From Living Brave. . . Finishing Strong
Amy, 37, and in the second quarter of life, answers the question:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE PRESENTLY? DO YOU WANT MORE? WHY?
As I reflect on my twenties and my thirties so far, I realize I am a very decisive person. I know myself well and don’t worry much about comparing myself to others. And when I decide I’m going to do something, like go back to school or leave a phenomenal job to stay home with my daughter, I do it. My motto has always been to “live the life you’ve imagined,” but I’ve found what I imagined is constantly shifting. I think part of being an adult is realizing we can’t plan too much because some things are out of our control and the unexpected can happen at any turn.
Do I want more? Today, I feel like my husband and I have more than we could have ever imagined. But I can’t ignore that, if you had asked me the same question a year ago, I would have expressed sadness and frustration about trying to have a second child and a sibling for our older daughter. Although we feel so blessed and fortunate to have our newborn, Avery, I will always carry with me some of the loss and hardships we went through on our parenthood journey. My pregnancy with our older daughter was a healthy and easy one. It was all new and it has been such a blessing in our lives to welcome her into our family and to have her as the first grandchild on both sides. However, the path toward having a sibling for Skylar was an extremely bumpy one. We even gave up and were sure we would never try again.
Over the course of four years, we had three painful miscarriages. Two of the miscarriages were extremely scary and physically exhausting for me because I had a rare type of pregnancy that resulted in gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). Abnormal cells grow in the uterus as a result of GTD and I had several surgeries and several months of chemotherapy injections as a result to shrink the tissue and to get the cells back to normal. At one point when the tissue growth didn’t seem to be responding to treatment after my most recent miscarriage, our doctor expressed to us that we weren’t in a good place. Our hopes for a second child seemed crushed.
When we moved to New York last spring, I was curious about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and scheduled appointments with specialists at Columbia University in Manhattan. At that time, both an oncologist and high-risk OB made me feel confident the odds were in our favor of having a normal and healthy pregnancy. And, if we didn’t have a normal pregnancy, they assured me treatment would begin right away to eliminate abnormal cell growth. My husband and I made the decision to try once more despite our fears of another loss and scary tissue growth. Were we crazy to try again? What would our families think? But we focused on the positive—the doctor had told us she believed we had a ninety percent or higher chance of having a normal pregnancy.
This time, everything was perfect and healthy. At six weeks pregnant, we were able to confirm a healthy embryo and I received extra ultrasounds and checkups as our daughter grew and grew. She was born on July 20, 2019. Along with the birth of our older daughter, it was the most unbelievable and magical day we’ll ever experience.
Avery is three months old now and she is so sweet and beautiful. By being open to this new experience that brought our family to New York and by focusing on the best-case-scenario, we have our second daughter with us today. It was so exciting to share with our families and friends that we had a healthy pregnancy after all of the bumps and hardships we’d experienced during four years of trying.
One final thing I want more of is to live in the moment during this quarter of my life. I often get ahead of myself and think about the next phase of our lives and what that will look like. But, I want to really soak up all of these sweet, silly, busy, and snuggly days with our two daughters. Skylar is so much fun. She is a smart and chatty child and keeps us on our toes with all of her questions and energy. She is observant and focused like my husband, but also outgoing and open to new things like me. But she’s herself, and that has been the best part of watching her grow up for the last six years. She’s already living her life with joy and wonder, so my husband and I have to always remember to live ours that way as well. So, that can mean more school for me, time out with our friends, or a trip without our daughters. We have tried to maintain ourselves, even though some days we really lose ourselves in parenting and working. Today, I can confidently say life in our thirties can be exhausting, but also so rewarding. These tiny voices and sounds that fill our house are more than we could have ever hoped for.