To Have Loved...

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Our Second Year

It took me a little while to clear my mind of the ‘what-ifs’ that ran through my brain after losing my first child. “What if I didn’t work so much? What if I ate better? What if I didn’t drink any soda?” Ian reminded me over and over that it wasn’t my fault and my doctor agreed with him.

By our first anniversary, I was ready to move on and let nature take its course. If we were meant to have a child, we would, but I couldn’t let it control my life in the moment.

Ian and I went abroad for a month for our anniversary to Europe. It was just what the doctor ordered, literally. Dr. Reynolds told me at my last check-up that I needed a break to enjoy life and to take a trip, and Ian was able to take the time and I had a lot of vacation hours saved up, so we booked the trip.

I took him to several cities that I visited several years ago when I was in college including Paris, Rome, and London to name a few. It was very romantic and we grew even closer if that was even possible. Sure I enjoyed each of these cities with my classmates, but this was a whole different level and I didn’t feel rushed. Ian and I could take our time wherever we went.

They say that Paris is the city of love and they are right. Going for a walk along the Seine in Paris in the early evening as night fell, felt heavenly. Standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower with the person you love feels amazing as he holds you as you look around the city below.

Our nights were spent cuddled in bed after making love and whispering sweet nothings to each other. The way he brushes his fingers over my back as I lay on his chest sends shivers down my spine. The way he kisses the top of my head lets me know he is there for me in every way.

Some days we would talk about everything and anything from work, family and friends, things we have enjoyed on the trip and what we want to see while we are here. Other days, we would walk around a city hand in hand and just take in the sounds around us and say very little between us. Our breaths were in sync, our hearts beat together and we connected more and more each day.

When the month ended, I hated to go back home, but it was time to get back to the real world. I really did miss the people I worked with and was ready to get back to the hospital. Ian was just as ready to get back to the force.

We went back to our daily routine, but life was perfect for us at this moment. We visited our parents a couple times a month back home or they would come to ours for the day. Stacy and I kept in touch and talked frequently.

******

In September, I started taking online classes to get a second degree in psychology and counseling. My program had taken off at the hospital and we were able to hire another music therapist to continue to offer more people support and expand even more than I already thought was possible.

With a counseling degree, I hope to work even closer with the AODA programs or with teens at risk or young adults struggling to make it on their own and need more support. The degree is a two-year program, but luckily, I can do it all online and do not have to give up any current work hours to complete it.

Ian is very supportive of me and even helps me out with homework from time to time. I have made him my guinea pig, if you will, when it comes to psychological testing and other surveys we learn about in class.

Tonight, I was giving Ian a personality test to find out what his personality type is.

“OK Ian, here is the first question: You are almost never late for your appointments – YES, yes, uncertain, no, NO?”

“NO, I’m usually early,” he answers.

“Number two: You like to be engaged in an active and fast-paced job – YES, yes, uncertain, no, NO?”

“YES,” he laughs. “If I didn’t, I don’t think I should be doing what I’m doing,” he adds. I shake my head at him with a smile on my face.

“Number fifteen: You trust reason rather than feelings?”

“yes,” he answers. “You are the one with all the emotions, someone has to listen to reason,” he comments.

Number twenty-three: After prolonged socializing you feel you need to get away and be alone?”

“uncertain,” he answers on this one. “I do like to have fun with our friends, but I can be just as happy being alone with you.”

“Number thirty-nine: You are strongly touched by the stories about people’s troubles?”

“no, that again would be you, but then again, I do like to hear others share their stories, just not necessarily their troubles.”

“Number forty-seven: You have good control over your desires and temptations?”

“Oooh, now that depends on the desire or temptation,” he answers wiggling his eye brows at me. I roll my eyes at him and grin. “I will have to say uncertain,” he finally answers the question with a smirk.

“Number sixty-two: You rarely deviate from your habits?”

“YES, I am happy with routine and hate to change things if I don’t have to,” he responds.

We continue through all 64 questions on this particular test before we can score it. There are sixteen different combinations of personalities in this test: Extroverted or Introverted; Sensing or Intuitive; Thinking or Feeling; Judging or Perceiving.

Ian’s results are ESTJ. This means that Ian is likely to thrive on order and continuity and is content to enforce “the rules” and likes tradition. People with ESTJ personalities believe that power, position and prestige should be worked for and earned and have a strong work ethic. He is not afraid to stand up for he believes in. This describes Ian perfectly and I think he is the right career.

I have an ISFJ personality. ISFJ personalities are characterized by their desire to serve others and their “need to be needed.” Often times they are unappreciated at work, home and play because they can be so relied on for their loyalty and high-quality work, that they often get taken for granted or others take advantage of them. They are good with people in small groups or in one-on-one situations because of their patient and sympathetic approach to dealing with others. And even though they have a great work ethic, their families are the centers of their lives and keep a close circle of friends. This definitely describes me.

“Those are accurate descriptions of each of us. It’s almost scary,” Ian says. “And I guess we are doing what we are supposed to be doing,” Ian continues after I read through the results.

