15 September 2007

Negative, positive

We'd just finished enjoying a late lunch of coastal Carolina-style fish stew on Wednesday when the phone rang. It wouldn't have done any good not to answer it. Results from the nurse on my latest hCG test. News I was unprepared for. The number isn't rising, is retreating, has given up doubling, has doubled back, has doubled-crossed us. There are no ifs ands or buts about what this implies; been there, done that before. It can only mean one thing. No miracle baby hatching in April. Sophie's flight has been cancelled.

I don't understand!

That was all I could think, all I could say, all I could choke out with my tears.

(I'm telling you this now, because I let you in, I invited you to the mad-happy celebration, and because of that you are now part of the story too. And I'm glad you have been. And still are. That said, it's really okay with me if you feel like you need to stop reading this.)

I thank God that Rob was with me in that moment. That I didn't have to ring him on the intercom or drag myself the twenty steps to the shop just to hurt him.

Holding me, he said, "Let's go for a drive." Forget work.

The gas tank was blessedly full. Rob aimed the car north and soon we passed out of a melting city into a blurry autumnal canyon. I don't care how fast you go.

He took me to Heber, to a small antique shop we'd tried on other occasions to visit always to find a "CLOSED" sign aggravatingly propped in the window. This time we were lucky.

On any other day I would have said the boutique was a little disappointing. It's got nothing, of course, on the place here in town run by our own dear Gary of the Tiaras and his business partner. The new place had mostly ho-hum antiques, with a lot of girly stuff thrown in—chenille cakes, cheap costume jewelry, lots of gingham chicken-scratch aprons, ladies' straw hats, and the DIY Network blasting from a small teevee screen in the back room. But it was a relief to have something frivolous to look at, bits and pieces of fluff to pick up and put down again, a direction to walk in.

I happened to spy a small stack of old black and white photographs in a box on a corner shelf, and was drawn to go through it. Photos are nearly always irresistable to me. I was able to smile a little at some of the family shots, images that look just like what's in everyone's grandmother's scrapbooks—frumpy, birthing-tough matrons; stringy men smoking cigarettes; precocious boys in woollen knickers; young bucks posing with their cars, each with one foot planted on the running board; women, young and old, huddled together in front of flowering bushes, wearing drop-waist frocks and fur collars; small girls with Clara Bow bobs; almost everybody in a hat.

I was nearly through distracting myself with bygone lives, and considering the circumstances, was doing a pretty admirable job of overcoming gloom for Rob's sake, when I found a wonderful photo, a beautiful little girl holding a bird cage. It made my breath catch. Quickly finishing the stack, I also found the photo's negative. I've got to have these, I said to myself.

Most of you won't recognize what about this picture grabbed me, because I haven't yet related much of the symbolism that has long been and recently become tied up in this epic baby acquisition project of ours. I would be writing for hours if I were to try to get you up to speed with a single post; it's something I'll need to spread out over time, and some of it, naturally, isn't suitable for blogging anyway. I wish you could just lean your forehead against your computer monitor and I could osmote some history through cyberspace to you.

I'll tell you this much: My personal sky has over the past few years become filled with birds. It started with a Dream I had, of two beautiful hummingbirds. That will ring a bell for some of you who've known me a while and know me well, and who have even grown comfortable or brave or nuts enough to refer to those little birds by name. Sophie. Mercy. (If I'm going crazy, then I guess I'm taking you with me. It is a small comfort.) The bird motif has broadened in the past while to include a number of other magnificent wing├ęd creatures, even small shining fireflies. This is where I think I'll leave the point for now, though I want to come back to it in some other post.

So, I found this picture and its source, its reverse, its negative. Even just that little detail was remarkable to me—both pieces were in my hands. But the photo! At first I only noticed the dark bird inside the cage, but then I realized there was also a smaller, lighter bird. Two birds, safe and cared for in the hands of a gentle, smiling, proud girl. I can't describe how the image spoke to and comforted me. I felt absolutely seen and understood. I know it makes me sound dreamy, but honestly, I felt it was a tender little gift from God. I know, honey. I know. Don't lose heart.


