That line gets you every time. That single, pink line – almost mocking you.
A feeling of helplessness washes over you; Why did you even think you were pregnant? Why did you waste a test?
Until there are two.
A thin, pink line timidly takes up residence next to her confident sister. And you stare in disbelief. You try not to get too excited or too scared. How can a second little line have the power to declare something so life-changing?
You are pregnant.
And so you tell your husband and your family, and maybe even a few close friends, because you cannot contain this new truth. You begin to come to terms with it – all the while pushing back a nagging doubt that you can’t trust a thin, pink line; that maybe you had imagined it; that maybe it won’t last.
But you are not going to live in fear, you decide.
Until there is a third, pink line –
circling the toilet bowl; streaming towards the shower drain.
And then the fear grips you like a rock. You lie paralyzed in bed, praying that if you hold still enough and clench your legs together, the bleeding will stop.
And a new truth begins to set in.
You are not pregnant.
Entwined in your grief is a feeling of foolishness –
For imagining life with a new baby.
For wrapping up the test to surprise your husband.
For buying a big sister shirt for your daughter.
For telling your family.
For putting your faith in that faint, pink line.
But you must tell your husband and your family. So you try to put on a brave face because you don’t want to ruin the family vacation. And you hope your daughter forgets that you told her a baby was in your belly – because how do you explain that to a one and a half year old?
And you go to the beach even though your mom suggests you should stay back and rest. You put your feet in the January ocean and you invite the bitter cold.
When your toes become numb you walk in a little further. When you can’t feel your ankles you step further still. You imagine walking out till your waist is covered and then your shoulders and your face.
But you don’t want your husband to think you’re crazy. So you stay right there and try to keep your balance as the waves crash onto you and then pull back from you with equal force.
Like the thrill of new life.
Like the sucking gravity of loss.
Like your own cycle of grief: in and out; in and out.
And for a moment you have a spiritual experience and imagine each wave is cleansing and healing. It seems silly but it helps you feel close to God and find an ounce of peace.
On the flight home you think you see a rainbow in the dense clouds and wonder if that’s God, too.
But you also wonder –
Was it was just a fluke?
Maybe there wasn’t even a baby.
And when you are finally home you feel foolish for being sentimental and keeping that pregnancy test. Your sweet, protective husband tries to throw it away before you see it – just like he hid the big sister shirt.
You pretend not to see it, but you have to make sure that second, pink line was really there.
You were pregnant.
And when I say you, I mean me.
Because this happened to me.
But I say you because it’s comforting to imagine that I’m not alone in this.
Thank you, Micah for holding my hand through this; for grocery shopping, making dinner and changing diapers when I can’t get off the couch.
Thank you to our family for providing us with extra hugs and prayers during our vacation – and calls, texts and emails from afar.
And thank you to my sister, Victoria for taking this photo when I was having a moment in the ocean, which inspired me to sit down and write about it.