Monday, November 07, 2016
Blog Year Retrospective #11
We began our year on a good note with The Man doing well in his job only to find out that he would be laid off in May due to downsizing. After a frantic month of worry and job hunting, he found employment at another company in the same city. I didn't have to give up my precious job as a housewife, which was probably as much of a relief to The Man as it was to me.
Thanks in part to this new job, and a well-timed sale, we were able to purchase a new car for me in May. I sold my beloved twenty-one-year-old Camry to my in-laws, and my new car has grown on me quite a bit in six months. My gas mileage is incredible, and new speakers have made listening to music much more tolerable (The Man turned me into a sound snob). While I will always miss certain things about the old car, I am glad to move on with something that has features like ABS and a backup camera and a key with buttons on it (whoop whoop!).
Just a few days after we bought my new car, we had a wonderful short vacation in Long Beach, Washington. We toured forts, walked on the beach, and explored the peninsula during a perfect weather window in the low-traffic season. Our stay could not have been better timed, and we felt spoiled having most places entirely to ourselves.
Our last big purchase of 2016 included replacing all of the carpet and laminate in the downstairs half of our house with luxury vinyl plank flooring. The change is incredible, and we are both enjoying shiny, clean floors every day.
But, for every up we celebrated this year, we endured challenges.
My little sister found out in the spring that she was going to be deployed for four months to the Middle East. While we knew that her job in the Air Force meant that deployment was always a possibility, we had hoped she'd be spared the trip. She left in May for a long desert "vacation" to a place not known for pleasantness. Working twelve-hour shifts six days per week, she slogged through the hot summer. Those of us back here at "fort living room" spent every day worrying about her safety, health, and sanity. For every day she was deployed, there were dozens of us also emotionally deployed. The moment she returned home, alive and safe, was one of incredible relief.
And then there was the largest challenge of all:
As we're both in our early thirties, family and friends alike have ramped up the pressure on us to have children. We have both been poked and prodded by doctors, and every test yields the same result: we are both fully functional humans. There is no reason to think we won't have children. Try as we might, though, to deflect very personal inquisitions and blunt teasing, we don't have a good answer as to why we haven't had children yet. It just hasn't happened.
Except it did happen.
On one Saturday in late August, after some odd symptoms appeared, I got curious and took a pregnancy test. The result was immediate, bold, and unmistakable: we were pregnant! We were also dumbfounded, elated, surprised, and a bit confused. Not one to leave things be, I took another test the next day. And then I had a blood test to confirm things the following day. The blood test did confirm we were pregnant, but it also showed a very low HCg level, especially considering how far along I had to be. With our hopes fading and my symptoms disappearing by the hour, I had another blood test on Wednesday. Our fears were confirmed: we had miscarried. The miscarriage itself happened naturally and without much incident over the next few days, but it took a couple weeks to sort through everything emotionally.
We were parents for five days. We had all of the incredible joy and hope that comes with finding out that we made a human! A new life! And we had all of the worry and frustration that parents have about children when they can't protect them. We may have lost our first pregnancy, and we will never know why it happened, but we never forget how those five days felt. Our little one may never have been more than a few cells, but we were parents.
We told our immediate family and a few close friends, but we haven't told others because it isn't fun to share bad news. There's no easy way to begin the conversation, and there's no enjoyment in fielding questions about fertility or desire to try again or other very personal details. If anyone feels slighted by our silence, we apologize.
I am not surprised to be sitting here writing my eleventh retrospective, struggling to find the right words and reconsidering every detail. I feel like all of my ups sound like bragging, and all of my downs sound like whining, but I will choose to believe that I am celebrating and surviving the circumstances of my life.
Here's to another year!