Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Un-Nesting

It was hard to nest for a baby that technically didn't exist yet, but we did it, not quite completely but close. We had a beautiful nursery. We had all kinds of gear at the ready. We hadn't quite set up the bookshelves as closet space yet, but we were confident we'd figure it out when the time seemed closer or had actually arrived.

It was more than a little bizarre to then just tear it all down; to in the course of a few heartrending days pack everything up and move it first to the back storage room and then to the living room so someone else could pick it all up and put it to use with people who really, really need it.

It was a process of un-nesting, and then building back up a nest of a different sort, a different nest, an Un-Nest. Making our house into something that reflects who we are, not who we'd hoped to be. Rethinking the purpose of that little room and moving quickly to transform it.

Some may have thought perhaps we were rushing through this transformation, but I can tell you that this un-nesting has been completely vital to my healing process. If that little room is now going to be my office, I needed it to look like a totally different space AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I needed to eradicate the ghost of the changing pad on the dresser, of the crib, of all the hopes that rested in that sweet, sweet space of possibility. And if eradication was foolishly naive of me, than I would at least weaken the ectoplasm down to a tiny flicker of a ghost.

We ordered the desk over Memorial Day, so that it would arrive pretty soon after everything was taken out. I ordered my chaise lounge around the same time, and that came first. I got a sweet sculptural lamp for the side table that was first bought for the guest room this once was, and then I had one more piece to go in order to complete the space, furniture-wise at least.

This piece was the most important, because the space that was left empty was where the crib used to be. I couldn't truly relax in here when the ghost of that crib in that space haunted me so. I found a closed storage cabinet, a sideboard, at our favorite furniture and home decor store, Windsor Cottage, but it was a little on the pricey side (as was the beautiful lamp, also from Windsor Cottage) so I didn't buy it right away.

But it was PERFECT.

It had doors with a shelf inside, and three drawers. My plan is to bring my crafting stuff upstairs from the basement (hopefully sans the giant hairy wolf spiders that have been known to seek shelter in my craft supplies, shudder) and get a square card table that I can slide behind the sideboard to take out and use when I want to wrap things, or make cards or gift tags, or whatever. I have a boatload of rubber stamps that are in a state of disarray and neglect in the basement (possibly because of the chance of spider encounters, which are honestly so far and few between but traumatizing!), and getting them up here will give new life and also force me to reevaluate my supplies and get rid of things I don't need or use. This sideboard had plenty of space for all my stuff and was the perfect length and height for that spot in my tiny 90 square foot room. It was super well built and substantial. But it was also not exactly summer-budget friendly -- a price that I'd be fine with in February or March maybe, but not when my next paycheck doesn't come until September 15th. And Bryce just bought all our glorious sofas and chairs (hey, also from Windsor Cottage) and the trip so far, even though that's coming from adoption money saved up it still precluded some help monetarily. And I wanted to buy it myself.

We went on a search to see if we could find something similar elsewhere for less, but everything just wasn't right. It was either a little banged up, or too big, or had weird details like mirrors set into the doors (ew). Nothing was the same quality. Nothing stood up to the sideboard I'd spotted weeks ago.

Here it is, in the store when I first saw it.

And so, yesterday, I decided that the price was worth the quality and my vision of the new space, and I bought it. I will forego other things in order to pay for this beautiful piece, because it is simply like it was meant to go in this space. It was also a minor miracle that it was still there, because Windsor Cottage turns merchandise over rapidly and things are often here today, gone tomorrow, with their displays miraculously filled in with new things as if the sold item never existed. But that sideboard was there for me, yesterday, AND it fit in my car. Meant. To. Be. It is the only thing that I have bought in this un-nesting process that turned out EXACTLY the way I envisioned it, from the start, without any tweaking.

