Greg and I celebrated our eighth anniversary on Oct. 12 when we were home in NC. We didn't really get a chance to celebrate what with all the hub-bub surrounding my parents' 50th anniversary party, our baby shower and Greg's dad coming down for a visit.
So, on Saturday night, we went out to eat at a restaurant that I'd been wanting to try.
Here's a picture of us at our table:
We had a nice time, even though the food didn't meet my high expectations. Four years of living in Italy sort of ruins anyone on what passes for Italian food here in the states. It was a time for us to reflect a little on these past years and, for me, the shirt I wore was a constant reminder of how far we have come.
You see I wore this very same shirt on another anniversary. Here's the picture from 2007, when we were celebrating our fifth anniversary and just days away from the start of our very first IVF:
I remember writing a blog post then about our struggle to conceive and our pending IVF. It was the first time I'd ever publically talked about our struggles and I remember saying that instead of a romantic trip to Paris or London, I was getting IVF for my fifth anniversary.
I was so hopeful for that first cycle and today when I read back over that old blog post, I remembered how confident Greg was that it would work. He was constantly saying things like "when the baby is born," or "when your belly gets big." I wasn't sure how to take that confidence back then, as all my sentences of that nature began with that hateful two-letter word, "if."
Eventually, Greg stopped with the "whens" and moved into the realm of "ifs," though he was always more optimistic than I when it came to our chances of actually conceiving.
For me, that fifth anniversary, when we gave each other the "gift" of IVF, has always stood out as a turning point in our lives. After more than two years of trying on our own to achieve a pregnancy and then being told by an Italian urologist that there was abosolutely no chance for natural conception (believe me, not everything sounds prettier in Italian) we had decided to take that big leap into the land of ART. Three years and three IVF cycles later, we finally got our miracle with an FET this past spring. As I type this post, I can feel our son's movements in my belly and I am busy trying to prepare myself for labor and motherhood. This eighth anniversary has brought us nearly full circle -- a circle that will be complete when our son is born.
And that brings us back to the shirt. I remember leaving that shirt at my mom's one time after a visit because I'd been dieting and working out and had lost a lot of weight and the shirt was just too big. Mom called me last year and said she's been cleaning out the room we always stay in and she'd found the shirt. She asked if she could give it to one of my cousins and part of me wanted to say go ahead. But, something inside of me said -- "no keep it. If I ever get pregnant I'll probably be able to wear it."
I'm not sure what made me feel that inkling of hope that day as I talked to my mom on the phone. But, I guess hope really does spring eternal even when we think there is no hope left.
During our dinner on Saturday night. We watched a little girl at a nearby table. She had Down's Syndrome. I told Greg about how I've thought about how our baby could be special like this girl (we opted out of testing) and we talked about how no matter what, we are so blessed by this baby and this pregnancy.
Even if it all ends tomorrow, I feel like it has all been worth it -- all the treatments, all the heartache, all the money -- because this pregnancy has been the happiest time of my life.