This morning I texted Cory to say "a year ago this morning I was awakened by a contraction!"
Cory is in Washington, DC on business; he left early Tuesday morning and comes home tonight. Before he left, I was worried I wasn't going to be able to get all of the prep for Ivy's first birthday party done, on top of normal making-dinner and doing-chores stuff all alone. But that part has worked out just fine; I just miss him. I've been melancholy for the past couple of days, partly because of all of the terrible things that have been happening in the news lately, and partly because of this crazy milestone that's imminent and bringing up all kinds of memories and feelings.
I actually have been left with pretty decent memories of the NICU. I'm grateful for that, because I've been reading back in my blog posts and of course it's bringing back memories of how overwhelmed I was, and how scared for Ivy and her future; and I'm glad that most of the icky feelings associated with the NICU have faded a bit. I think the most powerful memory that I have of last year around this time is the moment I finally made it to Ivy's room after being stuck in the hospital where I gave birth, waiting for blood transfusions for three days. I dropped all my bags on the floor and ran to her bed and just sobbed. It's a very vivid memory.
Today last year was the culmination of so many things. It was the end of my pregnancy, and going into labor I wasn't nearly as uncertain and worried as I thought I might be. The pain came and I worked through it. And my memory of the days before is peaceful - gentle reflection and gentle anticipation.
It also marked the culmination of the raw, close pain of infertility and the IVF process. It wasn't the end of the total pain of infertility, I think that will always have a little place inside of me that gently reminds me of its existence here and there. I was telling someone the other day that I will be happy to stop marking IVF anniversaries and start marking Ivy's anniversaries. Another reason it will never fully go away is that, whether I like it or not, we are likely done having babies. I sometimes think about how it'd be awesome to be able to do this all again, to feel the excitement and fatigue and closeness-to-another-being of pregnancy, to feel more like I know what I'm doing with a newborn, to have another breastfeeding relationship with a little one, to give Ivy a sibling to play with and fight with, to hopefully be able to fulfill the after-birth part of my birth plan where I get to check out the placenta and enjoy brand-new-baby-bonding-time and take my baby home sooner than 17 days after birth.
But none of it matters right now - Cory will be home tonight, we will get to cuddle in bed as a family, and then tomorrow we get to celebrate our little miracle. <3