one for the books
I wish I could do what I did last year, and cleverly point you to this blog’s most popular posts from 2011. But last year was different. And this year? Well 2011 has definitely been one for the books — i.e., a new exhilarating book with a surprise twist ending. Truly a momentous year for us; a trifecta of Major Life Events we never thought would happen.
After more than 20 years together, we finally bought our first home this past spring.
After more than seven years of infertility, I somehow inexplicably became pregnant. While I didn’t make it to term, I did manage to deliver a live healthy baby at age 42.
And finally, after letting go of the idea of expanding our family and coming to peace with it, we were miraculously able to give our precious daughter a little sibling.
The rest of the world is in apparent upheaval. So are other aspects of our lives. But for our family, this was a stellar year, in a holy crap-I still can’t believe it-how did we get here-sort of way.
For us, the year began with a lot of uncertainty, after being given notice that we would have to move. While we had grown accustomed to living in limbo — through infertility, treatment and adoption — this was different in that we always had a roof over our heads. We wanted stability. We were worried we’d have to move before we were ready. Moving is expensive and time consuming, and with a toddler, it’s downright difficult. In twenty years, we had only lived in two homes. We didn’t want to have to move again. January came and we were tired and stressed. We were packing, though we didn’t know where we were going. Interest rates were rising daily, which threatened our ability to qualify for the loan we needed. It was a very unsettling feeling.
On another front, I had been recently diagnosed as perimenopausal. While I had happily stopped paying attention to my cycles when we stopped trying to conceive in 2008, I knew it had been a while since I’d had a normal period. A few months later, after I realized I was actually unexpectedly pregnant, my last period was presumed to have begun on January 11 (1/11/11). I thought, how cool, “the power of one.” But then I vaguely remembered my last cycle actually began on the 13th, which was my Nana’s birthday. She would have been 92, yet she had been gone 13 years. Now, I know that my last cycle ever began on my Nana’s birthday, two weeks into the new year, and resulted in our daughter.
Just a few weeks later, as I was reflecting on the five year anniversary of our son’s death, I somehow conceived a child. In fact, she must have been conceived within hours of this solemn anniversary. When I wrote the five year post, it was as if I had said all I needed to say. I suppose I had found a certain peace or acceptance that no longer needed processing. There were simply no more words.
I think about the origin of life of our littlest one — which is how this year began, amidst the tumult of such a stressful time — and I think of her connection to my grandmother and her big brother before her. Aside from the sheer improbability, it feels pretty magical to me, the circle of life and all.
That spring we moved and I wrote very little. I was so exhausted I wondered if I’d ever be able to blog again. Packing and unpacking took a toll, as did my new commute. Jaye needed a lot of extra love and care. I felt sick and tired and needed to sleep every chance I got. I didn’t know it then, but I was in the first trimester and it was was kicking my ass.
We settled in and celebrated Jaye’s second birthday and I felt so grateful. Every night I’d tell her so as I shared a bit of her story, and it’s true. There is something about being entrusted with the care of a precious child that makes you feel so incredibly fortunate. Now, as she grows into this amazing little person, all I can do is marvel in awe and be thankful for the privilege of being her Mama. Even in the toughest moments.
Soon after that, we discovered the unimaginable — i.e., that I was actually carrying a real live baby — and the next few months were a blur. Denial took hold for so long that I was nearly five months pregnant by the time I finally took a test. I know, I know. Emotions ranged from terror and confusion to shock, angst and fear, and later, anticipation and joy. It was a short but eventful pregnancy, high risk with weekly monitoring and not one but two hospital admissions before a team of doctors decided to deliver her at 33 weeks and 3 days, in a harrowing procedure during which I think it’s fair to say I could have died.
By the time she reached her due date, we were settling into our new lives as parents of two babies. We still look at each other in disbelief and remark, wow, we have two children. In fact, I’m linking to these old posts not to direct traffic to the blog, but because I want to remind myself how it actually happened. After the first ultrasound I remember tweeting that I felt as if I had just discovered the winning lotto ticket, but was afraid that someone was going to come claim it from me. No way could I have been that lucky.
These days are precious and wonderful and challenging in so many new ways. Life has continued to offer us one change after another. This time last year, I was a happy mama who never in a thousand years would have imagined holding another babe in my arms today. We have so much to be grateful for this year.
December is a wonderful and crazy time of year, with the holidays, year-end frenzy, social and family gatherings and birthdays. Shorter days, longer nights, sparkling lights. It’s when Mac and I celebrate our “years together” anniversary (this year makes 21!). It’s when we met Kaye before she asked us to be our daughter’s parents. It’s a special time of year, for reflection and celebration.
It can also be a tough time too. May the new year brings you all closer to your dreams. Meanwhile, wishing you a peaceful holiday with time to enjoy what you love most.