When I returned from Ireland, I saw them ready to start again, from the beginning. Once again came the shots, the cost, and the trips for the In Vitro, with the retrieval and the implantation. They tried again with the love and the hope we all held for them. This time they would be successful. This time they would have the baby they deserved.
This time was different and this time it was going to work. Again she saw her numbers rise with each phone call and it was a positive pregnancy test. Miracles were indeed possible. Again she began to fill with fluid, having to get it drained multiple times. Once more, as she appeared several months pregnant at only one or two, we saw the process begin again, but this time we watched the whole thing progress toward a brand new outcome.
Just prior to this, she’d written a piece about the struggles they’d gone through, for the fertility clinic’s website. I was honoured when she asked me to read it over for her. All who would read it would cry as she described the suffering she’d gone through and what amazing perseverance they had both shown to get through it all. She wanted this as much for her husband, who wanted so much to be a father, as she’d ever wanted it for herself. It was difficult reading about how badly she wanted to give her love a child of his own to love. She spoke about it all with such raw truth and honesty. I knew I would do whatever I could, be there for her, and one day it would pay off.
She showed up at my door, after one of her early appointments at the clinic: nauseous, holding a bowl, and rushing to the toilet. This was a violent reminder that things were on track. I was around and able to sit with her during the days, when others could not. I watched her continue on in this state, for weeks and weeks. This would be the last Christmas she would be without that precious child she longed for. I needed to look after her and that sweet baby so sorely wished and waited for, which now grew inside her. As she suffered with this extreme bout of weakness and nausea, she knew, and we constantly would remind her of the worthwhileness of it all. It’s easy, in a way, to fight through just about anything, when such wonderful things are to come out of it.
As the news of twins was announced and then the news that one alone showed up on the ultrasound, it was devastating, but how could we be sad when there was a baby to look forward to? Yet still the loss of that second baby, a precious human life and sibling, was a loss just the same.
The pregnancy soon resumed an overall normal state. My sister was able to experience everything other mothers-to-be take for granted, even if she’d experienced things a little backwards. Moderate morning sickness for some is a nine month ordeal for others. I learned a lot about pregnancy by observing its affects firsthand through my sister and sister-in-law during that time. My limited experience with these things had come, previously, from television and books, but this was my family and the people I loved. Infertility was such a lesson that I had never known. The loss of miscarriage and negative pregnancy tests was so heartbreaking that I wondered how anybody ever recovered, but I soon saw that it was indeed possible. that light would and did shine again.
My niece and nephews are that light. Our Reed is that light. As he grows, I am introduced to a whole new world of first’s and joys. As an aunt, it is my greatest honour to get to watch the children in my family grow. He is a miracle for certain, with his beautiful blue eyes that will undoubtedly someday win girls’ hearts everywhere. It reminds me of an Amy Sky song:
As he passes his first birthday and the milestones begin to pile up, I am surprised how fast the time really does fly by. He has developed a personality and highly evident characteristics. My niece is a year and a half ahead of him in the transformation of childhood; her baby brother makes three. I look ahead to their futures and I treasure every moment I get to be witness to all these things, as I see them with the other four senses I still possess.
I had a lack of prior babysitting experience that one often accumulates during the teenage years. Most parents might not have been all that eager to leave me alone with their children and I had no confidence in myself to want that anyway, but I did miss something of value in just such a hobby as a teenager. I am finally given the opportunity to prove myself just as capable as anyone else. I’ll admit that the diaper changes aren’t my area of expertise, not that such things are impossible. I am given a chance to learn from these little people, just as they learn themselves, that to give up on things one wants isn’t really an option.
My siblings give me the opportunities I need to learn how to take care of the children that, undoubtedly are more important than themselves. They have always known me as their blind sister second, and simply their sister first. I am Auntie Kerry to their children. I hope to give my niece and nephews things in life, to demonstrate to them important lessons of value that other children might not receive, about perseverance. The outlook that it is possible to triumph against anything that might be standing in their way. That there is more to people than at first glance, to be discovered if only one gives it a chance.
As my nephew grew, he became a little boy with his own voice and his own personality. I wanted him to know me, to see me often enough that I am one of those people he can always count on seeing, to be there for him. For young children, familiarity is key. I intended, from the beginning, to be there always and forever. From the very start I would be someone who was present in his life – all he’s ever known.
All that work it took to get him here with us and we never forget. As he grows and learns, the experience I’ve gained this past year has been invaluable. I have a comfort with children that I’ve never before had. Just as I’ve stumbled and received bumps and bruises along the way, falling and learning how to get right back up again, he’s also received these lessons. I watch and protect him as if he’s my own, my sister’s most prized gift. I would give my life for that kid and I like to think we’re buddies. He looks at me as a playmate and a pal, someone he can count on, and I hope he always will.
When he grabs a hold of my fingers and we walk…when he laughs out loud at something I do – I store those moments away in my mind and heart. I am blown away by the miracles of modern medicine and what it can get us. It’s amazing where we started out and how far science has come. Those long gone from our lives, ones we’ve loved, would be amazed at what has taken place and the sweet child we now love. He’s here with us and I hold him close and feel him breathe when he is sleeping in my arms. I thank the nurses, doctors, and technicians for their dedication to achieving this most precious outcome. His tiny fingers in mine – that is perfect happiness to me. The sound of his voice and his giggle is the sweetest sound and purity personified.
As we come full circle and he is taking his first steps, we eagerly await with anticipation the new words he begins to speak. I feel sad when I realize he’s growing up before our very eyes and I will miss rocking him to sleep when he is too big to be rocked. Time doesn’t stand still, but it gives me hope for anything – that all is possible, That you just never know what’s around the corner. Something so sweet that was once not here is now a part of our lives and the world is inconceivable any other way. The children in my life are gifts, more precious than gold. I see them not with my eyes, but with everything else in me and with all I have to give them of myself, and always will.
“Where there was weakness I found my strength, all in the eyes of a boy.”
Originally posted within a few weeks of me starting this blog, I had written this essay for a writing competition. I did not win and then I decided to publish it here.
I decided to practice my editing skills and have split it into two parts. The first part I posted just the other day, on my nephew’s birthday.
My nephew, the subject of this essay, turned three years old this week. It’s incredible and unbelievable, all at once. He is growing up so fast.
I have posted the second part on this Throw-Back Thursday, because I want to look back and see how far we’ve come, while I remind myself that the hard times can seem like they will never end. I know better times and things are possible.