It is hard to believe that another new year is upon us. I feel the older I get the faster the years fly by. It seems just like yesterday I was a carefree child, climbing trees, and exploring the world around me. I have never been an individual who really stuck to my new years resolutions. I would always make a goal, and be really on track until a few weeks later, the ambitious me would fizzle out, and old habits would come back faster than they left.
Two years ago New Years was a whole different world. I was in love with the man of my dreams, we had a brand new beautiful baby boy, we were living on cloud nine. We celebrated the New Year with friends and family at the house. We drank, danced, sang, and all yelled Happy New Year with excitement on what the future year would bring us. A few days later, that excitement would fizzle out, and our new reality would hit us harder than anyone would have expected.
As many of you know our son Nico passed away after a 7 week very courageous battle of a very rare genetic disorder. My new year was spent wondering the hospital halls, living every day in what I call my own personal hell. I watched my son go from a healthy beautiful 2 month old baby, to being hooked up to so many machines they had to give us the biggest room on the floor to fit them all in. He went from smiling, laughing and learning the world around us, to being incubated with a breathing tube, put into a medically induced coma to help keep him calm, and pumped full of so many various medications, just to keep him alive. On February 11, 2017, that journey ended, and we said goodbye to our sweet baby boy. What was supposed to be the happiest year of our lives turned into our nightmare, one that so many parents experience, and one that would forever change our little world we had built.
Loosing a child is something that no one should have to go through, but it is an experience after talking with so many people, that happens more often than it should. But, with that, we pulled ourselves together, and we continued on our path to happiness. I always said 2017 was the worst year of my life, but it ended as one of the best, I got to marry my best friend. Our wedding day was full of love and laughter, it was exactly the day that so many of us needed.
Nico was born with a very rare genetic disorder, only 10 kids in the world had it, and with the form he had, he was the first. This disorder was always fatal, some kids lived into their teen years, but most of them lost their battles before the age of 18. We were advised very strongly by everyone in the medical field to never have any more kids. So we took that advice, and well, we got pregnant again (OOPS). I remember after the wedding I was thinking to myself trying to remember the last time mother natures monthly arrival had come. I was so wrapped up in work, our three older children, and wedding planning that I had completely forgot that it had not come that month. I remember thinking to myself “No way, God would not do this to us, he would not put us through this again” and as I sat in the bathroom shaking with the lovely test in my hand, and the words “PREGNANT” came on the little screen, I just started laughing. I may have said a few choice words along with it, but all I could do was laugh.
My husband and I talked for a very long time that night about our plan. We knew the odds were against us, but we were also very hopeful that maybe, just maybe this was the miracle we so desperately needed. We came to a joint decision, that no matter what, we would keep the baby. Because in our minds, even though Nico was very sick, he also knew he was very loved. So if this baby only makes it a few months in this world, he will be loved every single day, and that is not something I would take away from this tiny little bean growing inside me, I would not take away the feeling of being loved.
I went to the first doctor appointment like a deer in the headlights, we went through all our medical history, all of Nico’s medical history, and the first words out of the Dr’s mouth after reading over Nico’s chart was “I would terminate this pregnancy”. My husband and I together said “Absolutely not”. So our new journey began that day. Specialists, tests, ultra sound after ultra sound, conversation after conversation of the risks involved of allowing this child to be born. Every time a new Dr. would enter the picture the same conversation would happen: “Are you sure you want to continue this, there is such a small chance this child will be healthy” and as all good Dumb and Dumber fans will unite on “So you’re saying there’s a chance?”
We started the year 2018 in a whole new ball game then a short year before. We were broken-hearted, we were unsure of our future, we were holding on to a slim chance that this year would be our year. One thing though, one thing that was the same, was we were in love, and that was all we needed at that time. The first week of the New Year we were scheduled for our Amniostesis, this test would be able to tell us if the little guy kicking me nightly would have the same genetic disorder that is a big brother in heaven had, so we started our New Year with the same helplessness and uncertainty the year before had brought us. The results would take weeks to get in, and let me tell you, waiting to hear if the child you are carrying would even make it, is one of the most gut wrenching feelings anyone could bear. We didn’t buy anything for the new baby, we hadn’t started the nursery, I could not bring myself to even enjoy the pregnancy, to allow myself to connect to this tiny human growing inside me.
The week of the one year anniversary of our first sons death, my phone rang on the way home from work. I was driving, totally exhausted from a very long day, I saw the number pop up on my phone, and my heart sank. This was it, this was the call. I actually thought about cancelling it out and calling back later. I had gone over the scenario in my had so many times. I picked up the phone, answered “Hello?” “Mrs. Petrucci, this is the genetic team, we have your results.” I don’t think I took a breath, what was probably seconds seemed like hours as I waited for the words. When you are what I like to call “If I didn’t have bad luck, I’d have no luck at all” you always assume the worst. “You better start preparing, because you are going to have a perfectly healthy baby boy”. I was at a stop light and immediately burst into tears. I looked over to my right and as my luck would have it, a police officer was pulled up right next to me. I had answered the call on my phone and I knew I was about to get pulled over. It is my luck after all. He had been watching me, and then saw that I was sobbing uncontrollably and probably thought, he was not going to deal with that crazy today.
From that point on, the darkness lifted. We began to plan, we started buying baby items. We even picked out the name. On June 4th, 2018, we welcomed our healthy baby boy into our family. He was perfect. He was absolutely perfect.
We spent the rest of 2018 cooing and gushing over this absolute miracle that we were given. As each month passed, new milestones were hit, and he began to grow into the chunky little meatball he is today, the feeling of gratitude started really building in my soul.
I have always been a gracious person, but I have also been somewhat a selfish person too. I never really took the time to really stop and look at the blessings around me. I always just assumed those blessings were deserved because of the things I had gone through in the past. I had this mentality that one bad thing should equal one good thing in life, Karma right? But that was just a horrible mentality to have. Because anytime something bad happens in your life, you are looking around for the next good thing. But you are not grateful for the good, or accepting of the bad. You do not grow through the good and the bad when that mentality is who you are.
So this year instead of making a resolution on loosing weight, eating clean, on being off social media more, stop comparing myself to others, all the other resolutions I had made in the past that always fizzled out after a week or two, my resulution was to work on being grateful for what I have, and accepting of what I do not. It is easy when you lose a child to always compare certain memories on “What if”. What if they were here, or “what could have been”. It is easy to forget the good that you still have in your life, even if your life is not what you had originally planned it to be.
So this year for the year 2019 I am going to spend my year with a grateful heart. Gratful for my husband, grateful for my 4 amazing healthy children, grateful for the roof over our heads, the laundry that needs to be done, the dishes that need to be done, the people and family we have in our lives, the life that we have built together, for the money that is in the bank account even if it is a very small amount some months, the clothes in our closets, the fact that even though we only had less than 4 months with our angel, we still got time to show him love.
Having a grateful heart is something I think we all really need to work on. In the world today with so much fake, realizing what you have is very hard. I still find myself comparing my body, my life, my reality to others. But, when I start self-doubting I remember that this year I need to be grateful. I am greatful my body has carried 5 babies, I am greatful my life is what I have made it, and that even though the person I am comparing myself to may seem to have a better life, maybe they are looking at mine and comparing themselves to me with the same feelings.
“Expressing gratitude for the miracles in your world is one of the best ways to make each moment of your life a special one”
What are some things you are grateful for this year?