I had strong feelings about this pregnancy. I was so sure it would work out this time. I have had some beautiful and sacred feelings and experiences—I do mean much more than just a heart full of longing wishes, although that has been ever-present—these all seemed to come together and point to a complete springtime nestful of YES. For once, I tried to put all my fears far away from me and give myself to believing the answer I felt I was being urged to embrace. Even now, in the depths of loss, I don't think that was a mistake.

I was told this pregnancy was a miracle, an answer to prayer. Is it any less so, now that it's ending in an unexpected way? I don't think so.

I have a long list of incredible moments that I've been intending for weeks now to write about—insights, interactions, inspirations, et cetera. Should I throw away that list now, and call it meaningless, or worse? I really don't feel that to be so.

At first I was completely bewildered. How could it be over, after all I've seen and heard and felt? (I wish this was the right venue for giving more details. But I guess I'm already in violation of some propriety code or other. What in the world possesses me to go on like this, compromising my own introversion?)

This is much longer than I meant it to be. Let's get to the bottom line:

I will not be shaken off my foundation by this. Apparently, there are some lessons I need even more than I need a child right now. I know God loves me. Deep down, I believe that this is an opportunity, not a punishment. It's an invitation to learn—to learn more patience, to learn to "wait on the Lord," and to examine the nature and healthy expression of faith—my own faith as well as others'. It's a chance to learn compassion, and to practice forgiveness. It's a time to keep going. I don't know what else this is, but I trust I'll find out.

If I manage to learn what I need to, then the sting of this investment will have been worth it.

What was sacred is still sacred. Yes will still ultimately be yes. I just need to open myself up for new and better interpretations of the mystery that is this moment. For now, I'm not in a rush to connect all the dots. I trust that it's okay to live with my frazzled, rapidly-changing feelings, that I'm not condemned for moving through the grief process, even the really ugly, sometimes almost dangerously angry parts. I trust that the answers to my questions are known to God, and that when the time is right I'll be able to know them too, but it isn't up to me to set the deadline. I trust that it all makes sense, even if I can't make sense of it yet.

I hoped this would be a more cohesive post, and a brighter one. Oh, well. I'm working things out, and I'm too tired to edit. You get what you get.

Thanks for reading along.


My dear friend Debby came over today with a coupon and persuaded me to go shopping with her. I came home from BB&B with a bright yellow teapot. It's such a cheerful color; I thought it would help me feel better to drink water boiled in enameled-steel sunshine. My happy pot sings in four-part harmony when it's all ready to kiss tea leaves.

Early this morning I took a break from the heaviness and the processing and I danced and danced till I couldn't anymore to just one favorite song, a song that seems to perfectly capture my current state of mind. It's a sweet one. Would you like to try dancing to it as well? (The lyrics follow.)

The Littlest Birds

Well I feel like an old hobo
I'm sad lonesome and blue
I was fair as the summer day
Now the summer days are through
You pass through places
And places pass through you
But you carry 'em with you
On the souls of your travellin' shoes

Well I love you so dearly I love you so clearly
Wake you up in the mornin' so early
Just to tell you I got the wanderin' blues
I got the wanderin' blues
And I'm gonna quit these ramblin' ways
One of these days soon
And I'll sing

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs . . .

Well it's times like these
I feel so small and wild
Like the ramblin' footsteps of a wanderin' child
And I'm lonesome as a lonesome whippoorwill
Singin' these blues with a warble and a trill
But I'm not too blue to fly
No I'm not too blue to fly cause

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs . . .

Well I love you so dearly
I love you so fearlessly
Wake you up in the mornin' so early
Just to tell you I got the wanderin' blues
I got the wanderin' blues
And I don't wanna leave you
I love you through and through

Oh I left my baby on a pretty blue train
And I sang my songs to the cold and the rain
I had the wanderin' blues
And I sang those wanderin' blues
And I'm gonna quit these ramblin' ways
One of these days soon
And I'll sing

The littlest birds sing the prettiest songs . . .

(I don't care if the sun don't shine
I don't care if nothin' is mine
I don't care if I'm nervous with you
I'll do my lovin' in the wintertime)

~Syd Barrett


b. said...


b. said...

{{{{{{I love you}}}}}}}}

Johanna said...

