After five-and-a-half years of failed cycles the first go-around, and two-and-a-half years of no luck during secondary infertility, you start to believe your body is just not capable of making another human being.
And sometimes it's hard to imagine that it's even how any of us are designed.
It was extremely difficult to wrap my mind around the idea that I was pregnant with Luke. For a long, long time after he was born, I'd just look at him and think, in utter disbelief, how did this happen?
It seemed like a dream.
So if a pregnancy that ended in a living, breathing child felt surreal to this sub-fertile woman, then you can begin to imagine what a miscarriage does to my very confused brain.
It's all so hazy now - the positive test on Thanksgiving morning, telling our families, the first appointment and seeing our doctor again (she was so happy for us). Not eating deli meat or egg yolks, not working out even though I could have. Looking at baby name websites against my better judgment. Falling asleep at night knowing I had two guardian angels with me.
Sometimes the memories are so far away that I question if they ever really happened.
But then there are the reminders I see every day.
There are the ones I keep around on purpose, like the St. Catherine website that I keep open on my phone's browser, which I referred to for prayers during my pregnancy and now can't bring myself to close. Or the date on our bulletin board we use for school, which still reads December 11, the day before my first OB appointment.
There are the reminders I see when I'm not trying to remember, like the bright white hand towels used on the day of my miscarriage. Or catching a glimpse of the tag that reads "maternity" on my pajama pants that are too comfy to give up.
And there is the reminder I can go to when I'm in the mood, or when I worry none of it actually happened. It's a little white box that lives under my bed, filled with everything we have that has anything to do with the pregnancy and loss. Sympathy cards, letters, the program from the memorial service and a little stuffed green frog they gave out to all the grieving mothers that day. And a tiny blanket, knitted by my mother, which uses yarn from each of the three blankets she made for Clara, Luke and Esther.
And there's the other indisputable proof - the photographs. They stay on our fridge, sometimes hidden, sometimes not. They are prized possessions.
Of course, I'd rather be reminded tonight by little kicks. And a five-month-pregnant belly. And an updated photo on our fridge of a cute little profile, or one with an arrow announcing the gender surprise.
But that is not our story. Not this time. So I have my box, and my treasures, and my memories. And for all of that, I am thankful.
God has provided for us abundantly. And while the memories are painful at times, I rejoice in the little soul who is forever part of our family. Who waits for us in Heaven.
It may seen hazy, it may seem surreal, it may seem all like a dream. But you were real. And we love you.
"I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind." - St. Bernard