We've bought a lot of furniture from this store recently, and the owner is just the sweetest person you can imagine. We love coming in there because she just exudes warmth and friendliness and genuine...goodness. She's always so appreciative of our business (and honestly, we are slowly furnishing our house in her wares). She was asking about the space when I bought the piece, and I shared that it was tiny, and it was my office. And then I shared that it was so important to me to get this last piece of furniture in there, because it was a nursery, and now...it's not. And then I felt like I had to explain that a bit because her face got so sad and so I felt I had to explain it wasn't a late pregnancy loss or a baby loss of a physical baby, but more of a metaphysical loss of a baby who didn't materialize before it all got to be too much. I don't know why I do that. It's a huge loss, even if I never felt a kick or met this baby. Maybe it's huge to me because of the fact that we never got to meet our baby, he/she only existed in our minds, hearts, and hopes for what could have been a life as a family of three. There was so much possibility that brewed and fermented for so long and now has just dissipated in a fog of hollow sadness.

But anyway, back to the room spaces.

I can't tell you how amazing it is to transform our home into OUR SPACE. I thought that maybe we would move immediately when everything went the way it did, that it would be too hard to live in this house that has seen so much heartbreak. This house that felt like it was closing in on us, without the space we needed. Well, a funny thing happened -- when we donated all of our baby gear and we reclaimed the nursery and the back storage room area and bought new couches and rearranged the living room because my office could go upstairs...well, then we had plenty of space. It's like getting a new house without the hassle of moving. We know not to make any hasty decisions during this time of fresh grief and mourning, but I am so very surprised that my urge to move and start over in a new house has abated, and the more we make over our spaces the more I'm like, "huh...I could live here for a while now."

Since we redid our kitchen between registering with our agency and our homestudy visits, I don't have countertops that have seen injection mixing or the pouring of rubbing alcohol on the surface to sterilize it.

Since we replaced our living room furniture, I don't have any couches that have seen butt-heating from PIO shots, or weeping over miscarriages or negative tests, or social workers sitting and talking with us about the complexities of adoption as we go through our homestudy and subsequent renewal. It looks very different from when we did our hopeful waiting adoption shoot.

Since I've filled the nursery with my office furniture and accessories, I don't have (too many) visions of what used to be there, of the spaces meant for reading on the floor or putting an infant to bed or changing a diaper and clothing a sweet tiny human in all the adorableness that we accumulated over the years. The only thing that remains is one corner of wall decals with lovebirds, because I do want a tiny reminder that once we had a nursery and the hopes that lay within it, but it speaks to our love for each other rather than the love we never got to share with Mystery Baby. I packed up the stuffed animals and remaining board books and onesies that were displayed or hidden in the room, and put them in a tub for later consideration. I left just a few board books up, ones that mean something. Maybe they will go too eventually, but I don't mind them there at this moment in time.

It's a transformation that's been incredibly hard, but also incredibly healing. I feel in a weird way like it's a hopeful thing, creating my beautiful office from the ashes of our beautiful nursery. I feel like everything is going to be like this -- creating something new from the ruins of what will never be. Using our love and hope and newfound spaces and resources to create all new possibilities, a future that's not what we planned but has so, so much potential.

Hopeful before

Horribly empty after

Ahhh, beautiful desk space! (See my mockingjay pin, stuck in a little hole in the wallboard above my laptop? Heh heh heh)

Hopeful before

Ahhh, bookspace (clearly need bookends on that bottom shelf)

Hopeful before, and the wall decals that were physically painful to tear off (no need to worry, the adorable owl rug is safe in my other reading nook with the glider in the hall dormer)

Ahhh, so many reading nooks! I love this chaise lounge

Unfinished, hot mess before... never quite finished this project of taking shelves out and making closet space

Ahhh! Not quite finished, but better. Oh the irony, I gave away so many books because I didn't have the space before... now I have empty shelves! For now, bwah ha ha ha
Cat in the crib, at least someone enjoyed it

Horrible empty space that lasted the longest

Ahhh! Isn't it BEAUTIFUL? Perfect!

A very different feel to this spot, even with the remnants of what once was, of what could have been.
I love spending time in this space now. Funny how that transformation that was so painful in the dismantling has become so healing in the putting-things-together-differently phase. The work just goes on and on, but not all of it is terrible. 

16 comments:

  1. Jess, I can't begin to imagine how difficult your journey has been through all of this. I wept as I read this, even though your healing is under way, and your new space is beautiful. You are an inspiration to me. Your strength, your willingness to share your journey with us, it's just...fantastic. Thank you. I love you.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mom. I love you too!

