I received a panicked email yesterday from someone I knew when we were trying to get pregnant through IVF, when I was religiously going to Yoga for Fertility and the associated support group, before I felt that my story was so hideous and I was so far from the hopeful "just think positively!" hoo-ha that I had to stop going.
She needed something due to an issue in her cycle, and I happened to have that something sitting in my home, something that I had been wanting to throw out but could not in good conscience do it when someone might need it.
And that someone did.
So I went over and dropped it off, and she was so very appreciative. And peeking from around the corner of the doorways and the dining room table was the ghost.
Not a real ghost.
A little girl, about two years old, with curly dark hair.
I have no relation to this little girl. I don't know her. But still, she's like a living ghost to me.
This friend from another lifetime was my friend during our 6th IVF cycle, our last FET that was genetically both mine and Bryce's.
We were "cycle buddies."
And, we both got pregnant, within a day of each other.
Which was great, until...
She stayed that way.
Her updates and milestones became what could have been mine but weren't to be. The birth of her daughter in April reminded me that I was supposed to have had a baby in April. Everything became a physical, representation of the baby that wasn't for me. I had to distance myself for my sanity.
I felt (and feel) like somewhat of a horrible person -- this person did nothing to me but have a pregnancy survive in contrast to my own abrupt loss of everything we'd dreamed of at that point. Her daughter is adorable.
But I will never see her without wondering what my daughter or son would have looked like. Would he or she have been shy, too, peeking around the corners and only coming out of the shell to wave and say, "Bye bye?" Or would he or she be a sociable thing? It's so hard to believe that our child would have been two and a half, talking, running around, pretending to be someone else as toddlers do. It seems like such a longer stretch of time since that seemed a possibility. I will never see my friend without wondering what could have happened to make things so different, to make our fortunes twist the way they did, why things worked for her and not me.
I left without being visibly sad, and sat in my car for a few moments just thinking about how different things would be if our babyling had made it through.
And then I stopped and drove home, knowing that What Ifs are futile and a waste of energy, even though you have to acknowledge them before they are summarily dismissed. Our baby is out there, somewhere, and while I can't even begin to picture what our baby may look like at two and a half because that is part of the grand mystery, I know he or she is coming, that he or she is real, and that he or she will be the baby we're meant to love and raise and see grow up in actuality, not as a ghost in our minds.