“We certainly are,” I respond. “Thank you for doing this with me. I hope you don’t mind going through these tests with me?”

“Not at all baby, I like getting to know more you like this and I like sharing more about me. This is stuff I would probably never even thought about, but it’s kind of fun,” he replies.

“Well thank you again. I’m sure there are many more to come,” I chuckle. “The year has only begun and this is only my first psych class.”

“I’m here for you babe and I really don’t mind. Now come here and let me lose all control over my desire to have you,” Ian says with a smirk.

I laugh at him before closing my laptop and putting my stuff on the coffee table. He pulls me onto his lap and brings my lips to his. He definitely lost control when I began kissing his neck just below his ear and he picked me up and practically ran to our bedroom. God, I love this man.

******

We decided to go to Chicago for the holidays this year and I took another week vacation from work. I rarely take time off, so I’ve accrued a lot over the last couple of years I’ve been there. They are so generous to allow you to carry over unused hours into the next year.

“Sarah…Ian…over here,” I hear Stacy yelling from her car as we exited the airport.

“Stacy!” I yelled back and waved. When we reached her car, I gave her a big hug while Ian put our bags in the trunk. “I’ve missed you so much,” I tell her.

“I’ve missed you too,” she replied after giving Ian a hug. “Come on and get in the car, it’s freezing out here.”

“How is Jake? And the kids?” I ask her.

“They are wonderful. Hope is on winter break right now, but tells me she would rather be back in school because she misses all her friends. Haley, of course, wants to like her big sister and likes to listen to her when she is reading or doing her ‘homework.’ Kayden is getting way too big and I think his terrible twos have started early,” Stacy tells us. “Oh and Jake is still busy with work, but will be us through the holidays.”

“I can’t believe that Hope is in kindergarten and just turned six…how is that possible?” I shake my head.

“I have no idea,” Stacy laughs. “It still feels like yesterday that my life came back to me and now…now I couldn’t be any happier. I’m married to the love of my life, have three amazing children, a job that I love and the ability to help others. It has just gone way too fast,” she continues.

I reach over and squeeze her shoulder, “I am so happy for you,” I tell her. I am truly happy for her, but I admit that I am also envious of her. I know, I know that she deserves all this happiness after the hell of life she lived, but…but don’t I as well?

I am happy, I really am. I’ve waited a long time to be with the one I have loved for the last ten years of my life and I am grateful to be married to him. It just seems to come so easy to Stacy and I have had to struggle to finally get there. I love my nieces and nephew, but I can’t wait to have one of my own, and I can’t even seem to make that happen.

“Sarah? Earth to Sarah,” Stacy said pulling me from my thoughts.

“Sorry, what?” I replied.

“I asked you how school was going, you finished your first semester, right?” she repeated. “Are you okay?”

I nodded, “Yea, I’m OK; just lost in my thoughts. School is going well; I got all A’s so far and learning a lot about people and myself.” I hear Ian cough to prevent a laugh after that comment. I start to chuckle myself.

“That’s great to hear,” Stacy responds. “What is so funny?”

“Nothing, Ian’s laughing at me because he was my guinea pig most of the semester so when I say I’m learning a lot about others, it was mostly him.”

“Maybe while we’re here, you can put your sister under all your tests,” Ian teases.

“Uh…no, I don’t think so. I’ve already been through enough testing in my life and still occasionally talk with my therapist. I definitely do not need my sister for that,” Stacy replies.

“Relax Sis, I do not plan on bringing my schoolwork or my work with me on vacation,” I say. “So you still talk to your therapist?” I ask.

“Yes, I do. Not that often, but…” she starts.

“I’m sorry Stacy, I just said I wouldn’t…God, I didn’t mean to ask,” I try to apologize, horribly I might add.

“Stop, it’s OK. I still have nightmares from time to time and when they get to me, I give him a call. I might also call him if I’m working with someone and it hits too close to home,” she honestly tells me.

“There’s no shame in that Stacy, I’m glad you have someone to talk to,” I tell her.

“Me too,” she says with a smile. “OK, enough about me and my issues, what about you two? Any news you want to share with your big sister?”

“We are great and things have been wonderful between us,” I say.

“Yeah…and?” she pushes for more. I have an idea what she wants to hear, but I really don’t know what to say. No one knows about what happened earlier this year except for Ian and me.

“And…what? What do you want me to say?” I ask her looking back at Ian. Can this ride go any slower to their place? I know traffic is bad, but this is taking forever.

“Well, you’ve been married a year and half and I know you wanted a family, so I was curious if I have a niece or nephew on the way. Come on, I’m your sister, I would hope you’d tell me before everyone else,” she pries.

I look at Ian again and sigh. “Tell her babe,” Ian says to me. I shake my head and close my eyes. “It’s OK,” he reassures me.

“So, you are having a baby? Oh my God, I can’t wait to…”

“Wait...wait Stacy, it’s not…” I pause. “We are not having a baby, at least, not right now.”

“Oh?” she responds glancing over at me. “I thought…” she doesn’t finish.

“We were…pregnant. I found out earlier this year that I was, but…” I stopped myself, yet again and looked out the window.

