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Walking around the zoo and walking out of church

Posted Nov 26 2006 12:00am
Yesterday was a perfect day. JB and I woke up around 8 and soon after decided that we needed to get away from our tiny, quiet condo and, well, the whole city of Rochester. I needed to pick up my bridesmaid dress in Kenyon, about 1/3 of the way to Minneapolis, so we decided to keep driving.

Our dear friend Lesley gave us a little gift bag after our last failed cycle. One of the things in it was a restaurant guide to Twin City dining. It was fabulous. On the way to the cities, we chose a great little place called "Jerusalem's" -- a Middle Eastern restaurant. It was delicious. (Bara you would have loved it!) Very reasonably priced as well.

We then decided to go the Minnesota Zoo as I had never been before. JB had taken Ray, Gabbi, and Grace the last time they were here, but I had had to work. Normally we avoid family-centered activities after negative results, but the weather was so nice (nearly 50), and we thought that we could get some exercise and just enjoy spending time together. We saw a dolphin and bird show and then just wandered through the exhibits. It's a very different zoo in that there are no African animals (giraffes, elephants, etc.) All the animals are animals who like the cold! And I guess they would have to as the Zoo is open year 'round. We got a military discount too. Very cool!

Afterwards, we decided to watch Happy Feet in the Imax theatre next to the zoo. (Another military discount included!) We got great seats for yet another penguin movie. Overall, we liked the movie. We wouldn't strongly recommend it as their was some strange content incorporated into the theme, but overall, very cute. Watching a movie on a huge IMAX screen was also exciting.

By this time, it was dinner time, and we still have Lesley's handy-dandy restaurant guide in our back seat. So we peruse again, and this time opt for an African restaurant for dinner. Those of you who have had African with us before have participated in the "spongey bread" meal. This is exactly what it was. We chose a sampler platter as we really had no idea what was what. It came with about 10 different tiny dishes and plenty of "spongey bread' for dipping. One of the dishes was very similar to the egg/chicken meal JB has made. Delicious. Spicey. But delicious. We really enjoyed this meal as well. We kept saying how much we would love to take Oom Ed and Tante Jan here. You two would have loved it!

We had a really healing Saturday. A time just to be together the two of us. We talked, and I cried some more, and we just had a wonderful time healing together. I think these post-IVF-result "get-away days" are very important for us. It's important for us to remember how blessed we are to have each other and to make sure we are on the same page with everything we are doing. It also never hurts to see obnoxious kids throwing temper tantrums and remember that you don't have to take them home! :) (Okay, that's a joke, but it's semi-serious.)

I wish I could same for the church this morning. And I warn you, the rest of my blog may be a little on the "downer" side. I am sorry for the "downer" blog posts recently, and understand completely if you don't want to read anymore.

I have never, ever, left church during a sermon. I mean, I don't even really leave if I have to go to the bathroom. But today, ten minutes in, and JB and I were out the door.

I think there are times that you need to "suck it up". There are times when you need to take a deep breath and push through it. But this, was not one of those times.

First of all, we purposely chose a seat near the front of church. This is usually a "child-free" zone. Shortly thereafter, a couple sat down behind us with their toddler. She was very pregnant and so was the woman who was sitting next to her.

Now let me interject by saying I do not blame these pregnant women for coming to church. (Obviously!) Nor do I blame this couple for bringing their toddler into church. Different parents feel differently about bringing kids into church. Since I am not a parent, I cannot comment about "what I would do if I have kids." I don't have kids, and so, that's not fair for me to say.

The issue with kids in service, for me, is that just when I start singing or listening intently, inevitably, the child pipes up or "kicks up", and I am suddenly thrust out of "the zone". However, again, this is something I need to deal with, and while I might consider switching seats, I would never leave a service over this. I have actually, never even changed seats over this. I in no way blame this event on us leaving.

