Drawing to a close

I am starting to give things away.

Q.’s sister had a baby about this time last year, which made him (in the southern hemisphere) a spring baby. He has turned out to be a lean baby, like E. was. So before we went down under in June I e-mailed her to ask if she wanted any of E’s clothes.

She was so grateful that I offered. It turned out that she hadn’t ended up with any hand-me-downs- her friends had all finished having their children, or they had girls, or they weren’t done yet.

I was horrified to realize that she’d had to buy all of the clothes for her son (especially since she had to pay the inflated prices that come from living in a country with a small population a long way away from anywhere else, particularly the giant consumer market of the USofA). So in the midst of our early June madness, while my mother was here, I somehow found one evening to pull out the bins and I went through E’s clothes and absolutely stuffed a duffle bag full of clothes from 12 months to 2T to take with us.

“You will never get all of those clothes in that bag,” said my mother upon viewing the size of the bag and the size of the pile.

“This is a MEC duffle bag,” I countered. “Of course I will.”

And I did. And it gave me great glee to stuff all of those clothes, shirts and pants and shorts that E. had worn but wouldn’t wear again, into the bag, and take it with us across the ocean, and give it to my sister-in-law.

I only wish I’d remembered to ask her whether or not she used sleep sacks, as I could have brought her those too (although they would have had to go into our luggage as the duffle was bursting at the seams by the time I was done with it).

I checked with Q. first, of course. He also thought it was a good idea.

“If it turns out we need them again,” he said, “We can always get my mother to bring them back with her when she next comes to visit.”

I told my sister-in-law to keep them.


Last week I sent my Dad home on the train with another duffle bag of clothes (the same duffle, just not quite as full this time). One of my best friends from high school had a baby in June. Another spring/summer boy, just like E. So I went back through the bins and found the one full of 6-12 month clothing (because they are both tall and this child will also be tall) and pulled out anything I thought might work.

My friend’s two brothers-in-law both just had babies as well. The clothes will surely fit one of the new additions to their family.

“I don’t need any of it back,” I said in the e-mail. “Let me know what size he’s in when we come to town in the fall and I’ll bring you another load with some books and toys.”


I’m not getting rid of everything, of course. In each size I have hung on to the clothing that I (or E.) most loved, the clothing that has real memories for me, the clothing that matters.

I want, so very much, to be able to give them to my sister, who has been trying for a while now and who is staring over the IVF precipice, something which I never wanted her to experience.

I don’t really expect to use them again myself.

I tell myself that even if we get pregnant again and have a second child, what are the odds that said child will be another spring baby who will be long and lean like E. was? I don’t care much about gender- I would happily put a daughter in most of E’s clothes. But it feels like an almost impossible ask that we will end up with a second child who will be the right size at the right time.

It feels like an almost impossible ask that we will end up with a second child.


Our basement is literally filled with outgrown baby stuff. The change table, the rocking chair, the crib, the exersaucer, the music table, the gyminis, the high chair, the baby gates, the carriers, the bins and bins of clothes and books and toys. It would be far worse except our bouncy seat and travel crib are out on loan with friends who had a baby a year ago next month.

A year ago I was only ‘loaning’ our baby stuff out.

That was before the two FETs failed and the IVF worked until it didn’t.

That was before we only had one frozen embryo left.

The piles and piles of baby things were eating me up inside.

I couldn’t stand looking at them.

I couldn’t stand how much room they took up.

I couldn’t stand how I couldn’t get my basement under control until we were done with that stuff.

I couldn’t stand the UNKNOWING, especially as spring ticked into summer and we drew closer to the month where we should have needed it all again.

So I started to give things away.


We still have one embryo left.

I suppose it could still surprise us.

We will not try again if it doesn’t.

I know only that I have to have an answer, one way or the other. I can’t continue to live in limbo, weighed down literally and figuratively by reminders of what-may-never-be.

I need that last transfer to happen this fall.

But I don’t want to transfer that embryo around the time of my PhD defence, it being not exactly a stress-free sort of occasion. That snowbaby needs a fair chance.

We opted not to head back to the clinic as soon as we returned home from being overseas, because we anticipated I would be spending much of August frantically revising the thesis. My committee had undertaken to have read it by the end of July.

I haven’t heard anything from them yet.

I’m drawing close to the end of another package of bcps, and I catch myself wondering whether we should go back to the clinic now, in case it takes my committee another month or more to read the thesis. My supervisor wants a defence in late October, but that means I have to have the dissertation submitted by mid-September. That will become infeasible if my committee members do not appear out of the woodwork soon.

I want to line my ducks up in a row, but I can’t control one of my ducks.

So I wait. And when the anxiety creeps up on me again, I give more stuff away.





Filed under E.- the fourth year, Friends, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Second Thoughts

4 responses to “Drawing to a close

  1. Thinking of you love.

  2. Oh, hon. I so know where you are. I’ve been there. Thinking of you, lots of love.

    What I do know is this: it IS possible to be at peace. It’s not at all what I expected it to be. But it is so much better than the limbo and unknowing.

    Hugs and love and all the good vibes I can send to you for that snowbaby.


  3. I am sure little J. will very much appreciate all the long lean clothes that his very-fascinating cousin E. used to wear. I love the community of hand-me-downs in regards to baby clothes, and I’m glad you are finding outlets for clutter that is causing anxiety.
    I am also glad that you are thinking of shifting from the September timeline, even though I am sure more time in limbo is exactly what you do not want. Dissertation edits on what will always be a tight timeline (committees being the tardiest folk out there), Ph.D. defenses, and further dissertation revisions, probably also on a timeline, are not the most relaxing of endeavours. Couple that to E. starting a new routine at daycare and Q. back to teaching, and September/early October are bound to be pretty high stress. Limbo really really sucks, but I think it makes sense to skip the high-rev months.
    I am not counting you out yet, but I completely understand needing to set the stage for the alternate outcome. Know that there is love beaming over to you from the west coast.

  4. I’m glad you’ve found such worthy homes for the clothes you have parted with, and that you’ve kept the favorites. I’m sorry this is all so hard and uncertain.

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