Over Christmas, I ordered a new calendar. I am a planner – I like lists and visual representations of life. I write everything down. I also love Ansel Adams, so the calendar is a black and white monstrosity of nature photography. I was so excited when I bought the calendar. I was going to have a baby in 2017! The minute the calendar arrived, I flipped it open to June, wrote down the due date, and patted my belly. “Not too long now, baby. Just enough time for us to get everything done before you arrive.” Less than three weeks into the calendar, already filled with doctor’s appointments and baby showers and parenting classes, the baby was gone. But June fifth did not disappear off of the calendar. It didn’t politely cease to exist. It rudely kept coming towards us at the speed of sixty seconds per minute.

I have almost been not pregnant with Cory for as long as I carried him. Not quite, because he was born at twenty weeks and three days, so time won’t have doubled until the eleventh. Close enough. This twenty weeks seems to have travelled so much slower than the first, though. Instead of being filled to the brim with a million things to prepare, it was empty. Not really any appointments besides the initial “You’re healthy! Your placenta had a weird infection! Shouldn’t happen again! Carry on!” No classes. No shower. No hospital tours. No baby store trips. No nursery preparation. No rushing to the hospital just to be told it was false labor. No labor and delivery. No holding our breathing, crying, living son. Just…emptiness. My physical emptiness. Our home’s quiet emptiness. Our life’s emptiness. We expected our lives to be full and loud and exhausting but worth it. Instead, they have been filled with a claustrophobic sense of quiet and a need to act with no clear outlet. On no day has life’s emptiness been more apparent than today. Besides Cory’s absence, we are painfully aware of the tiny life that was miscarried just last week. For a blinding breath, we joyfully expected our “rainbow,” only to find ourselves immersed in a deeper quiet and a heavier emptiness than before. We miss our children, even though we never knew them

Strangely, this week is filled with a lot of hope for us. We are in the final stages of being approved as foster parents. If all goes well, we should have a child placed in our home by the end of the summer. Our next two weekends are filled to the brim with trainings and certifications, something that had been set in motion long before we found out we were pregnant the first week of May. In fact, our journey to become foster parents and eventually adopt was set into motion even before I got pregnant we Cory. It’s something I have wanted to do since early in our marriage, and something Morgan didn’t need much encouragement to be talked into. Before our surprise eight week pregnancy this spring, we had already finished a large portion of the approval process and we have every intention to continue along this path.

We may conceive again. Maybe this summer. Maybe not for a couple years. Maybe never. If I have learned anything this past twenty weeks, it is that I have absolutely zero control over whether we ever successfully have a biological child. What we do have control over, however, is how we use the time, love, and resources we have been given. And we’re going to use those gifts to change a child’s life.

Today is a hard day. Cory should be here. He should be fully developed and ready to be born. He should be screaming in the middle of the night and cooing when we talk to him. We should be weary and worn but joyful. We should have a child. But we don’t, and that is unbearably painful. We miss Cory and his tiny sibling. We miss them so. It’s a moping day for Morgan and me. He has the day off of work so we are going to go sit on the beach and watch the ocean, another part of this world over which we have no control. We’re going to grieve, and mourn, and cry. We’re going to try to let go of guilt, and fear, and anger, but trying and succeeding are vastly different things. I do not know how much success we will meet here today

Today is too much for me. I don’t know what tomorrow holds. To be honest, I fear the future. Sometimes hope feels far from me, like a character in someone else’s life. I miss Cory more than I can express. Every second of every day, I am blindingly aware of his absence from my body, his absence from my life. I am constantly cognizant of the fact that I am not pregnant and that I am not a mother, not actively anyway. Every day hurts. Some days, I cannot speak. On really bad days, it is everything I can do to get out of bed. Every day, I have to choose to rest in the fact that while I have no control, God does. While I can’t hold our children, God can. And while I can only love our children from afar, my love is absolutely nothing compared to his.