I love the way that pictures have a way of telling stories. They capture a moment in time and later are there to remind you of people and places and events.
Here are two pictures of my husband and me, taken two and a half years apart. When we had the more recent one taken, I couldn't help but remember the older one and where we were then. There are a lot of similarities between the two images. They were taken by the same person at the very same park. Of course, they both feature the same two people, walking hand-in-hand down a sidewalk.
But they are also very different. The people are the same, but the view is different. You can't really tell this from the pictures, but they're walking on a different path of the very same sidewalk. Perhaps the most obvious change, though, is the season.
It is winter in the first one. While the picture itself doesn't make me feel sad at all, the landscape is a bit dreary. The trees and grass don't look very vibrant. As the subjects, my husband and I seem far away, like we're walking down a quite a long path. There is as much sidewalk in front of us as there is behind us. Besides that, there's a curve and a tree up ahead and you can't quite see beyond that. You can't see our faces or expressions, but it's clear that we are looking at each other as we're walking along together.
This picture was taken as part of a photo shoot for our Christmas cards that year. It was December of 2007 and it was a fairly happy time for us, yet we were certainly still in the midst of a long trial. We were getting ready to take a trip to Florida and then return home and get ready for the holidays. It had been eleven months since my last miscarriage (number six), and the following month I would be having surgery with my new RE to look for scar tissue and any other new problems. It was the only thing we knew to do next but at least we had a plan. We had no idea what might be up ahead. We had covered a lot of ground on our infertility journey but we were still walking, still moving forward. Together.
The second picture is quite different. The first thing I notice are the colors. Everything is bright and green and alive. It was summertime, and take my word for it, it was hot outside. You can see our expressions in this picture and can tell that we are happy. We are still walking together even though the scenery and the seasons aren't the same. The path even looks much shorter...
Of course, that's a matter of perspective. As I mentioned before, it's the same park and the same sidewalk, just a different view and a different angle. That's the point I'm trying to make here. This pregnancy, this place where we are now, is not an entirely new path; it's just a different part of the same road we've been walking for many years. It is the sum of everything we went through to get here. Oh, I do wish sometimes that we could have been simply placed right here! If we could have just by-passed all the years of hurt and loss and taken a much easier way, surely it would have been so much better. But that's not the path we were meant to take, I guess. And frankly, if it had been, I know it would look and feel entirely different and not nearly as meaningful to us as it does now.
I want to say thank you. I'm so grateful for those of you who haven't written me off as just another pregnant woman. Thank you for considering our path -- the whole thing, every step -- to getting this far and for continuing to offer your support, prayers, and friendship. I realize that you could stumble upon this blog and see the pregnancy ticker at the top and decide that you're not interested in sticking around. But many of you do, and many of you send me messages and tell me that my story gives you hope. Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing about it, as I've learned that having a successful pregnancy doesn't erase everything else I've experienced. While it certainly brings joy and some sense of victory and healing, it doesn't entirely take away the pain of miscarriage. That will always be part of my story now. Just like any time you lose a loved one, you don't want to erase their existence! You keep their memory alive and are thankful that you had the time with them that you did, even though their absence leaves an ache. It will always be there when I look back, and really, that's okay. My babies are part of me and always will be in my heart. Fortunately there are and will be good memories as we continue on this path, especially as we finally bring our baby home.
Next week at this time, she'll be here. Finally, one of the tiny seeds of hope that was planted along this path will get to bloom.
I can't wait to share it with you. Thank you for your constant prayers for us and for baby Lily!