A Bittersweet Anniversary

Two years ago, I happily wrote in my phone's calendar that we officially started trying to conceive. 626 days later, I woke Cody from a dead sleep and told him we were pregnant. Six hundred and twenty six days. Painful yet hopeful days, and a time that has made me a different person.

If I would have known the journey I was about to embark on two years ago when I threw away my birth control, I don't know what my overly optimistic (and in hindsight, very naive) self would have thought. Probably that 626 days was an exaggeration of how long it would actually take us to get pregnant. That it couldn't be THAT difficult ... and surely that sadness and loneliness wouldn't haunt me.

Fertility issues creates major change. Some of it is good - I don't think I would appreciate my pregnancy or my marriage as much without the struggles we had. Some of it is bad. The past two years are definitely the darkest I've ever had. I'm glad my husband told me so many times that we were not giving up. I'm glad it's behind us, and I'm grateful that it feels like a distant dream. The pain has faded. The identity of being the "infertile couple" has changed. It all still feels so very miraculous.

One week ago, I had the second best day of my life. (The best day will probably always be our wedding day). My mother got off work to spend the day with me. That morning was my first ultrasound. I was nervous about it for days before, hoping everything was healthy and good. Wondering if it was a boy or a girl. Trying really hard not to Google stuff (which always freaks me out) about the anatomy scan.

My mom, Cody, and I got to the doctor's office and they called me right back. My pulse raced as I pulled up the maternity shirt my sister-in-law Emily gave me as a hand-me-down. Then on the black-and-white screen, up popped the best picture. Baby! A strange, blurry alien with bright white bones. Our miracle. Something I had dreamed of seeing for years finally in front of me. Finally real.

During the ultrasound I was too nervous to get emotional. The sonographer found the spine, the head, the outstretched fingers of tiny hands, the little feet, the brain split into two hemispheres, the wildly beating heart. I was pretty impressed with my body's own reaction and the incredible growth of something that appeared to be a jumping lima bean on the first quick "yep you're pregnant" ultrasound done with a hand-held device by my OB/GYN.

Then it was time... In my mild case of Googling I had looked up what boy and girl anatomy looks like at 18 weeks. The sonographer hovered over the little legs, and said, "Ok, boy or girl any guesses? Can anyone tell?"

"It's a girl," I said.

"Yep. It's a girl," she repeated.

And all I felt was love.

Cody had to go to class shortly after, but my mom and I did a little shopping, watched Fern Gully, and crafted. We made decorations for her nursery. Then we got massages and painted our nails pink in celebration. The whole time I was with my mom I thought, "I wonder if this is how she felt the day she found out I was ME."

That evening Cody and my dad shared "girly" wine together, my mom and I cooked dinner, and we reveled in the fact that she is HER. A girl. A person that is half of me and half of my favorite person on the planet. A little life that I dreamed of and doubted and hoped for for 626 days.

After my parents left, Cody and I worked on her room a little more. As we hung up the decorations my mom and I made, her name dangling from a branch from the yard of our first house, it really hit me.

My world will never be the same. It is bigger, brighter, happier, and so full of love that I cannot even process it. I didn't know I was capable of this caliber of love. This bright light that overwhelms my life is so magical.

If just giving her a name made me this happy, I marvel at what the future will bring.

Her name is Phoebe AnnClaire. She is my happiest thought.


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