Aches and Pains ~ Living a Full Circle Life in Gratitude

We had a full circle moment on Sunday that I couldn’t help but share here.

It was 2014. We were 6 months into the year and just found out that our 2nd IUI attempt had failed. (We did 3 IUIs that year… none of them worked and each seemed to break us more and more). This particular time it was a beautiful Friday in early June when we got the call with the blood work results from our fertility clinic.

“I’m so sorry to have to tell you, but you’re not pregnant, Christy…” the nurse said in her gentlest voice across the line.

I remember being heartbroken and in denial the first time we got this call (after 5 years of getting that same answer in the form of at-home pregnancy tests month after month), but this time I skipped over the shock and denial – and jumped right to feeling angry. (You know those stages of grief? You go through them monthly with infertility.) So we decided to hit up our nearest sunny patio for some burgers, beers and bloody Mary’s to drown our sorrows. We sat in the corner of the outdoor patio and saw family after family come in to enjoy lunch with their little ones. Each child that took their seat next to their parents was like another twist of a knife in our chests. James was trying to make a joke out of it and we did our best to make fun of our situation and laugh at life. We posted this crappy selfie to my Instagram account to let those following our story know our IUI hadn’t worked. We said something about sticking our tongues out at life and bloody Mary’s fixing everything. We tried to be lighthearted, but I knew we had kept our sunglasses on because we didn’t want people to see the true hurt in our eyes. Inside my chest – my heart was actually physically aching. •••


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Fast forward to this past Sunday, when we took the boys to that same sunny patio for an impromptu lunch. It wasn’t until we were partway into our lunch (after Micah he already poured my water into his lap AND knocked over my nearly still full beer not long after) – when I suddenly remembered that moment 3 years ago. How badly we had ached to be one of those families enjoying a messy and beautiful meal with our family in the sun that day.

And now, here we were.

The boys were so happy to be out… their little toes free of shoes, feet dangling from their high chairs and toes wiggling in the unseasonably warm spring air. They kept randomly yelling baby babble gibberish and smiling, clearly happy to be out of the house. James and I smiled across the table at each other as we managed the chaos at the table throughout our meal (that is now our everyday life). My heart no longer ached – but instead felt so full it could burst. I took a deep breath as I remembered that time three years ago (and many painful times between then and now). I blinked hard as I felt tears of gratitude burning the back of my eyes.

James said he doesn’t always remember those moments from our years of struggle. He’s so in the moment now that he often forgets the specifics of past years. I will mention, “Remember the last time we were here?” and the memories will come rushing back to him… but they don’t sit as fresh in his mind as they do for me.

For some reason, my memories of that time feel like they happened yesterday. The pain so fresh – the aching so real – that I still feel it in my everyday existence now. The only difference is that those pains and aches turn into pains for how quickly the days are flying by, and the aching turns into yearning for moments that I’m currently in – knowing it is only a matter of time until I will miss these simple days where the most we worried about was how well they slept, and cleaning up the trails of crumbs left behind them.

I’m grateful for those years of aches and pains though, because it is in these full circle moments and even just everyday moments that I live in a state of heightened gratitude because of what we went through. I’m able to soak in even the most difficult of days and most exhausted moments because we are just so thankful to be in them with these two.

And I know that some day years down the road (and in the blink of an eye all at once), we will be preparing them to leave for college and will return back to that same sunny patio for lunch. My heart will ache and I’ll remember that day when they were just year-old babies in high chairs – tipping over my beer on a Sunday afternoon and yelling baby gibberish into the wind.


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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!