It must have been a year or two after we found out my husband’s diagnosis that I had a genius plan of coordinating a romantic, weekend getaway in downtown Chicago for Valentine’s Day. We love having mini “staycations” downtown: the chilly weather, strolling hand in hand on Michigan Ave., catching a movie, eating dinner, and just getting away from “real life” for a couple days is just so exciting to us (I don’t think either of us get over that “we live in a big city” honeymoon stage, even five years later). There is also something so special about the beginning months of the New Year and I remember being convinced (by what I’m sure was a combination of what I convinced myself were early pregnancy symptoms sprinkled with some faith-filled sermons that always come out during the New Year season) that this particular Valentine’s Day, I was going to be able to give my husband a positive pregnancy test as his gift. I jumped right onto the internet, booked a hotel, packed some cute outfits (or lack thereof – if you know what I mean), told him to pack his bag, and off we went.
We got to the hotel and we noticed there was large group of people in the lobby. Social hour? Company party? Probably. Negative. Guess again… We were booked on the 15th floor and the elevator was broken (cue the eye-roll, but I was determined that wasn’t going to ruin my perfectly planned weekend). The bellman who took care of us was new at the hotel and he said there was a “shortcut” to our room that required stairs of course (no biggy, we packed light duffel bags – I was sure grateful for those “barely there” outfits at this point). All of a sudden, we found ourselves walking through the hotel kitchen and out the back door that led us to the fire escape stairs located OUTSIDE of the hotel building! I will remind you, this is February in the middle of winter in Chicago. My husband and I looked at each other with this “if this is the last time I see you, I love you” kind of look, just in case we were being led to our death sentence (how dramatic, I know). We climb up these outdoor stairs to the 15th floor and finally, we arrived at our floor lobby. I’ve never been so grateful for heat in my life.
We got to to the room, dropped off our bags, and hit the streets. We had a lovely dinner and headed to one of our favorite things to do together – watch a movie (I can’t quite remember what we watched, but I know it was a guy movie – hey, it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, I was in the “sacrificial” kind of mood). Right before we headed to find our seats, my husband stopped at the concession stand and I headed to the restroom. When I went to use the restroom – the worst site a woman trying to conceive can ever witness was my view… you guessed it. I started my period – no signs, no warning (early might I add which has only happened like three times in my entire life – great timing). I remember trying to catch my breath while washing my hands and heading out that door. All I remember thinking was “how am I going to get through this weekend?” I was devastated. It took everything in me to put a straight face on (most of you who know me well know that I don’t cry often – only while worshiping Jesus or talking about my family). As I approached my husband and he turned around, he looked me in the eyes and I lost it. I started sobbing (like ugly, gasping for air kind of sobbing) right there in public! Poor guy was trying to juggle popcorn and snacks, and now he had to somehow find an extra arm to embrace me (I don’t know how he did it, but he did – he’s my Superman).
My plans to surprise him with a romantic weekend, hand him the gift of a positive pregnancy test, and have this weekend go down as the “Best Valentine’s Day Ever” went down the drain. I felt broken, desperate, embarrassed, and so many other things I can feel as I’m writing, but can’t put into words. Another month it didn’t happen. And now my husband would have to once again try to pick me up and try to glue me back together again, just like he always gently attempted to do. Nothing he could say or do was enough to stop this hemorrhaging in my soul (and literally somewhere *else*). I remember going back to our hotel room and him just holding me – no words were spoken, no gifts were exchanged, no love was to be made. Silence. We got up the next morning to go to church and we stopped for breakfast. I remember him trying to make some attempt at small talk, but it just wasn’t happening. I sulked deeper and deeper into my dark pit of despair. We arrived at church, they had communion, and the Pastor was talking about healing. I remember I sat in my chair and refused to stand up. I sulked there like a spoiled, rotten toddler (you know the worst part is I am the all-time worshiper at my church, so if I was sitting and refusing to sing or lift my hands, EVERYONE knew something was wrong, including the Pastor). Healing? Are you kidding me? I am not going to stand up and worship or declare healing over myself after what just happened. That’s ridiculous.
To be continued… (tune back in on February 24th as I release Part 2 and also have one BIG giveaway planned in honor of that special day).