It was the day after Dia de los Muertos when we found out about Emily.
The night before, our home had been filled with people. The dining room table had been crowded with cookies and spinach balls and dips and more food than we could all ever finish. There were skeletons and skulls everywhere. Strands of lights in the bay windows. Skulls with glowing eyes on the windowsills and clustered together on the server. I’d printed out sugar skulls from the Internet and Michael and I had colored them in at the kitchen table before taping them up on the walls.
For the first time in awhile, I was able to lose myself in the festivities. For the first time in awhile, I didn’t think about the fact that we had been trying to get pregnant for the past three and a half years. That it still hadn’t happened.
I just had a couple glasses of mimosa punch, stuffed my face with as much food as possible, and enjoyed myself.
The next day, my mom suggested I take a pregnancy test. I had been feeling worn out lately, and slightly under the weather. I had also been waiting for that certain time of month to start so we could begin yet another round of IUI.
But by that point, I was a week late.
Michael had been begging me to take the test every damn day that entire week. But I didn’t want to be disappointed. Not again. Hopelessness had, by that point, become less painful than hope.
Still, I had never been a week late before…
When the test came up positive, I didn’t quite believe it. “How’s it going in there?” asked Michael, waiting on the other side of the bathroom door. “I think we’re pregnant… ?” I said. “Wait, what?” he said. “Really?”
When I emerged from the bathroom, I put the test into a plastic baggie, and then kept re-checking it. I thought it might change. To “No.” Or “Not Pregnant.” Or “J/K LOL.”
But when some time had passed and it still hadn’t changed, I hugged Michael, sobbing, ecstatic, relieved.
Whenever we have our annual Day of the Dead party, I tell people that we are gathering to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed. I ask people to bring foods that remind them of these loved ones, or that remind them of family gatherings growing up.
This year, I felt as if we were celebrating a life that had just begun.
It was only a year since the last party. Only four months into Emily’s life.
Such a small span of time, but everything had changed.