Oh dear fig. I remember your understanding heart at our kitchen table when I said, "Well, no, I'm not, as of this morning actually" and I'm hearing you now, and understanding a little, and loving you and Rob so very much.

I'm glad you shared this part too.


J'oga said...


Loved every word of the post.

Loved the song.

You are inspired as you work through these trials. I'm so so sorry.

Love you, Lovely

Julie said...

Oh Geo. I'm so sorry.

nohno said...

you Brave Beautiful soul----I love you, and it helps to have you let a little of your introverted self slip out----fells like you've given me a piece of you that I can embrace over the distance--no words just an embrace.

Lucky Red Hen said...

As excited as I was for you (and I was magnificently excited), I am just as sad at the news.

Luv, me

Jamie said...

Aw, Georgia. I love you. I remember how kind and strong you were when I felt this way. I am so sorry...it always seems so unfair, but your faith is inspiring. If I could, I would give you my womb. It's still good and I won't be using it again...

Long distance hugs and many prayers of comfort...love, james.

shoeaddict said...

I cried so hard while reading this. Your words are so moving. I have loved coming here so much and was so wrapped up in the exitement. I remember the pain of losing my first baby...

compulsive writer said...

Dear, dear friend. Words both fail and come tumbling out at the same time. I'm going to follow your lead and let them tumble, but I'm sending it all via e-mail.

More hugs and prayers for you.

I love you.

sue-donym said...

My heart is so full right now. I am aching with you, and praying for you, and loving you.

Thank you for still believing in the miracle. It still is, and will be again.

Kalli Ko said...

Swing on over to my blog Geo, I had some thoughts on this very same thing yesterday, though I think you managed to express the emotion much better than I ever could.

you are loved and the Lord truly knows your heart

bless you

Chemical Billy said...

My dear my dear my dear. You are such an inspiring woman. I'm crying right now. I want to put my arms around you and hold you tight.

andi,andi,andi said...

Oh, I am broken hearted. Just keep calling your girl and she'll find you.

(I call my girl "Little Bird" too.)

La Yen said...

There are a few things I absolutely know, and one of them is that our families were set apart for us in heaven. They were and are and will be, and we have to just be patient until we find them of they find us. Your girls are just as antsy to return to you are as you are to hold them again. I feel more confident in this knowledge than I do in the rising of the sun every morning. They will come, and it will all be the way it needs to be.

Olivia said...

I am so very sorry. I posted something on my blog just for you.

Mirjam (Miryam) said...

I'm sitting here way too late at night crying for you and Rob and that little bird... Thank you Geo.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, Georgia. I am at a loss for words -- not wanting to be trivial and wanting to communicate how much I love and care. Your faith and wisdom inspire me. The whole bit about the birds was beautiful -- perhaps my favorite part. Obviously this personal bird took flight for you to see it in a different way than you (and the rest of us) anticipated.

Love love loving you AND rob.

Rynell said...

As soon as I clicked on your page, I wanted to scream..."NO! NO! NO!"

This sort of pain has also found me at unexpected moments. And yet it leaves me emotionally ripped apart each time.

My heart aches for you. Words fail me.

Bluebell said...

Oh Geo! I'm crying for you. I am amazed at your wisdom and perspective in a time of such grief. Love and prayers from the eastern wing. xoxox

~j. said...

No words. Love.

Becca said...

i just noticed that the little girl with the birdcage kind of looks like you.

ash said...

Oh Geo,
I'm sorry...
I love your faith...

Sending my love...

Phoebe said...

I don't know what to say. What is there really to say?
I am so sorry. I pray you will be continually comforted.

pflower10 said...


I too am just so sorry for what you and Rob are feeling right now. I wish I could take all the pain away and replace it with love. I don't know what to say other than I feel for the two of you! I'm sending hugs, kisses and prayers are your way!!

c jane said...

I'd like to ditto what La Yen said.
And I love you.

Bek said...


I am so sorry to hear this news. I have been there so many times (and am still terrified each week when I go to get my blood test). That doesn't make it any easier to hear. I wish that no one had to feel that kind of pain...the special kind that comes after you finally, FINALLY let yourself think of it as real and get excited.

I don't know you well, but you are in my prayers. I love what La Yen said and I do really, really believe that.

