It's a year since our lightning strike.
(This post may have triggers. Mainly for me, but possibly for others too. If you don't want to read about pregnancy or see photos or video about it, best give it a miss.)
Counting her existence from her embryonic state, AJ has been part of our lives for more than a year, but we didn't know it until February 17th, 2014. It seems so astonishing now. That I was ignorant of something so important for about three whole weeks.
Other than actually peeing on the stick and seeing the result, here's what stands out for me most about that Monday. (It was Family Day in my province, appropriately enough.)
It was a cloudy day. Mr. Turtle and I were driving to an art gallery to pick up a poster of his that we had had custom framed. Since the house had been burgled a few weeks before, we were making a particular effort to decorate our space and "own" it again.
In the absence of a period, I'd been going back and forth on whether or not to take a pregnancy test. It was a toss up between (most likely) getting another BFN and the weirdness of not knowing for sure. As we were driving in the car, Roseanne Cash's song "50 000 Watts of Common Prayer" came on the radio. I'd never heard it before, but something about it stuck in my head and it fit my mood. As I listened to that song, I decided that yes, I would test when we got home. Something about it gave me resolve. Months later, when I looked up the song and the lyrics, I found them oddly appropriate to our journey.
Shockingly, when I took the test later that day it showed I was pregnant. I knew in that moment that whatever the outcome, life had changed irrevocably. And the rest is....history. The rest is the present moment, now.
We had our parents over for dinner that Monday evening. We had a fun time, but we didn't tell anyone. We would wait to have it confirmed by a doctor. By the next weekend all the family would know, although there would be no cute "reveals." The pregnancy was confirmed on a Thursday, and on Friday I had bleeding. My "announcement" was "I think I'm having a miscarriage. This is the worst weekend of my life." Then later: "Well, maybe not just yet, but it could go either way."
I still can't remember February 17th with unalloyed happiness, because of the chaos that followed and all the anxiety. And I can't go back in time and tell myself that it's OK, everything will be alright. But I wanted to acknowledge this day with something positive and beautiful.
Back at the beginning of October I mentioned that we had gone for a maternity photo shoot, and had a great experience. Because we waited till week 37, we didn't receive the photos until after AJ was born. They are beautiful, but at that point they were a bit of an anti-climax, so I didn't share them. I think that now is a good time to share them.
I did a photo montage with Cash's song. I also included a few other photos from the year, to fill things out. There's no way photos can tell a whole story, but Mr. Turtle likes to take photos of me with a funny looks on my face, not just smiles, so those symbolize the ambiguous feelings I experienced. He even took a photo of me with acupuncture needles.
I associate Johnny Cash with our honeymoon. On the day we arrived in Arizona, we drove north through the sunset, listening to "Ring of Fire" and other songs. I remember the saguaros silhouetted against the sky as we drove into the darkness and our unknown but exciting future. So it feels right to me that the song I associate with our daughter was written by Johnny Cash's daughter.
This is hardly my most polished media project, but I'm proud of myself for getting it done during AJ's naps!
And. If you watch all the way to the end, there is some very special video of me and AJ.
I wish for everyone that there is love in your future (and your present), too.
Now I think I'll put on the song and dance AJ around the room.