2012 in Review
On New Year’s Day, while Olivia napped and I recovered from the stomach flu, I took a bath and reflected on all that had transpired in 2012. As I sat there thinking and praying, I was overcome with gratitude for how far God had brought Jared and me. As 2011 closed, we felt a bit discouraged. Jared had experienced a few closed doors professionally and was trying to trust God to bring him the right job that meshed more of his gifts and his priorities. I was growing weary of the wait for a baby and wondering if we would ever move beyond our “watching and waiting” season of life.
Oh, what a difference a year makes!
When I found another pocket of time to journal, I decided to catalog the year of 2012 so that I could see more of the timeline of where and how God worked in our lives. It was so rewarding that I hope to do this every year—even the years that finding God’s fingerprints may seem a bit more difficult. Not only was it encouraging for me to look back and see God’s hand in our lives, but I also enjoyed documenting our year to review again someday.
- I started 2012 by celebrating my mom’s birthday in Orlando. While there, Jared received a call from his headhunter telling him of a job that looked like a perfect fit in of all places: Cincinnati (where I grew up and where my parents currently live).
- We took a vacation in the Bahamas where Jared spent much of the time preparing for his upcoming interviews and I spent my time praying for our future, including my deep desire for a baby.
- We spent the rest of the month praying, hoping, and waiting on what God may have for our future.
- We traveled back to Cincinnati for more interviews for Jared. We waited, talked, prayed and continued our lives in Chicago until we heard more definitive answers. We’d been down this road before.
- My heart still longed for a baby and Jared and I talked frequently about how, if things worked out for his job, maybe it wasn’t the right time to be pregnant with all of the packing, moving and transitioning.
- On February 27th, while we worked out at the gym down the street, Jared received the call offering him the job. That night we began the preparations to move quickly as Jared was asked to start in his new position three weeks later.
- I began the month by touring over twenty homes in Cincinnati with my mom looking for the right neighborhood and house for us to live.
- I returned home to attend a baby shower for one of my best friends and asked God to tenderly care for my vulnerable heart as I so wanted a baby of my own.
- The next morning, March 11th, I got up the nerve to take a pregnancy test, hoping beyond hope that my late period was not just due to the stress of moving. To my surprise and delight, I saw a “+” and woke Jared up with the news. While we were thrilled, we also tried to cautiously guard our expectations. We didn’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.
- I called a friend of mine, a fertility doctor, to ask for a recommendation for an OB office in Cincinnati and he encouraged me to get an ultrasound right away in case of a tubal pregnancy due to my abdominal surgeries.
- A day later, I layed on the table at Northwestern Hospital, in a similar room to where I received one of my first ultrasounds confirming my cancer diagnosis, and prayed with great hope that this tiny baby inside of me was healthy. The technician told me that it was too early to see much but she confirmed it did look like I was pregnant and all appeared okay.
- We drove to Cincinnati the next day with a packed car and moved into my old bedroom at my parents’ home. Jared started his first day of work just a few days later.
- The next week, Jared and I sat in our friend’s office gazing at the tiny embryo with a strong heartbeat on the screen. I have hardly ever been so relieved. Hope began to take root in my heart.
- With such confirmation, we shared the exciting news of our baby with both sets of parents. Each of their reactions was priceless to us and evenings we’ll never forget.
- We ended the month by placing an offer on a house that we loved and after a little negotiating, it was accepted. However, due to the seller’s wishes, we found out we weren’t able to move in for two more months!
- At the beginning of the month, we shared our news with the rest of our immediate family. They had each been praying for us for quite some time and it was so fun to celebrate all God had done.
- I began to feel officially pregnant with pounding headaches and nausea, but I was just happy to be seeing signs of what I’d longed for.
- My mom and I packed the last of Jared’s and my belongings from our Chicago house and handed the keys over to our tenants to begin our new adventure.
- At the end of the month, I flew to Orlando to speak at a women’s conference with one of my dearest friends. Being a part of the conference was such a confirmation to me of my passions and I enjoyed every minute, especially appreciating that I didn’t feel any nausea for the few days I was there.
- I joyfully cried at the thought of experiencing my first Mother’s Day with a baby growing inside of me. I’d waited for this day for a long time.
- I spent much of the month lying on the couch eating goldfish crackers and ginger ale (totally not a part of my normal healthy diet!) to curb the nausea.
