I had a past life, one filled with gritty sidewalks and skyscrapers, where I was lulled to sleep night after night by the sounds of traffic and sirens and chatter. I spent eight intense years in New York City. I arrived as a 21 year old girl, eager to discover my path, to toughen up, to find my soulmate. Many of those years I spent searching, happiness only coming in ebbs and flows, while I learned to live with loneliness and uncertainty.
I met him after 6 years in the city, in the breezeway of the publishing company we both worked for. He swept me off my feet. Together we softened the edges of this harsh city, created a vision for our lives and soothed each other’s fears. After two years together, we said goodbye to the city we both loved, the city that pummeled us time and again, but also built us into the people we wanted to be. We packed our apartments and moved to Philadelphia where he attended business school, before finally finding our way to the sunshine out west.
This past weekend we returned to the city we left four years ago. We visited our old company, ate at our favorite east village spots, and walked those familiar streets while we reminisced. Returning felt surreal and odd, everything the same and different all at once. In our minds we were going back in time, a time when the word miscarriage wasn’t a part of our daily lexicon, a time when we hadn’t yet been pierced by the constant stab of grief, a time when we lived happily in our assumptions about the way our lives would go. For one long weekend, I could feel like none of our sadness had happened.
And so we reflected. About where we were four years ago while in the daily city grind and where we are today. We focused on all the positive turns our life had taken since leaving. We had gotten married. My husband got his MBA from one of the top business schools in the world and then went on to secure a job at a top consulting firm. And we had created a beautiful home in a beautiful neighborhood where the sun always shines. We could come to NYC and do a victory lap, and circle the city older, wiser, and again toughened up in new ways.
But of course, you can’t shake the emotions that your history has caused to inhabit your body. I had a handful of friends to catch up with, all with newborns or fresh bumps. I spent three hours holding and cooing a 9 week old to sleep as my old roommate and I caught up, then ran to meet another friend for dinner who passed up the wine list before sharing her news. I went to sleep that night exhausted and tear-streaked.
I had a friend, 4 months pregnant, tell me she discovered she had a uterine septum and was hypothyroid right after she got pregnant. The same exact two issues that I have, that we’ve assumed caused our miscarriages. Although I know she’s still at risk, and I hope and pray she carries to full term, I couldn’t help but feel a rage build up inside of me as we talked about it. Parallel issues, but me with repeat losses and a flat belly. Her, four months pregnant with no losses and a tiny bump full of promise.
We attended a wedding in Brooklyn, on a rainy evening at the boathouse at Prospect Park. The sun poked through for just enough time to carry on with the outdoor ceremony. I thought back to our own wedding day. So much optimism and hope that imbues you on that day. I looked at the newlyweds thinking just how little awareness we have on our wedding days of the heartache and struggles that we will end up facing. It made me sad.
I’m looking forward to returning home to LA, to pick back up on our journey to having a baby. Revisiting my past life has helped me take inventory of our current life, with all the texture the ups and the downs have brought to us. While single and young in NYC I would fantasize about having the life I have now, yearning to fall in love, to start a new life in a sunny city, near family and palm trees. To live with the rock solid love of my life. To no longer face life’s struggles alone.
The life I envisioned and hoped for while walking the streets of NYC has come true. All it took was patience and grit. It gives me hope that our California wishes will come to us, in time, with that same resilience we learned so well in New York.