Exactly one year ago yesterday Jason and I found out that we were pregnant with Cyrus. It probably seems a little strange to remember the exact date of that kind of thing, but I do. And I know the date because I remember feeling cramps on October 8, which was the due date of our first baby, the one we miscarried at 10 weeks. And I remember thinking on October 8th that it was only the 17th day of my cycle (you keep track of these things when you are trying to get pregnant) and how cruel of a trick for me to be getting cramps on the very day that I was supposed to be giving birth. And then nothing happened. I took a pregnancy test on day 26, and lo and behold, I was pregnant! It was pretty much the perfect time because I think that if I hadn't gotten pregnant that month, I may have gone just a little crazy - in fact, I'm pretty sure I was already headed down that path. As I'm sure is the case with anyone trying to get pregnant, it can be torturous every month that you aren't, and I think this is especially true if you've suffered a miscarriage - or at least it was for me.
So anyway, that blessed day came and suddenly our whole perspective changed. We began making plans and before we knew it, our whole life had changed, and that was even before the baby arrived! It is a rather interesting sequence of events that have led to where we are right now, and as I've been reflecting on it, I thought I would share.
We pretty much decided right away that raising a child in New York, and especially in the Bronx, just wasn't going to work for us. Now I know lots of women who do raise kids in the Bronx, and I admire them greatly, but if you don't have to, why would you? It's just hard in many, many ways. Plus, we realized pretty quickly that we couldn't pay for child-care on our non-profit salaries, and we couldn't afford for me to stay home on just Jason's salary, while still living in New York. So it was settled - we would simply have to leave New York. The first question was where would we go and the second was, when would we leave.
Sometime at the end of October, well before we had told any of our family that there was a baby on the way, my dad called to tell me that the person who had been living in and managing the room rentals in his Portland house was leaving and that if we were thinking about coming to Portland in the next year or so, that we could take over. Well, that pretty much answered the first question. Portland was where we wanted to live anyway, and now that we had housing it was a no-brainer. However, we were still thinking we would wait until the end of the summer/beginning of fall to move - it just seemed a more convenient time for Jason's job.
Well, as a kind of side note, we decided to drive to Kansas for Thanksgiving, as that was where our closest family lived and we couldn't really afford to fly anywhere, and, we really didn't want to spend the holiday alone. (Another key reason why leaving New York was bound to happen). As we left our family and began the 20-hour drive back to New York, we both realized that we just really, really, REALLY didn't want to be going back there. We were done with New York, and the sooner we could get out of there, the better. So on that drive we decided that summer was far too long to wait, and instead, we needed to move before the baby was born.
We put things in motion right away. We set a "Leave NY" date of February 28th. We called my dad and told him he was going to be a grandpa and that we wanted to move into his house. We gave our notice at both of our jobs and at our apartment. We cautiously started telling people that a baby was on the way.
And then we were off. There was no turning back. Even as we realized that the job market in Portland was somewhat abysmal. Even as we realized that the cost of moving across the country was going to be astronomical. It didn't matter. This just seemed to be the right thing to do.
So we somehow made it work. We traded in our money-guzzling Saturn Vue (that is another story altogether - one that I may or may not have the stomach to tell) for a mini van with "stow-and-go" seating that would help facilitate our cross-country move. We sold most of our furniture and cleared out more than half of the random crap that had accumulated over the five-plus years we had lived in New York. And on February 28th we packed our van and a trailer, pretty much filling them to capacity, and headed west.
We arrived in Portland with a place to live and that was about it. We had practically no furniture, no job, no plan, really - just a good feeling. And fortunately, it worked out. Jason found a job that paid enough for us to pay our bills and included insurance (a big deal, I discovered, when you're about to have a baby).
Sometimes, it's hard to imagine that just a year ago our life was very different. We definitely had more money, but we also had way, way more stress. Life in New York is stressful, or at least it was for us. When I saw the word "pregnant" pop up on that little test, I of course knew my life would change (how could it not with a baby) but I don't think I could have imagined it changing this much. And yet, I'm glad it did. It now feels like this is pretty much where we're supposed to be, at least for now.