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat another meal there without thinking about all the failed cycles. At least the Czech Republic holds better memories!

  2. That's such a great story. I got kind of teary just reading it. I hope you will tell it to the Beats someday when they're old enough to understand.

  3. What a beautiful full-circle moment. I am in tears over here. Just gorgeous, and I will never look at madeleines the same way again. I have my own talismans sprinkled throughout our house, even though we weren't successful with IVF I can't bear to get rid of them because maybe, just maybe, they're working in some way towards our adoption. Gagh, now I'm tearing up again. Beautiful post!

  4. Words to live by "If its not ok, its not the end"
    Thank you

  5. So beautiful. I'm not surprised you wiped away tears.

    I will however add a qualifier to the "if it's not okay, it's not the end." I know you probably didn't mean it as a "keep trying and you will succeed" message, but I suspect that some people will see it that way. So I'll just reinforce your "if it's no okay, it's not the end" comment for some of your readers by emphasising that even if IVFs and adoptions don't succeed, life does become okay (much better than okay).

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. Especially given that there are so many who do have children after living with infertility and loss and they are far from happy. There's this assumption that having children magically cures all the pain and hurt caused by infertility and loss. And yet it's so apparent how far from the truth this is. That healing has to happen from within.

      One thing I've learned both from this journey and as my work as a scientist working with the public, is how deep misconceptions run. Hence we push for "happy endings" negating that those roads can also be the undoing of people. And also that other roads exist. With no one road being absolutely right unless it's the one that leads to happiness for the one choosing to go down it.

    2. This makes a nice link back to your previous post about the choices we make, and the issue about giving up.

  6. This made me weepy. I'm in a place of waiting right now -- work stuff, not pg stuff -- so this got under my skin. Thank you for that reminder at the end. It's not okay, so it's not the end, and I need to just keep going.

  7. Oh, two lovely moments involving the cookies. I just love that you put the Madeleine outside the clinic.


Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved