I have two engagement rings, but neither is mine. (DH never proposed to me — we had a conversation — and I did not want a diamond ring for both personal and ethical reasons.)
One ring is a cluster of diamonds, six small ones encircling a larger one, kind of like a six-petaled flower. It belonged to my grandmother, the one who died in September, the one whose death meant I had the funds to pay for DEIVF. For the past week I’ve been wearing this ring on my right hand. It’s very pretty and rainbows flash when the light hits it. Even though I like the way it looks on my hand, it is so un-me. I wear it because every time I look at it I am reminded to offer silent thanks to my grandparents for making this chapter of my life possible.
The other ring belonged to Nanny, my great-grandmother, whom I was very close to. A humble diamond the size of a crumb is nestled in a setting designed to make it look larger than it is. It doesn’t catch the light in the same way, and it is too small for any but my little finger, so I wear it around my neck. Since last Wednesday, it has been suspended on my gold chain from which hangs my tiny Jizo pendant that I bought in memory of Bean and which I have worn constantly for almost a year. The Jizo is about as tall as the diameter of the ring. It’s like Nanny is holding Bean.
On my left wrist, a brass double-unicorn horned bangle. It was made by an artist who gifted it to my friend, E, and it brought her luck. She passed it on to me a few months ago, shortly before she flew to the Philippines where she made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Manaoag to pray for her baby as well as mine. E’s prayers have been answered, and — she told me this just now when I asked if I could mention her pilgrimage and pregnancy here — she prays at the Virgin Mary every week for the continued health of her growing baby, and for my dreams of being a mother to be fulfilled.
Another friend sent me a laminated Virgin Mary card, The Memorare of St. Bernard. Although this particular friend is Hindu, a nun she knows keeps giving them to her. She passes them along to people she knows, and so far all of them have got pregnant. I told her we were doing IVF (she doesn’t know about the DE part) and she laughed as she offered to send one to me. I know you’re an atheist — she began. Hey, if it works, I’ll do it! I finished. (I haven’t recited the prayer on the back once a day for ten days like you’re supposed to, though, save for once in a grotesque Irish accent on Skype to my dad.)
For the past month, I’ve worn a rose quartz bracelet, the “unconditional love hug of the universe, which wraps you and your baby in its warm, soothing energy, providing emotional balance, security and peace” — a surprise package from Lisette at Project Sweet Pea. Also in the same box was a pair of socks — a beautiful soft blue wool with a golden rabbit pattern. She couldn’t have known I’d been looking for the perfect pair of socks for my various appointments and transfer, but here they were, having travelled across an ocean and a continent to find their way onto my feet. I wear them every day, and today I will wash them again, ahead of tomorrow’s transfer.
In an envelope on my desk, a dove grey envelope holds broken treasures of sea glass whose edges have been filed down by sand, but not yet polished into smooth pebbles. To keep, to hold… to toss back into your ocean when needed. One mysteriously found its way onto my bedside table, so I added it to the small collection of tiny toys in my Mizuko Lily pot.
I’ve resumed my afternoon ritual of Earl Grey tea and a square of chocolate, thanks to the delicious caffeine-free bergamot-scented rooibos another friend sent me. (All these surprise packages! I am so lucky.)
Twice, outside my window, I’ve had a visit from the purple hummingbird whose fleeting presence is, I believe, a good omen. In the Andes, the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. Two birds swooped over my car on the freeway this afternoon; the other day at the beach, two pelicans flew directly overhead. Both times I think, Twins.
Another beach treasure, my Jizo pebble that I sleep with in my hand. When I wake up each morning and find I am still holding it, I know I am grounded.
Around the world in various religions, people are praying for us, burning herbs, meditating, sending their juju, and holding us in their white light. I’ve never felt more protected or more loved than now, the eve of my transfer.