One year ago today we had the amazing blessing of finding out that after nearly two years of trying, we had conceived a child. It had been such a long time of trying that it was almost impossible to believe. We were busily packing up for our first camping trip of the season with the camper we had just purchased earlier that month. Vince was sick with a cold and not in the best of moods as we prepared for the long drive up to the Thousand Islands and Wellesley State Park. As I was packing up our bathroom necessities, I decided to take a quick pregnancy test "just to make sure". This had become my monthly routine as I did not follow a regular cycle. Each month I would set a deadline of sorts - if I had not gotten my period by that date, I would take a test just to make sure. I had learned to take this process very casually or else I was setting myself up for disappointment month after month.
This Friday afternoon in particular was no exception: I peed on the stick, set it face down on the counter, and continued to pack for our weekend trip. As I finished packing our things, I picked up the test and headed towards the garbage to throw it out as I assumed I already knew the results. I stopped dead in my tracks and my heart skipped a beat as I saw the two lines instead of the one I had become accustomed to seeing. I could not believe it and went as far as to get the directions out and compare the test and directions to be especially sure. It is amazing how fast your mind works in moments such as these. I quickly debated whether to wait until we arrived at our campsite that night to tell Vince or tell him right away. I wanted it to be special, but I quickly came to the conclusion that there was no way on God's green earth that I could keep this information to myself for one second longer than absolutely necessary. I was flying high with absolute happiness!
I had bought a Willowtree figurine of a preganant woman with the intentions of giving it to Vince when we found out we were pregnant. I literally ran to our bedroom closet where I had hidden it away, tore it out of the packaging, wrapped it back up in the Hallmark bag, and flew down to the garage where Vince (in a miserable mood) was deciding what to pack and what to leave behind. I handed him the bag with the figurine inside. He (with a big grouchy sigh) asked what it was and I told him it was for him. When he opened the bag and pulled out the small statue, he got the most confused look on his face, said, "no," and promptly told me I was lying. I pulled the positive test out of my back pocket (gross, I know!) and told him that I was not lying. The whole thing, standing barefoot in my garage, was completely surreal. Even thinking back on it now, it seems unreal to me - like I was in some kind of dream sequence.
That weekend away from home gave us some quality, quiet time to let reality sink in. I was a nervous wreck and worried about every twinge and cramp. My biggest fear was somehow I would do something that would make me unpregnant. This mentality lasted for months and I became overly in tune with every little thing going on within my body. It is amazing that no matter how careful you are, there is a plan that you have no control over no matter how hard you try.
Never in a million years could I have expected the journey we have been on for the past year. But I also never could have expected to feel this grateful for every single second of it. From the pure joy I felt as I raced down the stairs to share my news with Vince to the shock of Rita telling us that there was reason to believe that there was a problem with our unborn child to the overwhelming fear coursing through me as I sat in my rocking chair holding my belly before leaving for the hospital to deliver Charlie knowing I could not keep him safe much longer to the awe I felt the first time Charlie opened his eyes and looked at us to the unexpected heartache of leaving the NICU behind after life there for 85 days - - every second of it is something I cherish and am eternally grateful for having experienced.
It is amazing how life can change in ways you could never imagine in the span of just 365 days.
Camping at Wellesley Island, Memorial Day Weekend 2008
Our first family photo
Mother's Day 2009