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  2. Beautifully done: what a lovely space to come home to, or linger in.

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    1. Thank you so much! I do love lingering in here, and can't wait to fill that cabinet with my craft supplies. I got the card table to slide behind it, so now I really have a functional space for all my stuff (minus cooking and gardening!).

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  3. I love this, Jess!! I am amazed at just how much you are able to fit so perfectly into that small space!! It looks so amazing! And I totally agree that the final piece is complete kismet. I checked out the website to Windsor, and it's the kind of place I LOVE to browse through, with treasures pulled from all sorts of neat places. And I seriously can't wait to see that photo shoot on that spectacular chaise!!

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    1. Thank you! It is a jigsaw puzzle for sure, such a tiny space with a tiny doorway (29" clearance, WHY would builders DO that?) but it worked! Well, if you ever come visit (heh heh) we can go to Windsor Cottage and explore... :) Yes. Can't wait for the Hollywood champagne cocktail moment on the chaise... ah, to plan the next shoot bwah ha ha.

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  4. I'm so happy to read this update. I can imagine that the dismantling of the nursery was a bit like pulling off a band-aid. Better to do it quickly and painfully and then it's over. The new area looks lovely now. I'm also glad to hear you feel good in your home and yes there will be lots of happy experience to come there!

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    1. Yes, thank you! Exactly. Pull the bandaids off and get things to a space where I'm not reminded on the outside as much as I am on the inside that our planned-for future didn't come to pass. I love this space! And all the changes to our home. It really feels like cheating a bit, moving without actually moving. :)

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  5. Ahhhh! I LOVE your new office!!! The final piece is perfect! I love your bookshelves and your desk and the chaise lounge. You basically just created a dream space. I love it all. Thanks for sharing your pictures!

    I understand the need to work quickly. Sometimes certain things just need to Be Done immediately.

    Your new office is amazing. You are amazing. Enjoy your new space! It's beautiful.

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    1. Thank you -- I'm so glad you love it! It is totally a dream space. I feel like I am still working out final details but it feels like a nursery for my soul, sort of. (oh man, hokey as hell) Yes. Be Done Immediately for the sanity, which we all know can be titchy. :) Thank you for the office love!

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  6. I totally understand your need to change it over AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. It's easier to be on one side of the footbridge or the other; but in between is wobbly.

    Your space is so inviting that I'm fighting the urge to check flights to your town, totally uninvited!

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    1. Yes, I am so sick of "in between" spaces. NO MAS. Um, you are welcome ANYTIME! (minus when we're in CA, obviously). You can come visit and lie on that chaise lounge whenever, lady!

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  7. You've made the room absolutely beautiful! A space to be enjoyed, one where you can be happy, one that is hopeful in a different way. Don't worry what other people think. I think we all do things at the pace that is right for us. Great job!

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    1. Thank you so much, I love that, hopeful in a different way. And yes, I have a hard time with that voice in my head (or others sometimes), but logically I know that I have to do this my way, our way, in our own time, each step of things. Some things fast, some things slow... But this is SUCH A HAPPY PLACE and I'm so glad everyone loves it as much as I do! :) It really makes me feel so much better to have this mostly done.

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  8. What a gorgeous space you've created (love the final piece, it really does fit so well in there). It makes total sense why you'd want the space changed over as soon as possible. It's good to have a space that really fits you and your current needs.

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  9. What a gorgeous piece of furniture! :) Your room is really shaping up beautifully!

    There is something to be said for ripping off the bandaid right away. Our nursery that never was was a spare bedroom with cheap, ugly particleboard furniture from dh's student apartment. Once it became clear that it never would be a baby's room, I kept saying we needed to get some nice furniture for it & do it up right. I did get a new bedspread for the bed, but we had the same crummy furniture right up until we moved (& had the junk removal guys take it away).

    I got rid of a ton of scrapbooking supplies when we downsized & moved, but there was still some stuff that I just couldn't bear to get rid of, particularly the tools & stamps. They're in a couple of plastic storage bins in the storage locker, since we don't really have room for it here. i keep telling myself that I'll get back to it, someday...

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