By Kirsten Piccini
What good was a fourth bedroom or a playroom with no one to play in it?
I could picture the house in my head—the white siding, black shutters and the red door I’d finally talked my husband into. I’d mentally positioned furniture and held my own internal debates about a shower door versus a curtain. For months it had taken up precious space in my thoughts, replacing the constant thrum of failure that pulsed just beneath the surface of my skin.
It was a fertile dream, this house, unlike so many others, one that was poised to come true.
So as I sat on the unmade bed, wrapping the crisp edge of the sheet around my finger only to unwrap it and then repeat the process, I felt the dream drifting away, fading like an old photo.
“Honey?” I said to my husband who was just coming out of sleep and regarding my tick with concern.
The night before at a Super Bowl party the hosts had procured entertainment for the women in the form of a tarot card reader who straightened the multi colored scarf on her head, shuffled her cards and read into the subtle clues I had worked hard not to give her.
“I see you spending a great deal of money very soon.”
I pictured four spacious bedrooms, the sunken living room and the stone we’d settled on for the faÃ§ade and fireplace. The frame had been erected for a few weeks now and we had pictures on our camera capturing the big wooden skeleton rising out of the dirt and earth, ascending from a barren nothingness.
I mentioned the colonial and our recent down payments.
“But you’ll be moving things.” She interjected as her ringed fingers tapped the cards.
I kept my eyes down and listened to her honeyed voice drop, “The best way to explain it is to say, if you thought a cupboard would go on one wall,” she pointed out things in our imaginary kitchen, “you’ll find yourself putting it over here instead.”
I nodded, letting the words and metaphor sink in.
My hasty goodbye was born of a visceral fear she could hear my heart beating in my chest. Her words rang in my ears and nagged at me beyond the party, well into the night when we bedded down in a hotel room close by and even as I attempted sleep. I woke tangled, sweat-soaked and resolute.
“I’ve been thinking…” I whispered to my husband who was regarding me with a mix of confusion and fear.
Maybe that’s why he reached for me, perhaps he sensed something in my voice that I was too afraid to express or he simply wanted to comfort me, but I flinched involuntarily, backing away from his hand. I did not need soothing or sex, did not want either one and I know, now, that he didn’t either.
Sex had become a chore, an elaborate production that produced nothing.
Even here in the anonymity of a foreign bedroom, without the pressure of an ovulation calendar hanging over us I couldn’t recall a time when our intimate life had been satisfying; instead it was scheduled and predictable in the worst possible way. Our kisses had begun to taste of iron and desperation.
He pushed himself up on an elbow and waited. I thought about moving cupboards. Bile rose in my throat as I pushed the words out, “I think we should ask the builders to return our down payment. There’s still time to break the contract isn’t there?”
He nodded, resigned to simply listening.
My heart clenched when I pictured the back bedroom, the one I’d mentally painted the color of a spring meadow and dubbed “the playroom.” But the space was empty. The only echoes I could hear on those polished hardwood floors were our solitary footsteps. What good was a fourth bedroom or a playroom with no one to play in it?
“I want to do In-Vitro.” I said, with as much courage and hope I could muster.
In-Vitro Fertilization would be expensive, from a financial and emotional standpoint and we both knew it. There would be no money back guarantee if it didn’t work. But I wanted to try it; I needed to know, once and for all, if there were still reasons to dream.
Maybe that’s what surrender sounds like, or perhaps it’s really the vociferous noise of determination. As I watched his own part of our dream gasp a last shuttering breath, I heard, behind it, the smallest click—like an egg opening or a window cracking.
We walked out of the hotel hand-in-hand and slowly began to tear down one dream and sketch another with shaking hands, in pencil, with an eraser ever at the ready.
Three months later, on the night before Mother’s Day, my husband slid a thin needle into the fleshy part of my stomach. Medication rushed my system, the sting in my side matching the one at the corners of my eyes, on its journey to my ovaries.
Five months later, two small ovals appeared on a black, grainy screen, their small shapes morphing, twisting, and growing from a barren nothingness. Their small hearts flashing like beacons.
We hardly knew what it meant then, but yes, oh yes, our dream had found purchase. We had built something of our own.
Kirsten is a wife after decades of dating, a mom after years of infertility and a writer after filling a lifetime of notebooks. She writes about love, life, and mothering her 6-year-old twins conceived after infertility on her blog The Kir Corner and weaves romantic stories on her fiction blog: Kirsten A Piccini. Find her on Facebook or on twitter @KirstenPiccini