It seems crazy to me that two years have passed since our amazing heart journey. I remember reflecting last year so much on how much that experience scarred me. At the time, I felt proud of it. I was proud of the journey I had gone through, and what we struggled with to overcome. Now? All I really want to do is forget it. Sometimes milestones aren't as uplifting as people think they may be.
I'm still proud of the strength that journey brought to my marriage. I'm still amazed at the beautiful little boy that burst his way through such darkness to bring us hope. I'm still proud that we didn't give up. I'm glad for it, kind of. Really, though, I would sweep it from my mind if I could.
It's not fun to still feel afraid. PMS rolls around and I worry that a normal bloat is a recurrence. Fatigue and heart palpitations come and I panic. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and feel a weight on my chest and worry it's fluid. I get a chest cold that makes it difficult to breathe and I cry. It floods back so quickly, and I come back to those moments so easily. Will I ever, ever get over that? Will that small bit of PTSD always live with me?
It's no secret that Jason and I are nearing the time that we want to expand our family again. We've talked about it in great detail, and there are only a few things currently standing in our way to jump with full force hoping to give Ethan a brother (or sister-but fingers crossed for another boy. Something I never thought I'd say!) Some of those factors are a few practical, lifestyle things. Things that are lining up nicely, given just a bit more time. One thing, though?
We have spoken with all of my doctors and specialists over the past few months, and all of the opinions are the same. It is absolutely safe to try to conceive whenever we like, and we have absolutely no reason to believe that my second pregnancy will be like my first. We've been given top-notch reassurance and encouragement to not look back in our journey to a larger family. The only problem is I'm not always a very good listener. Am I still worried that another crazy fluke may happen again? Absolutely. This time is even more worrisome because not only do I have myself and a future child to worry about, but I have Ethan to worry about too. I worry about how he would be impacted if that tsunami of horrible events swallowed us whole again.
Those memories are not easy. They never seem to get easier. It isn't getting easier to talk about, it isn't getting easier to remember, it remains at the same, stable, completely emotional state it has been in since I felt it in the moment two years ago today. I find myself to be so thankful to be in the company of people that don't know our story. They see Ethan has a fun-loving, flirtatious toddler and not know a thing. To not have to discuss what a miracle his presence is can sometimes be relieving. Not because I don't want people to know what a miracle he is, but I want people to focus on who he is now. I want people to see him for the amazing little boy he is, and not just how he came to be. His grand entrance doesn't define him.
It's funny how your point of view can shift on the same subject matter in a year. Last year, I was feeling a bit triumphant over it all. This year, I see now why so many people want their scars to fade, or disappear. The values I developed and the lessons I learned will not leave me just because a scar fades. I won't forget what I came through to get here, but I'd really love to forget the emotion that went along with it. I'd really love it to become a distant memory, rather that overwhelm me so easily. I vividly remember conversations that were had, tears that were shed, hands that were held in those first few days and during the first surgery. I can still feel the place that the draining tubes ran, and it still hurts. I vividly remember every moment of that first surgery. There's nothing I'd love more than to forget those things.
I remember saying last year about how much I had learned that the ugly parts mattered. The painful moments matter too. They do matter, and I still believe that, but I often wish those ugly parts would fade a bit easier. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we let the ugly overshadow the beautiful. The ugly rears its horrible face and reminds you what it was like to be in the middle of the storm, instead of on the other side. So while last year I felt achievement that we had finally survived the worst year ever, this year I find myself disappointed that it has not become as much of a distant memory that I hoped it would be.