Friday, December 9, 2016

Looking back...

Wednesday as I was driving home I randomly started reminiscing about this time in December nine years ago.  That particular Christmas season was a little extra wacky, for a lot of reasons.  For one, I was pregnant.  Newly pregnant, in fact, to the point that hardly anyone knew.  And as if that wasn't enough to throw us for a loop, then our trip to Disney in the middle of Christmas season did the trick.  It was a trip we'd planned before I was pregnant, with free accommodations off-site that Craig had won through our work golf tournament at least a couple years prior.  Luckily the apartment management company was still willing to redeem it, and we picked our week to go enjoy some Florida warmth before the worst of Rochester's winter crept in.

But so much was going on around that time, although most of it was like a swimming duck's feet--the real action was hidden from view.  Internally I was all sorts of crazy.  From the moment the pregnancy test came back positive, I was freaking out inside.  It was a total shock at the time, even though we'd been trying.  We'd been unsuccessful for a few months and I was getting confused (a mystery I didn't actually figure out until years later when I tried to get pregnant again), but out of the blue I started feeling horrible and tired, and before I called the doctor, I took a test to ensure I could confidently answer the, "Are you SURE you're not pregnant?" question.  And poof--positive.  I'm not sure I'd ever been so shocked in my entire life.  But then we went into this weird double life, where we knew what was going on and were full of emotion about it, but since no one knew (I was terrified I'd miscarry so we held off), we had to keep it all inside.  I remember being so excited that it was all I thought about, and I probably was the worst conversationalist around that time because I probably couldn't even think of anything else to talk about because all I had in my head was, "Baby!"

Even worse, we had to wait about four weeks until I could go in for an ultrasound.  We had no idea when I'd conceived, so that was important to get a due date.  I think I had an appointment just to chat about pregnancy in general and get me on the ultrasound schedule, so it was nice to have a few moments to be able to talk about it openly with someone other than Craig, but beyond that there was a lot of waiting and wondering.  It was almost as stressful as the infertility issues themselves (even though I didn't even know that's really what it was at the time), when I'd have a negative test and internally obsess over it for the day.  This time it was for happy news, but it was so hard keeping it to myself.  Even worse, I felt so crappy through that whole time and I couldn't let on, especially at work.  I was tired and nauseous all the time, and while I was lucky enough to maintain the contents of my stomach just fine, it was exhausting to try to act normal when all I wanted to do was nap at my desk.  I knew my bosses would be super nervous once I told them, too, as filling my spot for a couple months was daunting.  We lucked out on that front in the end, as the former person in that position had a little time on her hands and needed only minimal retraining, but we had no way of knowing at that point, so clearly I had a lot to consider before spreading the news.

Ironically, Wednesday was the anniversary of our first ultrasound, and I will never forget sitting there and watching the screen expecting to see an unidentifiable blob, only to be shocked when a very recognizably shaped baby popped up on the screen. 

Again, we didn't know how far along I was, so I panicked a bit when I saw that, thinking that maybe something somewhere along the way had been screwed up and things had really progressed.  But apparently that's just how 10-week-old fetuses look, and I was amazed to see him moving his arms and legs.  It was incredible and exciting and a scary dose of reality, all at the same time.  I remember feeling downright euphoric afterward, but again, we couldn't really tell anyone so it was hard to regulate those emotions.  I do think we ended up telling my cousin Lori a bit early, as I needed someone to bounce things off of, and she was obviously thrilled.  But because of the timing of our Disney trip (nine years ago tomorrow!), the rest of the family would have to stay in the dark for now, as we weren't going to have a chance to see them in person until Christmas.

The trip was awesome, although I missed out on the most intense rides like Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, and Tower of Terror, because they were not recommended for pregnant women.  While I probably would have been fine as I wasn't even close to showing, I was not willing to risk it. While I was bummed, as I'm a ride fanatic, the harder part was avoiding questions about those rides when we talked to family at home!  The best part of the trip was that my tiredness and nausea faded away somewhere between Rochester and Orlando, and never came back!  We had gorgeous weather, ate plenty, and loved wandering the parks.  We watched the families with kids and were thankful our trip was meltdown-free, but it certainly made us wonder what our future held.  We knew it was our last hurrah for a while (and sure enough, we haven't done a lengthy trip without kids since), and we made the most of it.

Back at home, I think we had about a week to dig out of the snow that fell while we were gone and finish our Christmas preparations.  The best one was framing and wrapping our ultrasound photo for each set of grandparents, as that was going to be the way we shared the news.  We got to do it on Christmas Eve for Craig's family, and Christmas Day for mine.

Seeing my parents' faces when they opened the package was priceless, and my dad in particular was ready to burst by the time we made it to our celebration with his side of the family!  It was a very exciting day and made that Christmas even more special to share our good news.

Looking back it just makes me recall a much simpler time, even though it certainly didn't feel that way then!  We had our whole future in front of us, and while the unknowns were anxiety-inducing, it was a time of such joy and anticipation.  I'm thankful for the nine years that followed, though certainly they haven't been easy.  But it's nice to think back to when there were just two of us...and that little black and white picture was just the beginning of our next chapter.

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