P.S. I am from Heber and was happy to see that SOMETHING there made you happy-ish. AND it was nice to hear someone go somewhere besides Granny's.....

Eliza said...

I am so sorry to read your sad news.

I do love the bird photo. I am glad you found it.

liz said...

my heart is totally broken with yours.

i keep thinking as i read your post of my friend who stood over the ruins of the world trade center and instead of the anger the rest of us felt, knew to look to the Lord to ask what we are supposed to learn from this. her direction amazed

p.s. i totally love the photo and connection you found (and how awesome your husband is for knowing what to do- where to go). the little girl does look like you (from the photos you have posted online anyway).

Geo said...

Oh, ladies, I really do feel your love. Thank you. I have been so sick with pain since Saturday night, and I'm still down—otherwise I would have thanked you already, and much more fully than this. But please know that what you're sharing with me here and via email—at both the happy and sad extremes of this experience—is all engraved in my heart. I have more than once, more than twice, tearfully thanked God on my knees for your kindness and asked him to pour you each out beautiful blessings, all you hope for most deeply, because you've held my hands here and loved me and my little household. I want you to know how sincere I am when I say I LOVE YOU. I'd really like to put my arms around every one of you. How did so many wise, wonderful people happen to show in the same place? I'm sorry to not be naming you by name right now, especially when this grateful feeling is so HUGE to me. But I need to crawl back into my bed now. This is a really rough go and has been since right after my last blog post on Saturday.

As for the little girl in the photo, I agree with you that she and I bear a good resemblance. You'd probably think so even more if you could see some of my kid pictures. Interesting. You know, as I look at her, I think she looks even more like my mother than like me.

I'll sing your praises till my breath gives out when I'm able to really be up.

Oh, I also wanted to tell you that I couldn't go to Sunday church meetings this weekend, for obvious reasons, but I did take some time and read all of your love notes, The thing that crossed my mind was although I missed receiving the sacrament, YOU were my church that day. I can't imagine better sermons from a pulpit than the ones you taught just with your tender hearts.

Emmie said...

Loveliest Geo. You are amazing, and you are in my prayers.

Rachel said...

I am in awe of your faith; I am in awe of the photo that was taken years and years ago just for you.

liz said...

somehow I deleted part of my comment before publishing it!

I meant to finish the world trade part of it like this:

her direction [to look to the Lord] amazed me and so does yours- provides me so much inspiration.

anyway- can't really find the right words but still thinking of you!

Jennifer B. said...

I'm so sorry.

SusieQ said...

I want to add my heartfelt condolences for your loss. One of the hardest things, for me anyway, is to submit to the Lord's timetable. To remember that He has a plan for us and all we need to do is trust Him. You're in my thoughts.

Julie Q. said...

I loved your line about not trying to connect the dots. Sometimes we have to make those excrutiating leaps from one point to another without understanding the big picture. It sounds like you know this better than anyone. Take care of yourself.

christa said...

I'm so sorry Georgia. I'm amazed at how you are handling all of this in looking at the positive side--that is very admirable. Your faith is incredible. I'm so so sorry and I'm sure, like you said, there is a reason for all of this.

Carrot Jello said...

my thoughts and prayers are with you.

Lindy said...

geo, the way you bring beauty to such a difficult time is inspiring. god bless.

Geo said...

Ladies, your kind words give me strength. Thanks and love back to all of you.

wendy said...

Geo, I don't know if you go back and read late comments or have any way to know that I'm writing this without specifically searching for it, but I wanted to comment anyway. I had not looked at your blog for a while and didn't know about this. I am so sorry. I love how you process this here, that you danced, found the bird pictures and the symbolism, and that you shared it all with us. Thank you for your faith and perspective. So. Much. Even though it is over a month late, I have tears for you, and really, I think, for our shared pain and need for faith in this struggle with infertility. It is so complex. Anyway, now I'm rambling. You and your love will be in my prayers. Take care . . .

Geo said...

wendy: I hope you can feel the enormous hug I am sending you righr now. God bless us every one.

i i e ee said...

I'm afraid I'm a little late catching up.

I'm so sorry.

When I think of you, Geo, I see this bright beacon of light, bursting with beauty.