This year, 2018, marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary.
First comes love, then comes marriage, and then the song says something about a baby carriage. For most couples, the honeymoon phase can last until their first-born arrives but for us, the blissful joy of marriage never materialized. Looking at the events between August 8, 2008 and December 2009 (extending the year out to cover both first anniversaries) it is evident that Hurricane Adulting caused more devastation than we had planned to address in such a short time. My grandfather’s death, the wedding snafus and not having had a honeymoon were just the beginning. At some point the hurricane season would be over.
When we returned home to the PNW the economy was starting to feel the housing market collapse. Our house lost about 15% of its value that first year putting us underwater on the mortgage. This trend that didn’t stop until 2015. Classes started and we kept trucking, happily waiting for our June graduation date. Commencement was one of the few cool things 2009 brought with it greatly in part because our company gifted us 100 stock options each for completing the degree. All we had to do was wait three years to cash these in. Our plan was to stay in the area and with the same company for longer than that so the wait would not be an issue. Small sacrifice for lots of free money.
Just to spite me, or in spite of me I guess, W coordinated a family cruise with his clan and insisted it was our honeymoon trip. To counter the disappointment of the turn of events, I scheduled a trip to Las Vegas for Memorial Day and claimed it as the unofficial official honeymoon. My cunning and logical arguments convinced him to grant me the win so I agreed to hop aboard, pun intended. Since he had been promised an Alaskan voyage by his parents around the time he was five or six, and we had never made it there, he selected the inside passage itinerary for our vacation. My mom in law reminded him that his past self had saved up cash in a Heathcliff money bank that was still intact after all those years. When he got his hands on it the total cash inside was enough to pay for a fancy meal add on! 😎💰🛳
To my surprise the Las Vegas trip went relatively well. The Luxor hotel was a bit run down and in a bad location on the strip for what we wanted to do but we made it work. Cigars, beer and food flowed as we took in the sights and casino hopped. After a very heated pow wow, we settled on watching a David Copper show over going to a Cirque show. W had already seen him perform his magic show back in Puerto Rico but I hadn’t been as lucky, so he fought me on my choice but I prevailed. It wasn’t super romantic or super memorable back then but hindsight, this trip features as one of the few good ones we have enjoyed over the years. A very nice break from the monotony and school work, and not a horrible pseudo honeymoon if you ask me.
Graduation went down without a hitch. My sister and the “tocayos” joined us on a beautiful 95 degree F June day. We celebrated that entire summer, especially after learning we were about to become parents. W was sooo overjoyed he would have let me get away with murder if I had dared to commit the offense. Sometime in July I lost my wedding ring after taking it off to move the BBQ around the deck. I recall praying to the powers that be that they keep the ring in exchange for the baby’s healthy development and arrival. A few weeks later, one of my nephews found it in the backyard, around the same time W got wind of layoff waves in his organization. Superstitious Latin me saw this as an omen of worse things to come. The fates were at it again.
Because the Alaska cruise was slated for late August, my OBGYN moved our first sonogram appointment to the week after the trip. Preliminary blood work showed that the pregnancy was proceeding as expected but we let it slide. In the back of my mind the concerns still lingered. We boarded the ship focusing on the small little blessing that was headed our way. A true godsend even though three weeks earlier W’s layoff notice had materialized. With his job on the chopping block after a big expense, he needed a big win. It was a very tense and dark time for him and the hope was our son or daughter would make it worthwhile. The vacation itself was somewhat of a bust because a few of the tours were cancelled due to weather and I was too seasick and uncomfortable to keep food down. I was miserable, my husband not so much but by now I knew this pattern was unique to our relationship.
For those following the blog, you all know what happened next. For those who haven’t, I’m sad to report the ultrasound appointment didn’t end well. W stared at the monitor as the doctor looked for a heartbeat. The only thing on the screen was an empty amniotic sac. My D&C was scheduled for Labor Day weekend. The irony. I had never been hospitalized, let alone gone under general anesthesia. My boss has warned me this could happen and when I asked for the time off he felt genuinely heartbroken that his words of caution had come true. W didn’t want to take a day off work to take me to the hospital for the procedure so I scheduled it for late in the afternoon so he could work a half day. Everyone told me to give him some space when they should have told us to hold on tighter than ever before. No one wanted to touch us with a ten foot pole as they were also in the family planning stage and didn’t want to jinx it. At least that is how it felt to me.
The devastation of losing the only thing that was keeping us in good spirits throughout all the adversity we had face during the last year was, and still is, indescribable. The ripples of finding out we had miscarried are still felt to this day. W’s anger made him say and do many hurtful things that I have been able to forgive but not forget. Landing a new job within the same company didn’t do much to shift gears. The fights escalated. Things were thrown. Feelings got hurt. My sister, who was living with us, had to intercede and negotiate cease fires so we could function. For a few weeks we feared we wouldn’t make it to our “official” december anniversary. The relationship was damaged beyond repair. I sincerely thought our marriage was done. In a way it was because those two people died the moment they didn’t hear a heartbeat. The thick fog of sorrow made us lose sight of each other, forever parents of a child that was never ever meant to be.
Out of all the cries for help, one hail was answered. Our Man of Honor swung by in early to mid November, right for W’s birthday, and managed to broker a truce. As an impartial 3rd party Neo knew what was at stake, and my husband took some pause to reevaluate his state of mind. I’m forever grateful to our friend and to my sister for pulling us through the darkness and into the light. Slowly, the fog began to lift and the tension relaxed. We celebrated our first anniversary with friends at a beautiful resort called Villa Cofresí in Rincón, Puerto Rico. The doctor stated that if all went well with my recovery we would be able to start trying to get pregnant again by Valentine’s Day. Countless advice, solicited or otherwise, flowed in. We had overcome yet another challenge as a couple. Would the odds be ever in our favor?
Stay tuned for Marriage: Year Two.