Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013, you were really, really hard.

My life is mostly filled with beauty and wonder and learning and, for the past five years, I've approached the new year with joy and excitement. Being a working at home mom has really suited me, and I continue to grow and am constantly fulfilled by the new life and work adventures I seek out. 2013 started off much like that.

I received notification that I was selected as one of the top 50 Idaho business women of the year, a prestigious award sponsored by the Idaho Business Review. It was a bit of a shock - I was nominated by a local female and had several stellar letters of recommendation, commenting on my work as a writer and historic preservationist. Most of my accomplishments listed were non-profit, volunteer, "mom-ish"and artsy - much different than my fellow awardees, who were more traditional professional business women. Even though I felt a bit out of place, I was proud to represent the non-traditional working woman - someone who works from home, counts being a mom as a really big, important job. I liked the idea that I was breaking the mold, somehow. The award ceremony was a really fun and fancy and held at the Riverside Hotel in Boise in February.

Apparently, also early in February (or maybe even late January, we'll never know) I accidentally got pregnant with my third baby. Thus began the explosion of my heart in 2013.

In early March I started to feel a bit funny, in that familiar, wonderful way. Overly weepy and sentimental, exhausted for no reason, and a severe aversion to fast food surprised me and sent me to the Rite-Aid for some pregnancy tests. With two daughters who were soon to be turning five and nine, we were "done." There were not supposed to be any more children, right? (Also: 37 YEARS OLD = advanced maternal age = complications.) I was oddly calm and ecstatic. It was SO meant to be. Two pink lines popped up, and I took about four tests to make certain. It was certain. I was certain.

In mid-March I was selected to participate in the first of a unique event called FEAST here in Boise put on by The Charm School. Here's how it works: the public is invited to attend the FEAST event, and pays $20 for a chef-made dinner and a ballot. During the meal, diners are presented with 10 artist projects vote for the project they would like to see funded. The presenters have 5 minutes and a Powerpoint presentation to sell their idea. At the end of dinner, the artist whose proposal receives the most votes wins much of the funds collected at the door—ideally $1000, depending on turnout. Creative genres of all kinds are accepted. I proposed a public picnic/celebration in the park on May 6, 2013 for International No-Diet Day, promoting Health At Every Size and body acceptance, something I feel very strongly about sharing with our local community, and our children. There were writers and actors, visual artists and singers, all proposing their unique projects be funded. The event was quirky and fun and ultimately, I didn't win, but felt positive about spreading a crucial message.

The next day I began the long, terrible, painful process of miscarrying my baby, somewhere around the 8th week of my pregnancy.

The next day I also found out that a diner at FEAST the night before had been writing horrid things about me and my body on Twitter, bashing not only me as a person, but the idea and movements I was promoting. Thus began the explosion of my mind in 2013.

The bigotry against me and my plus-sized quest for equality, kindness and respect continued onto Facebook later in the spring. This time, it came from women I considered friends and men I hardly knew. Thus continued the explosion of my heart and mind in 2013, as I continued bleeding for nine long weeks and spilling more tears than I ever thought possible.

I took a long summer break from Facebook and did some cathartic and needed "unfriending."

Eric and I decided that there indeed was a place in our family for another much wanted and already loved child, and conceived again sometime in June.

It was also in June that my beloved job as a monthly staff writer for Treasure Valley Family Magazine, an esteemed local publication that had been around for the past twenty years, ended. My publisher/editor/owner decided to retire and retire the mag along with her. I had to suddenly scratch the word "writer" off my occupation list, and it felt sad and wrong.

In July I discovered I was indeed pregnant, and was terrified and feeling so lucky.

In August the morning sickness turned into all day nausea and Eric turned forty and I was still SO LUCKY. And I was anxious for my first ultrasound to give me some peace of mind and to confirm that I was indeed carrying twins, which I already knew in my heart and soul. I could feel the blessings of two babies, even while I couldn't even get out of bed each day because GAWD, THE SICKNESS.

In September, on Labor Day weekend, I hemorrhaged a lot of blood and tissue and rushed to an early ultrasound. At eleven weeks, I had a very healthy baby, and I lost (presumably) a not-so-healthy one. It was a case of the rare not-so-vanishing-twin-syndrome. I should've still felt lucky and happy, but I felt so broken and grieved so hard. Losing two babies in 2013 was never part of my life plan, yet here I was, doing it. Surviving it.

The rest of the fall found me continuously vomiting and terribly ill, losing thirty pounds, diagnosed with placenta previa (but, it moved and cleared itself from high risk at the end of the year!), and living each day with fear and sadness. It was a most frightening first and second trimester, but baby boy (after two girls! WHA?!) was thriving.

And you know what? So was I.

I have been so, so grateful and happy and thriving, even. The year was filled with more wonder and joy that I didn't write about above, really, but these difficult major life events over-shadowed it all, if I am honest.

But, this has been our family motto for many years now.

I seriously thought about getting this tattooed on my hand in 2013, that's how hard a year this past one has been for me. But? I conquered/survived many hard things, and in most cases, I was surprised when my life changed for the better. Here's to power and hope in a new year.

(And a beautiful new baby boy to enter our life in March 2014!)


  1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story Amy! Cheers to 2014 and amazing things!

  2. Thank you, Jenny. And like you posted on Facebook, there are years that give us questions and there are years that give us answers. I believe that, too. I think 2014 holds more answers. xo Amy

  3. What a heart wrenching year, my dear. I truly hope that 2014 is your very best yet! <3

    1. Thank you so much, friend. Our friendship helps me get through the rough spots in life! -Amy

  4. Thank you you for your transparent and vulnerable words. Here's to 2014, though it will not be easy it will be rewarding and profoundly useful to our character. :) Maybe we can talk about the writing thing, I'm planning world domination and need cohorts. :)

    1. For certain! I'd love to talk writing. And, yes, everything happens for a reason - and it usually involved stepping up our game. Thanks for reading! -Amy

  5. Here's wishing you an extraordinary 2014! Cheers!

  6. Amy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article every month in TV Family and am so glad to have (remembered and) found your blog! You are still a writer to me, so keep it up! Last year sounds as if it was truly heartbreaking. Here's wishing that 2014 ROCKS! Wishing you all the best and a beautiful baby boy to top it off! As the mom of 3 boys, I do advise you to get ready for a wild, messy, chaotic ride that only boys can give us...but it's also fun, amazing, and teaches many things.

    1. Thank you for reading! I loved writing for TVFM, and am so glad some of my readers there are still following along via my blog! I am, in fact, planning to post some older stories from the mag here soon, so stay tuned! Congrats to you on becoming a mom or 3 and as I'm about to embark on this journey, I am excited and nervous. This girl-centered household is sure to get shaken up!

  7. Thanks for sharing and your vulnerability.

  8. I am glad your baby boy is doing well. Miscarriages are no fun--to put it mildly. After 10 years of waiting . . . we welcomed our second son in 2012. I was 42. I think anyone who has a baby later in life is incredibly tough and resilient. :)