It All Happened Here

 We have bought ourselves a new home.  We move the end of May and we will be leaving our teeny tiny apartment.  While I’m super stoked and beyond excited about this new place and all the joy it’s going to bring, there will always and forever be a place in my heart for this place we live in right now.

It all happened here.

My husband and I were married less than a year before moving in and we felt so lucky to have found this great place!  It’s right across from a CTA stop that leads downtown Chicago where we both work and has a park across the street.  It’s within walking distance to Lincoln Square and we’ve walked the hell outta that walk.  We have very nice neighbors and it’s a super family and dog friendly area.

From the get go when we moved in, from when we got married, we were trying to get pregnant.  At first just having fun with it, ya know?  And then eventually realizing that something might be wrong.  I mean, your whole adult life you try NOT to get pregnant and then bing bang boom in your late 30’s when you want to get knocked up, you can’t?  That seems cruel.

Such is life and you go about the business of trying to get pregnant.  The year leading up to your treatments you work your ass off to lose weight and get into fighting shape, the best shape you’ve ever been in.  You change your diet and change your life.  You lose 35 pounds.  You stop taking all your depression and anxiety meds that you’ve been on since you got sober.  This is terrifying as you don’t know what will happen, but together with your doctor you responsibly try it and you know what?  IT SUCKS.  It’s a hard process but you get through it.  You have to stop drinking so much damn coffee.  Really?  Yes.

But you still smoke.  You’ll keep smoking for a bit until the actual fertility treatments start, because you are an addict, and damn that smoke is the best thing in this gd world.  Your back stoop in the alley is your safe haven.  You get to step away and commune with the dumpster squirrels and the neighbors and drink in that sweet smokey goodness for as long as you can.

Then one day, you stop.  You finally stop and you aren’t out there anymore.  That major life event happened in this apartment.  You will never forget.

It all happened here.

The fertility treatments start.  You are poked and prodded and your husband bravely gives you shots every night.  You feel like shit and all you want to do is binge watch Brothers & Sisters – the entire series – and bawl your eyes out.  You don’t want to talk to anyone.  You don’t want to see anyone.  You don’t want to do anything.  But sit in your glorious apartment and let the drugs work their magic.  You go to the hospital 8479 times and you are thankful the train stop is right across the street.

The glorious day arrives where you get the blood test and they tell you that you may have a pinprick-sized baby inside you.  So you wait and you hope and you are so careful with your every movement.  You go to many AA meetings and you tell them and your family and they hope and wait with you and your husband and you just HOLD ON.

You continue on and you see a heartbeat and then you see two.  You go along for the next several months in disbelieving wonder that this is actually happening.  But it is.  And then that last month.  That last month when your husband has willingly left the marriage bed for you and is sleeping on the futon so your whale sized belly can comfortably (HA!) rest without him taking up the space that your giant pregnancy pillow needs in the bed.  That last month is hell.  IT IS SHEER HELL and you think it’s never ever going to end and you are so sick and so tired and so freaking terrified of what is ahead but really you just want it to be OVER.

It all happened here.

Then it happens.  You give birth to two perfect little humans and you bring them home.  You bring them into the home that you lovingly prepared for their arrival and even though they have a tiny little space, it is their space and it is our space and really, everything happens in a small area.  The small family area where one baby sleeps in the bassinet swing and the other in the rock n’ play that you rotate so they get to be in different spot.  You sleep on the futon right next to them for the first three months because you cannot stand to be more than a few feet away from them.  All those hours logged breastfeeding and pumping.  You thought it would never end.  It still hasn’t fully ended, but that period of time when two babies were completely nourished from JUST your body is over.  They were so little.  They were so precious.  They were so completely vulnerable.  They were so freaked out by this world they’ve been born into from their warm womb together.  You were terrified by all of it but you did it.  You made it through that first year and not only that, you all thrived.

It all happened here.

One day, your very best and loyal friend is gone.  He was there one day and gone the next and your heart will never recover from the loss.


It all happened here.

This past year, before the weather turned bitter cold and the long Winter hit, our babies weren’t walking.  And now, Spring has sprung and so have they.  They blossom when wandering and stretching their arms and legs and seeing all the world has to offer.  Our tiny little apartment has grown too small.  But I will always relish these months of closeness.  My husband can’t wait to move as we are all on top of each other.  As for me, there’s something bittersweet about more space.  While I’m grateful for the room, I’ll miss when everybody was within arm’s reach.

These are the days.  These are the days that were so tiring and so frustrating and so heartbreaking and so absolutely joyful and full of hope.  We have so much to look forward to, but we also have so much to remember.  All of it.

I can say I relished every moment.  I didn’t take any of it for granted.  It did go by fast, but I was fully present.  For that I am grateful.  We are ready to close this chapter, but we will never forget.

It all happened here.

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