The Misery of Joy

We were simply told – No Children. There is absolutely no way for you to have a family without major fertility procedures or adopting. When you hear those words a different sort of grieving consumes you. We both had full lives in our twenties. Now in our thirties, just married, we wanted to start a family and have our own baby. A mixture of our genes, a child package that would allow us to reflect and say “he or she has your eyes” or “you look just like your mother.” At the time, we thought maybe these sweet graces might not be ours to enjoy.

At every turn, images of Gerber babies on soap boxes seem to spring to life. As if on cue, cheerful ads of frolicking families appeared on our television wedged in between major sporting events, awards ceremonies and our favorite sitcoms. This constant disruption elevates your sense that you are one of the “Barren Ones.” Madison Avenue must not want to bother marketing to that segment of the population. From our vantage point it felt like America was filled with Fertile Franks and Womb-Ready Wandas.

It took time, money, patience and eventually we found the help and we successfully got pregnant. When Lisa and I found out our baby was healthy and viable it was like the NASA Moon landing celebrations; nothing could eclipse our joy.

Lisa wanted to know immediately the sex of our baby. I wanted the surprise. She won. We went to Brad’s Swing Side Café in Fremont to find out the news. “Boy” was on the card from our Doctor. Brad sang out the news and the entire restaurant erupted into applause.

Lisa was deliberate and diligent with her health. We met an entire prepackaged community through pre-natal yoga and a neighborhood PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) organization. The best thing we did during this time was Happy Baby acupuncture. It was extra insurance. Anyway, we figured it couldn’t hurt.

The seemingly twelve blissful months of Lisa’s pregnancy was an enchanted time in our lives, stuffed with sweet moments of hope and constant fear of what we might lose. As the due date got closer we debated about names and décor. Our conversations were filled with dozens of hours of debate and prognostication on what kind of man our boy was going to be. We decided on a name, Jacob Wyatt. Jacob for Lisa’s brave grandfather that helped found a Kibbutz in 1920 and “W” in Wyatt for my beautiful Mom that I lost when I was only twenty-five.

After being two weeks “late” Jacob Wyatt Rehfeldt sprang from a C-Section at 11 solid pounds.  Well, 10 lbs., 15 ½ ounces to be exact but we figured no one would begrudge us that last ½ ounce. Four months later, Thanksgiving landed on my birthday. I held my piglet in his blanket, while I watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I waited for Snoopy to show. I missed that building size float drifting down Broadway. I was too transfixed by Jacob’s sweet face.

The large bread loaf of a baby is now taller than Lisa. Tomorrow, Jake and I will sit waiting for Snoopy to show and I will miss that float again because I will be staring at my twelve-year-old son’s face, thinking how thankful I am to have him in my life.

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