My husband and I have slept two nights now in a very small bedroom with bare unfinished drywall, reeking of some kind of drywall glue that is probably so toxic it’s banned in China, with a bare-bulb work light swinging overhead, in a queen-size bed which is just mattresses on the floor.  It’s been blissful.

The bliss comes because for a week before this, we slept on the sofabed in the living room.  The light, which I love most of the time, floods the living room at about 5:10 a.m.  I know this because that’s when I wake up.  The sofabed claims to be a queen with the same evil hubris that it claims to be, well, a bed.  It is neither; it’s a lot of metal parts with something mattressy spray-painted on top of them.  This is of course my own sofabed, upon which I have forced people I love to sleep over the years, and it is perfectly appropriate that I should now have to share it with my husband who is approximately 40% elbows.  I wish I could find a way to get people I don’t like to sleep on my sofabed, it is that punishing.

The sofabed thing sucks on many levels in addition to the elbows.  There is having to move everything out of the way in order to go to bed, on days when we have worked all day moving cleaning packing driving between two houses.  The sofabed thing piles on top of the dislocation – there are things like can opener and the power cord to the DVD player that may never be found – and the other issues -cooking is impossible and scary centipedes roam the half-gutted kitchen.

So when a hitch in the scheduling meant that the drywall in the bedrooms wouldn’t get done for a few weeks, I jumped at the chance to move the mattresses back into the bedroom and take a week off from the sofabed (Have you ever moved a queen size mattress by yourself?  It’s like wrestling a whale) and it was heaven to sleep in an actual bed in an actual room.

There is something about this reduction in circumstances that I like.  It reminds me of bigger issues.  Once upon a time a lot of us were seriously pissed off that we hadn’t gotten pregnant after a few months of trying au naturale.  How unfair!  No way I’m doing IVF, we thought.  That shit is scary. 

Well… y’know.  I think what we meant was something like "I hope I don’t have to end up" doing IVF, and, well, yeah.  Now I’m sleeping in a cardboard box on the median strip someplace compared to the king size bed of my earlier expectations.  And still there is farther to fall, isn’t there?

Strangely enough there is something nice about this.  I can’t imagine being disappointed about having to have a C-section, or what gender my baby might be, or what month he or she is born.  I can’t imagine feeling cheated because my labor was difficult or my best friend didn’t come to my shower.  I can’t imagine anything but relief and elation and that delayed, nonsensical grief that comes even when the pregnancy progresses and the baby is born alive.   

Knowing me, I may still find room.  My heart might expand like the Grinch’s did, except not to love more, but to re-expect the little things I thought I’d forgotten.  I may also have stealth expectations that I deserve a break, an easy pregnancy, a dream delivery, a perfect baby, because of "all I’ve been through."  That would be so me to blow this gift of reduced expectations by inflating them back to pre-infertility size. 

Why imagine these things, when I am weeks away from even a whisper of pregnancy hope?  I don’t know, except the wonderful 9 hours I slept in the wonderful horrid little bedroom reminded me.  Reduced expectations can be a gift, a kind of armor that makes me feel a hell of a lot less vulnerable.  If I can be happy with plan C, grateful that I missed sloppy seconds by a mile, feasting on crumbs and joyful about it – that would be something.

Advertisements