Dear 2022,

Last year I wrote a letter to your predecessor, so I thought it only fair to address you too. It’s taken me well over a week to wrap my head around how I feel about you. And honestly, I’m still not sure I can definitively say. Somehow you managed to be the best and worst year of my life. 

You started off with a bang, and right off the bat I knew you were going to be my year. On January 15th, at 39 years old and after taking hundreds (if not thousands), I got my first ever second line on a pregnancy test. I’m sure you recall my elation as the line got darker the second day. But, as you remember, that was a short-lived period of joy, because less than a week later you teamed up with Mother Nature and stole it from me. 

I cried every day for at least a month. I thought I was getting the lowest point of the year out of the way early. If only…

I’ll breeze through the next few months, because they read like a broken record:

  • February 23rd – Failed cycle…but I was coming off of a miscarriage, so everyone was telling me “don’t be so hard on yourself – give your body time.” (something I was quickly running out of)
  • March 28th – I was met with another failure 3 days before turning 40. Honestly, aging has never bothered me, but this was probably the hardest birthday of my life. 
  • April 11th – My body was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing every month. It seemed to be responding to all the drugs perfectly, it just couldn’t get the job done. It was time to try something new – IUIs.  The doctor said that my insurance would not cover them, so he would only let me try 3 cycles before deeming it unsuccessful. I was filled with such hope that this would finally be it. 
  • April 29th – Joke was on me.
  • May 17th – IUI #2 – Numbers were lower, but you never know…it just takes one lucky swimmer! 
  • June 1 – No dice. I would get one more chance, and by now I had lost count of what cycle we were even on.
  • June 10 – HSG Day- We spent our 16th anniversary getting a very painful procedure (for which they do not administer any type of pain relief) on the off chance that it just MIGHT boost fertility for our last IUI.
  • June 20th – This was the day of my final IUI. It was time to come to terms with what “the end” of this journey would look like.

I know I glossed over those 5 months in just a few sentences. Part of me feels like I didn’t do them justice. I know, as time always does, you kept marching forward, dragging me along with you. In the grand scheme of things, it probably felt like you just blinked your eyes and it was over. Meanwhile, I was hanging on for dear life while slowly losing myself. I didn’t know how to hang my hat on the idea of never having a family. 

And then came July. Two days into the month I was, once again, met with a faint second line. By the 4th of July it had become dark and obviously positive while bloodwork every few days proved that things were progressing as they should. 

On July 25th we heard two heartbeats. This day will forever be ingrained in my mind. “This is how it ends,” I thought. It turns out I jumped the gun on that one. You weren’t finished with me yet. 

Because August was right around the corner – the true low point of the year. In a matter of months you stole a second baby from me. Another baby my arms will never hold and, what stung even more, the fact that my sweet Jude will never know his twin. My only solace, and the one thing I still cling to, is the fact that the only thing that baby ever knew was my own heartbeat. 

I still don’t know how to describe the weeks and months following that loss. I have never been so happy, devastated, confused, and worried all at the same time. I desperately needed to keep this second baby alive, and every day became a milestone. I say that as if it has changed. Though I have graduated to “weeks” now, I still count each one as a win. 

It feels as if you finally let me start breathing towards the end. Maybe you were just getting old and tired and didn’t feel like keeping up the fight. Perhaps, through perseverance, I proved myself to you, or perhaps you were just seeking your own redemption. Whatever the case may be, you earned it. 

When I am at the end of my life looking back, 2022, you will bring a smile. You are the year that brought me my son – the child I’ve yet to meet, but already know better than anyone in the entire world. 

I don’t know what the afterlife looks like for you, but I hope somehow you’re able to enjoy your retirement while still keeping an eye on me, so that in a few short weeks you can smile and see what you started. 

Forever grateful, 

Stephanie

**If you came here looking for an update, I don’t have a ton to share. Everything still looks great with Jude. We have frequent appointments with both my OB and my high risk doctor, and they keep assuring me that he couldn’t be more perfect. Other than the normal risks that come along with my age, my iron remains the only issue. It’s still way too low and the infusions didn’t make a difference. At this point, my doctor gave me some things to look out for in the meantime, and said he would be prepared to do a blood transfusion at delivery. 

Other than that, we are anxiously counting down the days. At most, we are eight weeks away from holding our son for the first time. We start non-stress testing in a couple weeks, so realistically, it could be even sooner! How is that possible?! 

(one. nine. twenty-three)

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