You may have noticed a link to NaComLeavMo on the sidebar of my blog. Shame on me, I haven't explained it yet. This "National Comment Leaving Month" is spearheaded by Mel, everyone's favorite IF blogger over at Stirrup Queens. There are nearly 200 of us participating, and we all pledge to leave at least 5 comments on other blogs from the list and reply to 1 comment from our own blog every day for one month, beginning this Sunday. Whew! I'm exhausted just thinking about that. Hopefully you'll notice a few new commenters on my blog in the next month, and hopefully I won't bore everyone to tears. I love a challenge.
Speaking of hope, that was the runner up for the title of this post. The reason I haven't posted in over a week is because we've been busy schlepping Bean around town with our realtor looking at neighborhood after neighborhood, house after house. Well, there's hope... we have put an offer on a new home, which the owners have accepted, and now we are waiting to get approval from their relocation company. (Two relocation companies involved in this transaction, our realtor deserves a medal! Or is that a Grammy?) I absolutely LOVE this home. It's closer to being my dream home than I ever could have imagined we'd be able to find (i.e. afford) here in Seattle. I will be absolutely crushed if we don't get it, so please think good thoughts for us. We could find out the answer as soon as this afternoon.
Now that the house hunt may be over (don't want to jinx it), I was thinking about how different my life is today than it was one year ago. Last year we lived in St. Louis, I was building my private practice in counseling, and we were being held hostage by infertility. This year the scenery is completely different from here in Seattle, my counseling career has been put on hold, and infertility is forced to lurk in the dark corners of my mind while I enjoy the gurgles and coos of motherhood. Last year we were beginning our final round of injections and IUIs before having to look to IVF or adoption, a subject on which DH and I could not agree.
It was the most utterly hopeless time in my life. Sure, I'd been depressed and down at times before, and felt hopeless about certain things (such as my English course on William Blake -- my prof was gracious enough to give me a B- although I deserved worse). But the feeling that I would never become a mother, something that seemed so obvious and just plain given, left me feeling like an empty shell much of the time. When we started that last IUI cycle, I was certain it wouldn't work. Same protocol as the previous failed cycle, with no explanations as to why our perfectly formed parts were not making the whole. (Our wonderful doc simply commented that "nature is inefficient," although I could point to a dozen cases to disprove that theory.) We are hard workers, DH and I, and this was the first time that no amount of effort could guarantee that eventual success.
As you know, that final attempt did the trick despite my disbelief, and we are now the proud parents of a bouncing baby boy. He has my chin and DH's mouth; my hair and DH's eyes. Every time I kiss his soft little head (about 1,000 times a day), I think of how he almost wasn't. He existed in my heart for years, but he almost never existed to the world at all. Every ounce of that sweet baby is a gift to me from God. Even when he's screaming about some unknown wrong, or melting my heart with a sleepy smile, I am never far from the scars of infertility and the gift of pregnancy.
In the whirlwind of the past year -- or perhaps past three years -- we are finally ready to settle down. As we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary this summer, it feels like we are starting over. A new baby, a new city, a new house, a new job, new friends (but we love the old ones too!). Although our rewards also required a healthy dose of luck, we did work hard for this, and I am proud of where we are today. I have hope again for the first time in a long time. Hope that we can now take some time to enjoy everything we've achieved: our family. It's a new kind of hope, one tempered with more experience, more reality. And I know that our battle with infertility isn't over yet, just laying dormant until Bean and pooch are ready for another sibling. But as a counselor, I know that happiness is rarely achieved without hope. So here's to hope for us, and hope for you, whatever you are searching for today.
Last but not least, I hope you watched the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance last night. It was awesome.