What caused us to leave was the sermon. There was a guest speaker, and he seemed like a really dynamic guy. I do not blame him whatsoever for his message, however, it was a message that seemed problematic from the get-go. He started the message by having a fictional conversation about his son. His son had uncovered some "items" in his parents "belongings" and wanted to know what they were for. One of them was a music box. The father then goes into a long story about how he gave his mom this music box when he proposed. The second item was, and I am not joking here, a positive pregnancy test! Seriously. He holds up the stick in the middle of the message.

Okay, so this was difficult. I have the two pregnant women and the toddler behind me, and now in front of me, a speaker holding up a positive pregnancy test. JB holds my hand tighter, but we don't even look at each other. This will pass this will pass I keep thinking to myself.

I am thinking of all the single women in the congregation -- women who wish they were married. I am thinking of the parents who have lost a child or a spouse, through death or divorce. I am thinking of other couples, like JB and I, who have never seen a positive pregnancy test.

But I am planning to suck it up. Surely this is just an object lesson that will conclude soon. However, it doesn't. He brings the stick back out and begins discussing how he keeps this pregnancy test to remember the wonderful smell of baths and lotion and ball games and school plays and ...

I looked over at JB, tears streaming down my cheeks, and asked him if it was rude for us to just slip out. He shakes his head and leads the way.

We drove to Target where we needed to get a few things and sat in the car. Me crying. Again.

There is a big debate in infertility circles about whether you should "suck it up" on Mother's Day or Baby Dedication Sunday, or sermons like these. I have always said you should not have to "suck it up". God understands pain, and he doesn't want us to bang our heads against a wall. While I think there is a time to keep your chin up and muddle through, this was not one of those times. If it wouldn't have been just five days after Tuesday's result, I think I would have made it through. But our church has a clear podium, and that stupid pregnancy test was going to be sitting on the podium throughout the whole service. One of my REI doctors was actually in eye-sight of me as well. I wonder what she thought when we walked out. I wondered what everyone thought when we walked out. I was not trying to be rude, but I also knew that my broken heart could not take a second more.

Quite honestly, we could have been leaving for a thousand reasons, and our church is very large. People may not have questioned our departure at all. I trust my husband, and there have been times, previously, that I have wanted to leave, and he has not agreed. However, this time, he agreed. There is no point sitting there, banging our heads against a wall for an hour.

JB promises me that this sadness will go away. He said that the difficult thing about infertility grief is that it continues to cycle through. If you lose a parent, go through a divorce, suffer a disappointment, the grief is there and then you begin to heal. Each time I begin to heal, we begin the ritual all over again, and the healing process must start afresh ... again. JB reminded me in the car, outside of target, that until we are done "trying", these periods of sadness (and hopefully happiness) will inevitably accompany the journey.

I also think that in previous cycles, I was dealing with a lot of anger and frustrations, and therefore those feelings came out more than sadness. This time, I don't have any anger or frustration. I just have sadness.

On the advice of a close family member, JB bought me the book Good Grief during our last failed cycle. I think as Christians, we sometimes think that grief is bad. But it's a part of life. That is why I am not hesitant to share my grief with you right now. I think that we cannot be afraid to grieve for disappointment. I am grieving two lost lives. Lives I was hoping I would be able to meet.

The preface of this book encourages us to learn how to heal from our grief in the hopes that:

  • We come out of our grief experience at a slightly higher level of maturity than before.
  • We come out of our grief as deeper persons because we have been down in the depths of despair and know what it is like.
  • We come out of it stronger, for we have had to learn how to use our spiritual muscles to climb the rugged mountain trails.
  • We come out of it better able to help others. We have walked through the valley of the shadow of grief. We can understand.

I know that I will cycle through this time of sadness. That with my husband, we will cycle through it together. While cycling through it can be quite difficult, especially when you are going to be trying this again in 6 weeks, we both know that the Lord is walking with us. That He is right there. Even when we are sad. I am not mad at God. I am not even frustrated with Him. I feel Him with me right now. And I feel Him reminding me to "Trust Him." He has a plan. And right now, He is helping me grieve.

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