A Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m pleased to say that the title of this posting does not in fact imply that I’ve recently had a near-death experience nor do I have plans to die anytime soon. But I am moving onto a better place, and it’s all so new and exciting that I haven’t yet fully accepted these major life changes as reality.

In the awkward balancing act that is censoring details about my personal life in an inherently personal blog, I’ve typically chosen to “go dark” (not post anything for a period of time) rather than risk TMI, especially when I’ve experienced an inordinate amount of drama. So as part of me accepting the major life changes previously mentioned, I’ve decided to share a little more of my back story. Balls to the wall, here we go…

My husband and I have been financially struggling for years as we completed our respective college degrees, acquiring mass amounts of student loan and credit card debt along the way. To make ends meet, we’ve lived in rather scary neighborhoods (i.e., prostitutes at the corner 7-11 at noon), and our landlord lost our house to the bank and skipped out on our deposit. Currently, I drive a car that’s old enough to vote, fight in a war, and drink. I live with my in-laws, commuting via train 2 hours each way to work 5 days a week. And my husband, after 7 months of doggedly searching for a job after graduating from one of the top universities in the nation, finally found work in Detroit (just a 3-days’ drive) that doesn’t pay well enough for me to join him unless I find a job there, too (their unemployment is at 20%).

At times, these challenges have felt insurmountable. At times, both my husband and I have felt like giving up. But we never did.

We’ve always had each other to lean on, and we’ve usually been lucky enough to despair at alternating moments, so that one of us can be the strong one. And we’ve got supportive family and great friends, so even at our lowest moments, we could at least put one foot in front of the next.

Now over the last couple of months, I’ve had an inexplicable positive attitude, nurtured by the desire to make good things happen in my life. So I’ve consciously been telling myself that everything’s going to be okay, that life is good, that everything is working according to plan. I’ve taken a few moments before bed each night to do breathing exercises. I’ve practiced visualization. I’ve gently corrected my husband whenever he’s expressed hopelessness or pessimism about our chances of being successful and happy. I’ve heard it said that positivity begets positive things, and that the same holds true for negativity. I’ve heard that you can manifest what you want to have happen in your life if you focus hard enough. I can’t say with certainty that any of these things are true, only that I’ve recently been inundated with wonderful news.

Last October, when my husband was in his third month of job hunting, he was flown to New Mexico for an interview. It went very well, and he felt confident that they were going to offer him the position. They called him, and they said that they were ready to offer him the job… but they’d lost their federal funding. They said they hoped to have more funding in the spring. We barely dared to hope, and as the months passed, our hopes became dimmer and dimmer. The Detroit job gave us a momentary lift, until we realized how difficult it would be to be reunited. We’ve now lived apart for about three months. I haven’t seen him since Easter. My husband began to despair again, isolated without the comfort of friends and family.

Then one day I started experiencing strange symptoms. I was exhausted: Rather than reading the newspaper for the duration of my morning train ride, I slept like a rock. And when I woke, I was still exhausted. Typical lupus symptoms, no? But then my breasts became tender. I thought to myself, No… that’s not possible. But I felt compelled to buy a pregnancy test. First thing the next morning, I took the test and prepared to wait three minutes for the results. Not necessary. It immediately revealed that I’m pregnant! It must’ve happened as soon as we found out my husband had gotten the Detroit job.

I sent a photo of the positive test results in a text message to my husband with no accompanying message. He called me moments later, breathless: What does this mean? Are you… We cried. Tears of joy (we’ve been trying for more than a year). Tears of panic (we live in different states). But I was strangely calm. I told him everything was going to work out. How did I know, he wanted to know. I just know, I said.

Three days later, he received an email.

It was the New Mexico job, and they got their funding back! He had three phone interviews that week, and in the last one, the man who’d interviewed him offered him the job.

We waited for weeks to receive an official offer letter with details of salary, benefits & relocation assistance. In the meantime, we planned for the move as if it were in a worst-case scenario. Instead of marveling in my pregnancy and reading up on what to expect, I hunted for apartments. Instead of my husband accompanying me to sonograms, he created intricate spreadsheets and graphs to project our estimated expenses and how much we’d need to save in order to make the move. As it turns out, not even our wildest dreams could’ve foreseen the gifts to come. His new job will pay for all moving expenses. All. Even moving our grumpy old cat.

And now here we are: My husband leaves Detroit this Friday, and we’ll be reunited the following Monday. He’ll have missed most of my first trimester, but he’s at least seen videos of the sonograms. Saying we can’t wait to see each other again is an understatement. Using the word “understatement” is an understatement. After a week spent enjoying each other’s company and packing the last of our things, we’ll fly out to New Mexico to begin our new life. The gratitude we feel for all of this is beyond words. Future posts should be more frequent now (and shorter)….

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Comments
4 Responses to “A Light at the End of the Tunnel”
  1. Jill says:

    Amber, I love, love, love this. So happy for you and your family, beautiful friend. I can’t wait to hear all about your new adventures.

    • lupinelife says:

      Thank you, Jill! I’ve never been happier or more excited about life, and I’m looking forward to sharing our adventures in the Southwest and new parents 🙂

  2. Autoimmune allie says:

    That’s great news! Congratulations. So glad things are coming together for you!! Have you had any flares or problems with your pregnancy!? I’m just curious about how the doctors handle a pregnancy with Lupus. Are you on all your regular meds? Are you considered high risk? Anyways– great news. so glad you opened up and shared your story. Hope things continue to look up for you!!! God Bless! ~allie

    • lupinelife says:

      Thank you, Allie 🙂 I haven’t had any problems with my pregnancy, aside from some mild morning sickness. My doctor told me that lupus-related complications can happen later in the pregnancy, around week 25 or so. That’s when the risk of miscarriage increases. Something in my favor: My lupus was under control when I became pregnant. All said, I’m considered high risk because of the potential for complications down the line, but my chances of developing complications are (thankfully) low because I’ve been able to keep my symptoms in check for a period of time. So as my doctor says, I’m high risk, but I’m not high risk right now. That works for me! I’ll continue to post updates…

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