It comes as no surprise that 2019 was simply not my year. In fact, by this time last year, I was already done with 2019.
This year has already proven to be different.
And I am so thankful.
The past two Januaries are eerily similar, but with wildly different outcomes that span an exhaustive spectrum of emotions. I didn’t know the extent of this until the other day, but allow me to back-up here…
Last year at this time, I was emerging from my first trimester feeling completely unscathed. While most women would be celebrating a sickness and symptoms free pregnancy, it did nothing to settle my gut instinct that something wasn’t right. Despite being reassured my doctors and ultrasounds that everything was progressing as normal, I knew it wasn’t. But Christmas and New Years came and we did the obligatory cutesy announcements to our close friends and family. I took the “congratulations” and well wishes with a cautious heart. As the second trimester loomed, I kept thinking that perhaps my paranoia was ruining what should have been a beautiful, celebratory moment.
This year, I am nine months pregnant and anxiously drinking labor tea and running several miles a day in an attempt to kickstart labor. This pregnancy has been a breeze. No sickness, no complaints. I feel like “me,” but with a little belly that shifts and reacts all day to remind me that yes, I am pregnant. This is happening. Again. This pregnancy has been complex: grateful that I’m pregnant, nervous it won’t last, gracious to well-wishers and yet too insecure to buy a baby onesie at Target. Everything feels like I’ll be jinxing the miracle I’m trying to maintain. It’s like tiptoeing around fire, walking on eggshells and holding my breath all at once– but for nine months and here I am…approaching the finish line of a race that I barely got to start last year.
As different as those Januaries are, they each had a defining day that changed the course of everything…
One day in January of last year, I lost the baby that I was so worried about carrying.
One day in January of this year, I delivered the baby that I was so grateful to be carrying.
It all seemed perfectly full-circle. A January that had robbed and wronged us had now redeemed itself in the most miraculous, unexpected way. I knew the timing of the miscarriage and birth were close, but I wanted to see how close. Going back into my medical records, I was left speechless…
The incidents weren’t just close in dates.
It was the same date.
Nearly at the same time.
In the afternoon of January 10th, 2019, I sat in a dark doctor’s room calling Ryan with that hyperventilating, panicked cry to tell him that the baby was gone. There was no heartbeat. There would be no baby.
In the afternoon of January 10th, 2020, I laid in a brightly lit, peaceful hospital room with Ryan holding my left leg, a nurse holding my right and my midwife coaching me through each contraction. There would be a baby.
In the afternoon of January 10th, 2019 I lost a little girl that we would come to name Elizabeth.
In the afternoon of January 10th, 2020 we welcomed another little girl and gave her Elizabeth as her middle name.
I keep asking myself, “what are the chances that these two events happened on the same day?” or “what does it mean that I had another girl on the same day as the one I had lost?”
I don’t know the answers to those questions. No one does. In my heart, I want to believe something so generically comforting because it’s easier that way. I just know that she was and is with me and I believe January 10th is not only a new chapter for us but a true rebirth of sorts.
I found the light at the end of the tunnel and her name is Penelope Elizabeth.
There are plenty of people out there that are still walking through the darkness, haven’t found their light and are unsure of what the future holds in the midst of loss. Admittedly, I am speaking from an obnoxiously optimistic and sentimental viewpoint. If you would have told me that “all would be well” last year, I would have responded with an eye roll and scolded you for being so cavalier and confident. Yet here I am, virtually preaching the cruel workings of the universe as if I understand why bad things happen.
But I don’t. I never will.
Right now, I’m comforted by my present and inspired by my past year. I’ll never justify the saying, “everything happens for a reason” because that’s bullshit. Bad things happen that can’t be explained.
But good things happen that can’t be explained too.
And right now, I want to soak up every ounce of goodness that came out of January 10th.