Two years ago, probably to the day, I got an email from a counselor at the University of Washington Speech and Hearing Sciences Graduate Program.
I had applied for the Master's SLP program (for the second year in a row) in December, and found out it April that I had made it to the waiting list. Towards the very end of April, I received said email, asking me to come down for a face-to-face interview. They were narrowing down the waiting list, and were conducting interviews to help make their decision.
Like I said, I had applied to this program two years in a row. I didn't get in the first time. I wanted to be in this SLP program so badly that I waited an entire year to try again. This email was a dream come true......a dream that I actually never thought would come true. I've always been a "good student", but this program was extremely competitive, and there were plenty of smart, talented, and experienced applicants.
So, on May first, with a ball of nerves in my tummy and a folder full of transcripts and old coursework, I climbed the stairs to Eagleson Hall at the University of Washington and met with a nice woman who would be selecting students for the Master's Program. I remember that she was super sweet, and totally put my nerves to rest. We talked about my life (which only consisted of my husband and work at that time) and my goals and dreams. We talked about money. The program directors wanted to know how students would be paying for their education, understandably. I told the counselor that I would willingly take out loans if I had to, and I would even quit working if my coursework required it. I wanted to be completely committed. I wanted her to know that school would become my very top priority if they would just let me in! And, at that moment in my life, school would have been the very top priority.
I walked out of her office and into the streets of Seattle with the biggest smile on my face that day. She accepted me into the Master's SLP program right then and there! I couldn't hardly believe it! I really thought that I was in a dream. Walking back to my car, I was again a ball of nerves....but this time the nerves were brought on by the happiest news, and I busily dialed one family member after the other to share the news.
In those first few days of May 2009, my new husband and I discussed what life would be like: if I would be working, how we would pay for graduate school while he was in undergraduate, and how I really should go back on birth control since a baby wouldn't be in our near future. I told him that I needed to wait for my period before starting a new round (I had been off of birth control for about 5 months, we weren't "trying" but we weren't "not trying"). I waited. And waited. And waited.
I had been charting my periods, and I just knew that I should have started one by this point, and been on my way to birth control and graduate school.
I was nauseous at work for almost a week.....I thought that it was the excitement of the grad school news. Maybe I let a little anticipation grab hold of me while I waited to start the birth control pills. That had to be it, I told myself. I was just anxious and nervous, and that's why I was nauseous.
Finally, on May 5th, I decided that I needed to find out. I needed to find out why in the world my period wasn't starting. I needed this nauseous feeling to go away so that I could finally be really, truly happy about my Master's Degree future.
Before work on May 5th, after Scott had already left the house, I peed on a stick. I jumped in the shower before the two minute wait was up, but even as I was setting the stick down on the counter, I could see two pink lines. Getting darker. From the shower, I peered over to see it again. Yep, still there. Getting darker.
Crap. That was my first thought, and then I cried.
This is sad to me, because having a baby was all I ever wanted to do!! And yet, I had gotten so caught up in Graduate school dreams and having a career, that the thought of being pregnant made me sick to my stomach!
I went to work and immediately confided in the two ladies that worked in a classroom with me. They needed to know. I needed them to know, because I needed some help processing all of this (and because the child I worked with was fairly violent, and these ladies could watch out for me and my belly.....they would step in for me any time my student started acting out). After work, I went to the mall with a friend and her new baby (perfect), and confided once again. I was shaking, and asked her a million questions......mostly "what am I going to do?" or "how am I going to tell Scott?!" and more "what in the world am I going to do?!"
The days passed and the nerves subsided a little. Deep down, below the nerves, there was an excitement. It was always there, but my mind wouldn't let me be excited at first. Slowly, in the coming weeks and months, I came to terms with what my new path in life would be. I held on to the dream of Graduate school for as long as I possibly could, and then I let it slowly drift away. The program that I was going to be in was just too much for a pregnant lady/new mom. I talked with that counselor at the University of Washington about it a lot. We emailed back and forth, and I think she knew what my answer would be. She gave me the facts, and having this baby and giving it all the care that it needed just didn't line up with the fast-paced, competitive, challenging, 50-hour a week courseload that Graduate school would require of me. So I let one dream go, and I let myself fall whole-heartedly into the dream of being a mommy.
I wouldn't change that decision for the world!
Sure, some day I'll go back to school......maybe not to be an SLP, but I will go back. I'll find a career that I love, but not until my kids are in school. Even if I'm only a wanna-be stay at home mom, I'm going to milk it for all it's worth! I'm going to be present with my children, and soak up every last second with them (and work a little, if I have to).
This morning I was woken up early by my daughter's uncharacteristic cries. We grabbed a waffle and some milk, and snuggled on the couch watching the Royal Wedding. I felt like we were a part of history. But more importantly, I was breathing in the smell of this crabby child, grabbing kisses when I could, and savoring every little hand-hold and hug. A far cry from where I was (physically, mentally, and spiritually) two years ago. But looking back, I'd do it again. (and again, and again, and again)
Guys!!! We're moving up page 3 like it's our business!! Thanks for your votes....keep 'em coming!