I met my husband the summer before my senior year in college. It was love at first sight. He was a few years out of college and I had senior year hanging over my head. By that point in my academic career, I was both entitled (the privilidge of a fine education was something I took for granted) and ready to live life outside the ivory towers that stood in the way between real life and me. By second semester, I had been offered a coveted job in the fashion business in sales at one of the hottest designer showrooms in NYC where I grew up and planned to live post graduation. The love for my man, the dream job beckoning and my lack of passion for my studies lead me to NYC where I decided to move in with my boyfriend, bag my last semester of college and pursue my dream of entering into the fast paced and exciting world of fashion.
Fast forward a few years later, I was an assistant accessories editor at Vogue and my boyfriend was my fiance. He had been offered a position working for a real estate developer in Fairfield County, Connecticut. We decided to move to Greenwich, Ct. so he didn’t have to commute and we could begin to lay down the foundation for a family which he felt should happen in the suburbs where he had been raised. I reverse commuted, got pregnant and miscarried. The next attempt at parenthood was a success. A perfect pregnancy (with some serious nausea all the way through). Our daughter was born two years after we were married. I loved being a mother. My natural state as a high energy person suited me well for the sleepless nights and commitment to full time motherhood. I wanted more kids. More miscarriage. Then a full term and easy pregnancy. My due date came and the activity which felt like a village inside my enlarged abdomen had abruptly stopped. I met my doctor at the hospital where stress tests were performed and the decision was made to perform an emergency Cesarean. Our little girl was born having lost eighty percent of her blood volume through a small leak in my placenta. Undetectable with out looking for it and with such a rare occurrence of such an issue, who would have been looking? Annie only lived two days. I was morphined out of my mind a state my doctor felt was preferable under the circumstances to avoid my full awareness of this worst case scenario. My husband however, was there and fully present for the final ride from Yale-New Haven Hospital where Annie had been transferred to Columbia-Presbyterian where the last ditch effort to save her was a remote possibility. She died in the ambulance upon arrival at Columbia-Presbyterian.
I was surrounded by the love of family, friends and faced with a loss which seemed unimaginable in a community where medical care made sure these types of things never occured. A community in shock, rallied around us at the funeral and in the insuing days. Our five year old daughter was kept so busy that she didn’t really have time to think about the loss of the baby she had looked so forward to holding and calling her baby sister.
I had planned my life around this baby. We had a perfect cape house like a suburban postcard. A gloden retriever and a Volvo in the driveway. Yet, life had never felt more imperfect. I began to focus on all I didn’t have. The one security which had eluded me beyond my second daughter was my BA degree without which, I felt like a loser. Both of my parents had attended top tier colleges and having grown up in ultra competitve NYC,I had been raised thinking that a college degree was non negotiable. It was then that my feelings of no control over my life and fears of what my future would look like, lead me to return to school to finish my BA. What was sixteen credits left toward my degree had turned into two years of night school and a reclaiming of a new major. I began to live again filled with the passion that had been missing when I attended college for the first time. My desire to reinvent myself and lead by example for my daughter took a firm hold.
Two years later, on the honor role and with a major in Psychology, I received my BA degree by mail. Graduation day as it turned out, was also my son’s birthday (five weeks early and on April Fools Day). It took the greatest loss to secure my greatest gains. The family I had hoped for: two beautiful children and my BA degree had been realized. I learned my single biggest lesson to date: never stop trying, never stop hoping and never stop believing that we make the choice to turn lemons into lemonade. Every good decision comes from within. Bad things do happen to good people and making good from bad is a choice.