In 2014, a few months before we started trying to conceive, Matt and I decided to buy a bigger house for our soon-to-be growing family. We were planning to start trying in the late spring and assumed that I’d be pregnant in no time. I was young and healthy; Matt and I were stable and happy. We decided that it would be best to get moved and settled before I was pregnant. We found a house sooner than we expected and got our old house ready to sell. We were thrilled and ready to start this new chapter in our lives. We closed on our new house in early March, and over the next couple of months we worked on the house, painted nearly every ceiling and wall, replaced light fixtures, cleaned every surface, and moved in. We started feeling at home in our new place.
The new house has four bedrooms. It has an open floor plan. It has an unfinished basement — ready and waiting for us to expand into and enjoy. The house is perfectly situated near the end of a quiet cul-de-sac and has a lovely little backyard. It’s within walking distance of our neighborhood’s elementary school and middle school. We knew for sure that soon the house would be filled with our children. We were so excited. We left one of the upstairs bedrooms completely empty, knowing it would be filled soon with baby furniture. We didn’t paint that room either — I wanted to match the paint to the baby’s bedding that we would be picking out very soon. We called it the baby room. When I was at my parents’ for Thanksgiving that year I loaded up and brought back my childhood rocking chair, stuffed animals, and a box of Winnie the Pooh decor. I already knew how I wanted to decorate the baby room.
The baby room sat empty for over a year. At first it wasn’t a big deal. I knew some couples took longer to conceive than others. Most of my friends had gotten pregnant after three months… one took six months, another eight months. After nine months and an annual exam at the women’s clinic where my nurse practitioner frowned upon my crazy and unpredictable cycles, I started to feel like we were in trouble. We scheduled an appointment to see a doctor at the clinic that my nurse practitioner recommended.
After three unsuccessful rounds of clomid with Dr. 1, I informed Matt that we were going to paint the baby room and turn it into a second guest room. I was tired of the empty room. It was mocking me and filling me with sadness. And it made me mad. We were ready for our child. We had a room waiting and a house much too big for just the two of us! Where was our baby?
We painted the room green because we had a gallon of green paint that we had decided wasn’t right for the kitchen cabinets but would be fine in a bedroom. We had already painted the ceiling and changed out the light fixture. We painted the walls, cleaned the woodwork, replaced the outlets and light switches (mind you, we’d already purchased child proof outlets for the entire house, as well as outlets with built in nightlights) and moved in the furniture. We had a futon in the office that we could lay flat and dress as a bed. We also had a few lamps and a chest in the basement we weren’t using anywhere else. We put the room together, and I bought new bedding. Now we call it the green guest room. We already have the purple guest room.
When I was pregnant, before we knew it was ectopic, we went into the green guest room and I shared with Matt all of my plans for the placement of the furniture and the awesome tree bookcase I’d like my dad to help build for our child’s books. My dreams were finally coming true; we were going to have a baby and our house was going to have a child in it! The dream was short lived. The baby room turned back into the green guest room the day Dr. 2 told us that the baby was definitely in the fallopian tube.
Putting the guest room together was a good thing and definitely something we needed to do… but I’d be lying if I said that cured it of its reminder of our child’s absence. It hasn’t. Our children are still missing from our house. That room, the backyard, the basement, and in general the whole house are reminders of what we had dreamed of and hoped for when we bought this house, and what it’s still missing. We bought our first house intending it to be our starter home for just the two of us. It was wonderful and it served us well. We bought this house intending to grow our family in it. Two and a half years later and we have yet to see that dream realized. I haven’t given up hope, but that doesn’t mean the house isn’t still a little painful.
Sometimes I wonder if we should have waited to buy a house until I was pregnant? If I had known then what I know now what would we do? But that question isn’t quite fair. If I had known then what I know now I’d simply adjust my expectations so that I wouldn’t be so full of despair. We didn’t know and we decided to buy a bigger home. So I’ve decided to be grateful for what this house has brought us, even though it also reminds me of what we don’t have.
I am thankful that we had the opportunity to purchase this house when we did. Since we bought this house the housing market here has gone totally nuts. If sold today it wouldn’t even be in our price range anymore… which would be sad because our home is wonderful. Even if we never fill it with children, we love the house, the location, our neighbors, the walking paths, and the views of the mountains just outside the neighborhood.
This house has also provided many opportunities for home improvement and decorating projects, and if there’s one thing that’s good for distracting us from our infertility sorrows it’s a good project. Our last house was practically perfect (in every way!) when we sold it, so if we had stayed there, we wouldn’t have had any projects left on the home front to keep us busy. I’m grateful for the time we’ve spent together working on our house and the improvements we’ve made.
So here we are… In our big house near the elementary school, with four bedrooms, an unfinished basement, a fenced in backyard, and no children. Our dining table is set for two and there are no high chairs in sight. But I can still see my child in this house. I’m still hoping to turn that guest room into a baby room… Still hoping to one day finish the basement and watch my kids have slumber parties in the basement family room and camp outs in the back yard. The house is a reminder of the hopes and dreams we had two and a half years ago and it encourages me to keep going. We’re ready.