The last decade has been packed full. My life changed in so many ways. I guess in 10 years that’s to be expected, but gosh… it’s quite the look back!
I’m guessing that many readers are in the same boat when they look back at this decade. We are in the childbearing years and have babies and young children. The decade that brings about your family is going to be a big one with some major changes.
In 2010 my husband and I made a big move from Ohio to Maryland. We were just dating at the time, and had only even been living in the same state as each other for less than a year. Before that we’d been dating long distance and traveling to visit each other. When we finally made the move to be together, we lived together immediately since that is what made the most sense when both moving out of state.
During that year I broke my tailbone and ended up on long term disability and had to quit my job. In 2010 we needed to make a change as a result of my lost income.
My husband found a job in Maryland and we made the move. This decade started off as a bit of a blank slate for us in a new state with new opportunities ahead.
I decided that the move was a good time for me to make a career change. I was working as a process engineer, but for the longest time I’d wanted to pursue a career in teaching. Now was the time.
I went back to school and earned my masters degree in teaching. I also took a part time job in the evenings during this time just to get some supplemental income. I did my teaching certifications and became certified in teaching the secondary level. I passed my chemistry exams and was all set to teach high school chemistry.
Before finishing my masters degree, I found a great job teaching high school chemistry- exactly what I’d wanted. It was quite the career shift, and I loved every second of it.
My husband and I worked long hours. He was working at an amazing golf course as an assistant superintendent. He was taking it all in, learning as much as he could, and working towards advancing his career to a superintendent position.
I was finishing my degree and teaching at the same time. I was creating lesson plans and grading, and studying. It made for long nights. My husband would often get off of work and come to the school to help me out.
We’d then work on planning out my teaching lessons for the next day, grab dinner somewhere, and then drive home (in two cars). Eventually, we made the switch to carpooling and I’d get up early with my husband and get to the school before the sun was up. One car in the evenings was much more convenient!
In 2011, during this busy time in our lives, we also decided to get married. Joe proposed to me on Valentine’s day, and we were married exactly one month later on 3-14-11. We went to the courthouse and decided to have a “white dress” ceremony a year later in 2012 to celebrate with our close family and friends.
With our jobs being about an hour away, we decided to move in closer and purchase our first home. We bought a townhouse and settled in.
At that point we decided we were ready to start the process of having a family. We tried to conceive for 1.5 years. We had to seek out fertility help. With fertility help we conceived on the first try!
During my pregnancy, my husband took a new job and assumed his first position as the head superintendent at a golf course. Now, instead of him coming to my job to help out, I was headed to him after work most days to join him in his new adventure and long hours.
We welcomed Caroline into the world in November of 2014. At that time we both agreed that instead of going back to work, I’d stay home with her.
Transitioning to a stay at home mom was relatively easy for me. I love being a mom and it just felt right. I decided when Caroline was a few months old that I needed a hobby, however- and this blog was born. I became so passionate about baby sleep needs and using schedules. I loved writing about it and it gave me something to call mine.
When Caroline was 2 years old, we decided it was time to try and have another baby. We knew we wanted two children, and we also knew it might take some time to conceive again. The first month that we tried, however, we were successful!
Many of you know that this second pregnancy, however, ended with our daughter April Rey dying. She had full trisomy 13, and we made the agonizing choice to let her go early. She was alive for 11 minutes. This is the hardest thing that my husband and I have been through. The loss of a child can rip you apart. Luckily, we only grew stronger.
The loss impacted us greatly, however. Caroline struggled with it (and still does), and we had hard times for awhile. Our grief took over for a bit and we had to really stay strong and help one another through this difficult time.
We said hello and goodbye to April in August of 2017. At that point, we tried to let fate take its course. We didn’t prevent pregnancy and just tried to let it happen whenever the right time was. I knew full well I’d never be fully “ready” again.
It didn’t happen.
