Show and Tell: The First

May 2, 2009

At previous Show and Tells, I’ve shown you many installments of infertility-related art (my own pottery that I’ve made using gauze from IVF #1, as well as art that I’ve purchased to commemorate various unsuccessful cycles) and, more recently, hopeful post-infertility/pregnancy-commemorating art.

But, I’ve never shown you the original photo that started the whole theme. It’s time.

First, a little background. Way back in February 2004, I was coming up on 2 years of infertility, and I was trying one last treatment cycle (Clomid + IUI) with Dr. Fancy Pants before temporarily throwing in the towel due to emotional and financial exhaustion.

That one last cycle worked. I was pregnant, finally, and it was amazing.

As regular readers are well aware, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage. My first miscarriage, the one that broke my heart and changed me forever.

There were only 8 days when I was aware of being pregnant, but those were the best 8 days I’d ever had. (I’ve had some other good ones since then, but never 8 in a row like that.)

In the middle of those 8 days, DH and I decided to go hiking. I selected a new trail from my Hiking Trails of That State book (you’ll notice that we’re wearing short sleeves in February, so obviously the range of states gets narrowed down) and we headed out. We had a great hike, and on the way home we stopped for one of my favorite meals, Ethiopian food. That was a very good day.

When I got home, I immediately sent the digital photos off to be printed. By the time the prints arrived in the mail, I had lost the baby. The 5×7 photo of the happy pregnant couple standing by a waterfall, our first photo as a family, was particularly painful. I put it away for many years, unable to look at it without crying. I knew the day would come someday.

Then, one day a couple of years later, I was putting together a photo collage, and I discovered that at some point I had become okay with this photo. Finally, I could stand to look at it every day. It would still remind me of pain, but it had transformed to simultaneously remind me of enormous joy. Joy, and hope. The same hope that I’ve carried with me since then, especially since getting pregnant this time.

I don’t actively look at the photo every day, but I pass by many times a day, and most visitors to our house look at it for at least a few seconds. I don’t tell them the secret behind the photo.

But, now you’re in on the secret. I think I’ll point out the photo and tell our babies about the secret too — once they’ve mastered binocular vision.

I apologize for our disguises — I’m paranoid about our identities being discovered by people IRL, as DH and I are both distinctive-looking in our own ways. Even the t-shirts we wore that day have identifying information. But, at least you can see the waterfall.

Finally I present: The first in a surprisingly long line of infertility-related art.


Hey, it’s the 50th edition of Show and Tell. 50 is a round number!

18 Responses to “Show and Tell: The First”

  1. Taylor Says:

    I’m glad you can look at it now, it’s a beautiful picture.

  2. Carrie Says:

    I am so glad you shared that. I have those “I was so happy then” pictures, too and as you say, they do become easier to look at over time. I think your disguises are darling. 🙂


  3. Carrie Says:

    Oh, and you are right about non pre-screened films- who knew? I am taking your advice and watching “The Office” instead. Thanks for the cheers! 🙂

  4. Eve Says:

    Wonderful post! Keep on making art during this exciting time you’re in!!!! I often look back at old photos of myself and try to remember who that person was and what they actually knew of life and loss. I have a picture of when I was pregnant (but before I knew I was) and I find myself looking at that a lot and thinking “you never really know what life has up her sleeve”.

  5. I love it! I am so glad you can look at it with a smile, rather then tears. I long for that moment. Now, I know it IS there and I can strive for it! Thank you!

  6. WiseGuy says: This sucks…I can’t get through….

    I am glad that you are in a much happier place now…I was just wondering whether you really had two pony tails/plait that day, or it is also a part of an elaborate hairdo disguise…Once a long time has gone by, we can look at these photos and the memories therein and dream of all the happiness and sadness associated with them. Peace and All the best!

  7. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    WordPress is fun…I know my ABCs…

  8. ^WiseGuy^ Says:


  9. ^WiseGuy^ Says: that it is posting…I am going to make your comments section my giant playground!

  10. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Serious – Post #7 by Beautiful Mess is my comment…the rest were also messages out of released frustration….


  11. becomingwhole Says:

    Sometimes looking at old photos of ourselves can be like reading old things that we had written. This photos seems like a secret you have up on your wall that you can let people in on or not. It looks like a beautiful photo (even with your “disguises”).

  12. Cara Says:

    What a wonderful transition. I am constantly amazed at grief’s ability to cut us, then morph into something nearly soothing.

  13. You two have the same smile! I bet you’ll be passing it on to the Plums (is that what they are this week?).

    I’m guessing this is not your home state.

    I am really looking forward to more IF art (not to be confused with I fart.)

  14. Billy Says:

    Beautiful picture. Thank-you for sharing.

  15. Liv Says:

    Okay, Lori’s comment has me completely ROTFL…IF art not I fart. Sorry…sometimes middle school humor never gets old.

    It’s a great photo and a lovely waterfall. Although your friends have had the benefit of seeing the “whole” picture with your faces in view…I feel priveledged to be one to see the real “whole” picture of your family portrait.

    Take care Baby Smiling, hope you are doing well!

  16. Kristin Says:

    What a lovely picture and the disguises are great.

  17. It’s funny the shift we go through when we realize that the place of sadness that an image or memory could take us to no longer has the same power. Your first child will always be with you, and you don’t need a photo to be reminded of that. 🙂

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