An apologetic warning and a gentle plea for forgiveness: This will probably be long. Sorry.
Now that I’m caught up on my reading and commenting, and the worst of this cold has finally lifted, I have the time and energy to blog about our London adventure. Except, as I’ve been there so many times now, it doesn’t much feel like an adventure anymore. Just like going home, as I’ve mentioned before.
In summary: I ate too much. I ate too much junk. I drank too many caffeinated drinks. I slept too little. I walked, played, and shopped until I dropped. I carried my 26 lb toddler on my hip nearly 50% of every day. I forgot to pray often enough. I brought “cute” shoes instead of “walking” shoes and my feet hurt all day long. I spent too much money. I didn’t nap. I didn’t rest. I didn’t stop going. In other words, I did very few things that were good for my fertility.
In fact, there were multiple times while we were away, that I thought to myself, There is no way I could have done this if I’d been 32 weeks pregnant. Or 6 or 10 or 14 weeks pregnant, if one of these most recent cycles had worked for us. I would have pushed myself too hard. Even if I tried not to, I still would have. I know no other way when on vacation. And I cannot imagine that it would have been very good for any Baby in Progress. Perhaps, somewhere in here, there is a small blessing in disguise. Ha…if only I really believed that.
But…I digress. A few more details about our holiday:
- We visited many of the major sights, not because I wanted to but because my Honey (who has never been to London) needed to see them: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, and more.
- I had High Tea by myself at the Berkley, where they style their cakes and pastries after the latest fashion trends. Delicious and fun!
- We went on two Harry Potter-themed guided walking tours, which was perhaps one of my favorite parts of the trip.
- I discovered Ben’s Cookies, which has the best cookies I have ever tasted in my life. Seriously. Enormous, soft, thick, chewy…I wish I could have brought a lifetime supply home with me.
- During one of our two (three?) visits to Harrods, we happened to stumble upon a book signing party for Roger Moore, who once played the role of James Bond.
- We hired a nanny for a day so that my daughter could have a day of rest while the three of us adults took a day trip to Windsor and Eton.
- I enjoyed pineapple frozen yogurt and a giant muffin at Muffinski’s in Covent Garden, just like I did on my first visit to London and every visit thereafter.
- We only had serious rain during part of one day. The rest of the time, skies were clear and we were…cold. So glad I had the foresight to pack a thick jacket, hat, and gloves!
- We went to a pub for fish and chips and I ordered a hard cider, the first sip of alcohol I’ve had in months.
- I slipped away for a couple hours to do a little shopping on my own and to enjoy a coffee while sitting in Green Park. I love getting to explore the city alone, just like in the good ol’ days!
- I fell in love with Kensington Gardens all over again. My favorite park. Truly.
- While visiting St. Paul’s Cathedral, I paid 30 pence to light a candle for our beloved Teddy Graham. I wish I would have thought to light one for each of your lost babies as well. I’m sorry. But they were all in my heart.
- During our last evening in London, my husband stayed with our daughter, while my mom and I went for High Tea at Fortnum & Mason (a very nice department store, the Queen’s official grocer, and what I would say is a scaled-down version of Harrods…but I think I like it even better). Afterwards, we walked the Mall (cold but beautiful with the Palace all lit up) and then went to Novello Theatre to see Mamma Mia! on stage. So. Much. Fun. And perhaps my favorite night out.
There is also one other thing I did while in London that I have never done before: go shopping at baby stores. Lots of them. I’m trying to be a good sister (yes, I’m failing — I already know), and wanted to get something special for her baby. So I bought this:
The onesie on the left and the jar of hand cream (for my sis, not her baby), I will send to her just as a little “thinking of you” gift this week. The elephant jammies and rabbit rattle I will save for her baby shower this winter.
And for the day the baby arrives, I bought this:
My sis does not know what she is having and does not plan to find out until Baby is here. So I bought a boy outfit and a girl outfit and a gender-neutral musical star/rabbit. The outfit that goes unused will either be given as a gift to someone else or will be saved, in hopes that we may one day have a baby to fill it.
Shopping for these items were hard, all the harder because I’m still working through the feelings of resentment, hurt, anger, and jealousy that I feel when it comes to my sister, but it strengthened me too. In the end, I think perhaps I will one day look back at it and realize that’s when accepting my sister’s pregnancy began to get easier. If that makes any sense.
And while shopping, I could not help but buy these. For us. Or rather, for our baby. Our next baby.
And no, this isn’t some “I’m pregnant!” announcement in disguise. No. I had no business buying these things. Certainly, I had no business spending the sort of money that I did on a baby that hasn’t yet even been conceived. But I fell in love with them. And even more, I wanted some tangible proof of my hope. Of my faith. Because I do believe, I do know it’s possible at least, that I will have another child. I don’t know when. But I think it can, and probably will, happen. And now whenever I need to, I can look at and hold these few precious baby items, reminding myself that not all hope is lost.
So our trip to London was a success. A beautiful success. With the exception of one minor snafu the day after our arrival and missing our connection coming home because of mechanical problems with the plane, it went off without a hitch. Nearly perfect. Perhaps the closest thing to perfect I have experienced when going on holiday. Which I needed. I so needed that.
The hardest part in coming back is…coming back. Returning to the reality of our situation. While across the Pond, I felt thoroughly removed from our problems. I pondered them infrequently. I was happy. I felt light and free and unburdened. The pain of infertility and the grief of a miscarriage didn’t weigh me down for once. Instead, they were more like a small souvenir in my back pocket. Until our final day, that is. Then I broke down and cried because I suddenly realized it was all coming to an end and I didn’t want it to. I didn’t want to be faced with all of this again. I still don’t. I wish I could pretend that we’re still on holiday and go on feeling at ease with my lot in life for the rest of my life.
But alas, here I am. I am home. I am infertile. I am waiting. And I have no idea what the future holds. Oh, and I hate it.
And on that note, I’ll leave you with a few too many photos for your enjoyment. These are the best shots that don’t include my family (because, you know, I’m trying to pretend this blog is anonymous):
You all know what this is…and that blue sky is real, folks!
The London Eye, in all it’s Glory
My High Tea at the Berkley…all inspired by the fashions of Spring/Summer 2012.
All things great existed inside this muffin from Muffinski’s. The only way it could have been better is if it had the amazing power to knock me up!
These are the beautiful boys who attend Eton College (where Prince William and Harry were educated). My husband found it “creepy” that I took photos of these young men, but really I’m just fascinated by the lifestyle. I once had naive hopes of marrying a Brit and sending our son(s) here. Now I look at my daughter and wonder if I would ever be able to send my child away for months at a time.
I love visiting Windsor Castle!
For all you Harry Potter fans out there…
My two companions while enjoying my “me” time at Green Park