When I realized we were having difficulties again, we sought out fertility help. It felt horrible going through the motions though. I hated every step of the process because my grief and longing for April to be in my arms was so raw.
In the spring of 2018 I became pregnant for the third time after two fertility cycles. It was a rough pregnancy. All of my pregnancies were rough, quite honestly. The first I was on bed rest pretty early on and in a ton of pain. I ended up having cholestasis and was induced early.
The second, I was on daily injections for something called antiphospholipid syndrome, and then our baby died.
The third pregnancy I was an emotional wreck from losing our child, I still had antiphospholipid syndrome and had to do daily injections in my stomach, and I was again induced early for cholestasis that was off the charts this time.
During this pregnancy, we decided to move. We were living in a two bedroom townhouse and we just knew we didn’t want our children sharing a room. We couldn’t prioritize sleep the way we wanted to in that house.
In addition to just wanting more bedrooms, I needed space. I needed to be away from the hustle and bustle. I needed peace and quiet. My grief had taught me that I needed outside space to connect with April. I needed quiet space that was just for my family. Some place to slow down and really take in the quiet surrounds.
My husband found the perfect place in our search. We lost a house that we put an offer in on, and I am so thankful. My husband found me the space I needed. It was a piece of land- 1.8 acres that we were going to build a house on. It was perfect.
Here I am today sitting in my office on this amazing piece of land. I feel so connected to April in this house, and I know that had she not died, we wouldn’t be here. She brought us here.
William was born a few months after we moved into this new house, in December of 2018.
2019 was our year to just focus on our family. We did just that. Caroline turned 5 and William just turned 1.
Somewhere along the way, right after April was born, I started making money on my blogging hobby. It gave my hobby a bigger sense of purpose and I’ve been trying to balance life as more of a work at home mom, although very part-time. It’s something I want to prioritize, however.
In 2019 I started a second blog, in April’s honor, and I published my first book about baby sleep. I’ve started a few more projects and am excited to see where 2020 is going to take me with this “hobby” of mine.
This decade brought me a marriage, two houses, three new careers (teaching, being a stay at home mom, and now my blogging journey), two new jobs for my husband, 3 dogs, and 3 children.
I’ve seen first hand how strong my family is. To make it through the loss of a child, and for our daughter the loss of a sibling, it takes a LOT. I think it either rips you apart, or makes you stronger. We’ve become so strong. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves along the way, and I know that we can handle anything life throws at us.
This decade was jam packed full of life changes. It went fast. It went slow. It was a blur at times. I can’t honestly even imagine a decade that could be more incredible and more difficult all at the same time.
At the end of this next decade, Caroline will be 15. Oh my heart. I just can’t even think of it. I know that one of the amazing things about raising kids is seeing them grow. Seeing them shine and gain their independence. But gosh, I am nowhere near ready for 15 to come.
I hope that over this next decade I can remember that slow down that I wanted after April died. I hope I can channel that slow down and peacefulness that I longed for, and really make it continue to happen.
I hope I can focus on all of the small amazingly wonderful moments, because those are the things we really cherish. Normal every day life- living it with the ones I love. When someone is taken from you, you realize how important those every day little things in life really are.
We gained a family motto during this decade. “We Stick Together.”
We do everything together. As you read above we used to help each other at work, commute together, etc. We grocery shop together. We run errands together. We do bedtimes together. We make dinner together. We help each other always and no one has “jobs” in this family. We stick together through it all. We could probably be more efficient without sticking together all the time, but we prioritize staying together and cherish it.
Caroline reminded us of this one evening when we were taking William to the emergency room. It just didn’t make sense for her to come since it was past her bedtime, so I was planning on taking him myself and having her and my husband stay home. She looked at us and said “We stick together.” She proceeded to explain all the benefits for the evening if we all went. And so we all went.
I’ll never forget that moment. We stick together. No matter what. Even through the downpours. Even through the impossible. We stick together.
We’ll stick together through the next decade and the one after that. I hope we have many more decades to come.