- The last day of the month we closed on our house and the workers began tearing out tile and installing hardwood floors in the first floor of our new home.
- A couple of weeks later, the project was finished and we finally moved into our new house! Jared and I enjoyed settling into our house and finding our new groove after living out of suitcases for over two months.
- We visited a church we liked and decided to begin attending there regularly. It felt really good to settle in our new stomping grounds.
- On July 2nd, I had my 20-week ultrasound and we were so thrilled to discover our baby was healthy and a GIRL! I experienced God’s kindness to me on a whole new level as I reveled in my excitement of a dream come true.
- A week and a half later, sitting outside of Whit’s Frozen Custard, we told both sets of parents that our little girl’s name would be Olivia Marie.
- I had the wonderful opportunity to help lead the Youth Writing Camp at Miami University again and felt confirmed that teaching writing to young students was among my passions as well.
- Now that I knew my baby was a girl, I began working with more of a vision for her room. I so enjoyed finding bargains at garage sales with my mom and decorating the room.
- Jared and I also made more of a concerted effort to connect in our marriage now that we had settled into our life in Cincinnati. With so much transition and excitement, we realized the need for greater communication and intentional time together and so reinstated our weekly date night.
- Jared and I took our last vacation without children and traveled back to California. We walked through the town of Carmel, read in the sun, put together a puzzle and dreamed of our little girl. We also visited Pebble Beach with Jared’s parents and the guys celebrated his dad’s birthday with a round of golf.
- I felt so incredibly loved by such dear friends and family members who hosted baby showers for me. I will never forget feeling supported by so many friends from all stages of my life.
- I began working again with the Ohio Writing Project and loved thinking more about writing and teaching.
- Jared and I grew in anticipation to meet our Olivia and finished the last projects on our list, including maternity photos.
- I attended my ten-year college reunion with my housemates from my senior year. It was especially meaningful to reflect together on how much God had worked in each of our lives—marriage, children, jobs, sickness, moves, heartache, joy—in the ten years since living together.
- I worked through my fears about labor and surrendered my birth plan to God, even though I still hoped I could give birth naturally.
- As I awoke each morning, I was sure that day would be the day that Olivia would arrive. I spent much of November waiting and waiting and waiting for her to give me a sign she was ready to come. Thankfully I also had many date nights with Jared as we waited.
- November 14th, Olivia’s original due date, came and went and so did my hopes of having a natural childbirth. After many discussions with the doctors, we scheduled a c-section.
- On November 21st, exactly at noon, I met my baby girl for the first time. I will never forget that moment for as long as I live! It was not a coincidence that we celebrated Thanksgiving in the hospital as we were so thankful for our greatest blessing of 2012.
- We brought Olivia home from the hospital and all at once our lives and sleep habits changed forever!
- There were several times during the first week when I was nursing Livi that tears fell from my eyes as the reality that my daughter was home, healthy, and ours felt too good to be true.There were days I had wondered if I would ever have this opportunity.
- At a week old, Olivia had her first photo shoot!
- The next couple of weeks proved to be a bit more challenging as Jared and I tried to figure out the reason for Olivia’s fussiness. We carried her around the house, bounced her on the exercise ball, held her in the football hold and anything possible to soothe her.
- At her one month doctor’s appointment, Olivia was diagnosed with acid reflux and prescribed medicine. Though I didn’t want to have to put medicine inside her little body, the relief and happiness it brought to Olivia was worth it. She smiled for the first time shortly after.
- Olivia celebrated her first Christmas with both of our families and played with her cousins for the first time.
As I wrote out the events of 2012, I noticed some repetition and themes from the year. After much waiting, it was a full year of change with a new job for Jared, a move to a different city and the birth of a baby. In a lot of ways, in 2012 we experienced a harvest of many of our prayers and dreams from the previous years. It seemed only fitting that Olivia would be born the day before Thanksgiving because it marked a year of gratefulness to all that God had done and how He had so tenderly provided for us. If there is anything I take away from this time of reflection, it’s that God has been so incredibly faithful to me, and I feel so very humbled that in 2012 we were able to see so many examples of His faithfulness. He taught us once again that His timing truly is perfect and though the wait may seem long and arduous at times, He always has a purpose and always brings ultimate good.
As I embrace 2013, my eyes are open to the big and small ways He will show more of Himself to me. I pray yours are too!
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3