“But what Sarah?” Stacy asks, but I think she knows as I can hear it in her voice.

“But I lost it. I had a miscarriage in the beginning of April just entering my second trimester. We were actually getting ready to tell everyone the news when it happened.”

“Oh Sarah, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be, it’s not your fault. Believe me, I’ve blamed myself for a long time, but I know now that it wasn’t meant to be at that time. We are just letting nature take its course, so when the time is right, we will begin our family,” I say with a smile.

It actually felt good to talk to someone other than Ian and my doctor. Maybe I should have said something sooner to Stacy, or at least my mother.

Stacy reached over and grabbed my hand and gave it a squeeze. I looked back at Ian and he gave me his perfect smile. “Are we there yet?” he asks causing me to laugh and break the awkward tension in the car.

“Patience my dear brother-in-law, patience,” Stacy says laughing along with me.

******

The rest of the week went wonderfully and no more mention of having babies came up. I spent a lot of time playing with the kids and enjoyed every minute of it. Jake and Ian spent a lot of time ‘hanging out’ like the days when they first met and Stacy and I got caught up on everything going on in our lives.

I spent a day with Vicky getting caught up on my life, but she didn’t want to talk much about hers. I guess things started pretty well when she first moved to Chicago last year, but has had some more recent struggles, so I let it be. She’ll talk when she’s ready.

Ian and I returned home right after New Years and settled back into our daily routine. We’d get up in the morning, go to work, have dinner together before watching some TV or a movie and go to bed. We might sound like an old married couple, but I don’t care. I love every minute we have together, however, I admit, I want more.

I kept hoping each month that this would be the one that I’d be pregnant again, but it didn’t happen. When I woke up this morning, a year after losing my baby, I felt the familiar cramps in my lower abdomen that I feel every month and make my way to the bathroom.

Sure enough, another period has started, confirming that I’m not pregnant. After cleaning up and getting dressed for the day, I went to the kitchen to start breakfast while Ian was getting ready…that’s when I lost it.

“Sarah…Princess?” I heard Ian whisper as he wrapped his arms around me. “I’m here baby, I’m here.”

I turned in his arms and cried into his shoulder. I thought I had moved past all this last year and I was OK with not having children right now. But it seems everywhere I go, there is a new baby around and I’m reminded over and over that I don’t have mine with me. I’m reminded that he or she would be about six or seven months old right now, but I couldn’t carry it to term.

“We are still young and we have time, we will move forward and will start our family soon baby,” Ian says into my hair. I nod my head and I really do agree with him, but it’s so hard to forget what happened.

“I know Ian, but…” I sob again and sit back to look at him. “I just can’t help wonder if something is wrong with me. Why did this happen and why can’t I…” I can’t finish my sentence choking on another sob.

“Nothing is wrong with you Sarah and nothing you did or didn’t do caused this. We will have a child, I know that and you need to believe that as well. All the stress and worry isn’t going to help, but I know you and I know you will keep asking yourself the same questions,” Ian says.

He does know me and I do hold onto things. All I have ever wanted was to be with Ian and have children in our future, but for whatever reason, the world doesn’t seem to agree. Maybe I do need to let go more and not try so hard…maybe when I least expect it, I’ll wake up and my dreams will come true.

“I will Ian, but I don’t know how to shut my mind off. I know what you are saying is true, but it’s hard for me to understand; and I’m the one who is the therapist,” I chuckle a little.

“Yes and you are an amazing one at that. But it’s much easier to help others than it is yourself,” he replies.

“I love you Ian.”

“I love you always Princess. We will get through this, I promise.”

“I believe you.”

After cleaning my face and finishing breakfast, I felt better. I know this was my emotions getting the better of me, they do every month. Thank you Mother Nature.

******

“Happy Anniversary Princess,” I wake up to Ian whispering in my ear.

“Happy Anniversary,” I say back with a big smile on my face. We have been married for two years today, I can’t believe it. The time seems to have flown by.

“I’m going to make breakfast and serve you right here,” he says with a smirk.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I say back. We took a three-day weekend, but stayed home together instead of going anywhere this year.

We spent the day in bed making love, watching movies, listening to music and making more love. Other than to use the bathroom, I didn’t leave the room and I really enjoyed that. I don’t think I can make a habit of it, but I really did like not having a care in the world today.

While Ian was out making dinner, I heard his phone vibrating on the night stand. At first I ignored it, but when it went off for the third time, I finally looked at it and recognized the number as the fire departments.

“Ian?” I yelled. I walked to the kitchen, “The department has been calling you…you better call them back.” I took over finishing up dinner, which was pretty much done, while Ian made his call.

Before I could set the food on the table, I saw Ian grabbing his clothes and running around trying to find his keys. “Everything OK?” I ask.

“No, there is a massive fire at one of the apartment complexes in the next town over. They have been trying to put out the fire for hours, but haven’t been able to and are calling in every available person. It sounds like there are still people trapped inside.” I gasped.

“Be careful,” I told him as he reached the door.

“I will,” he came back for a kiss. “I’ll be home as soon as I can. Love you.”

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