Before Lily came along, New Year's was always one of the hardest times of the year for me. I know that many people dealing with infertility have a hard time around the holidays, particularly at Christmas. That was tough, too, but for me it really hit after Christmas.
I guess it was largely because being with my family made me feel secure and happy and made me (almost) forget about the familiar sadness of being without the children that I'd lost as well as the one(s) I wasn't sure I'd ever have. The warmth surrounding Christmas with family and what it means to me as a believer in Christ, the joy of sharing the holiday with our sweet nephews each year, and even the beautiful decorations and music that I anticipate all year long always helped get me through what could have been a very sad time. But when all of that was over and we returned to our quiet house, the empty feeling would return. My undecorated home after the holidays even reflected how I felt: empty and cold.
On top of that, January is my birthday month. Exactly one month after Christmas I turn one year older. Because of recurrent miscarriage, that wasn't really a happy time for me anymore. I dreaded another year gone and all of the lost opportunities of having our baby while my age kept increasing.
Every new year had me wondering if it would be the year that we would bring home a baby. I would start each one with a mixture of hope and dread (mostly dread), unsure of what it would hold.
Of course this year was different. While I don't feel that infertility is no longer a part of my life, I didn't start the year with it at the forefront of my mind as I had previously done. It felt... refreshing. It truly felt as every new year should -- like a new beginning and a fresh start.
I still struggle with coming home after being with family in Louisiana all week. I think that will always be hard for me. The past few months have been a struggle for me as I've been thinking a lot about "home" and where we may live in the near future. No, we have absolutely no plans to move; it's just been on my mind lately. Ever since Lily was born, I'm just not sure Texas is where I want to be. (Nothing against The Lone Star State!) I have A LOT more to say about this, but I think it's a topic for another post!
Anyway, back to the original subject... new year... starting over...
The other day I was cleaning out the cabinet underneath our bathroom sink. The sink had been draining slowly and my husband was getting ready to take a look at the pipes, so I figured it was a good time to clean out some stuff we don't use or need anymore. I threw out two boxes of (expired) ovulation predictor kits. There was one box of home pregnancy tests with one unopened test remaining. It was the same box that gave us the two pink lines for Lily one year ago. The test doesn't expire until the end of this year, so I decided to hang on to it. It felt good to throw out the OPKs, I have to admit, but seeing the pregnancy test made me realize that my concerns about my future fertility aren't over. But, with that being said, I prefer to spend my days enjoying the child that we finally have rather than worrying about what might happen in the future. I can't help but think about it every now and then, of course. I still pray that our days of dealing with recurrent pregnancy loss are over for good. I have no idea whether we'll be able to have a sibling for Lily. Thinking about it at this stage makes my stomach hurt, so I try not to let the subject occupy my thoughts for too long.
I still think it's a miracle that we had a successful pregnancy last year and that we started 2011 with a smiling, happy 3-month old. It blows my mind. My husband and I still ask each other pretty frequently, "Can you believe she's here and we get to keep her?"
I'm anticipating this happy new year with all of the special memories we'll be making with our precious girl.
Lily Rae at 3 1/2 months, January 2011