I’ve been sorting through pictures the last few days as I work to get all my SD cards loaded onto our computer so I can have back up copies of everything. On top of it being monumentally hard to sort through 8 very jumbled years worth of pictures (roughly 8,000) from various cameras, disks and phones, I’ve been shocked by the emotions this has stirred up for me.

Usually when I look through our pictures, I am not looking at years worth of good, bad and ugly. While I treasure all of our photos from years past, it’s a lot to take in all at once. I know this probably sounds dramatic but I see a picture that I’m in, usually with a smile plastered on, and I know where I was in that moment. I remember how I actually really felt and what the current grief was. What procedures we had tried, surgeries, drs we were seeing, even pictures of us in the clinic having our first ivf….

I don’t want to make it sound like we didn’t have good times prior to having kids – we absolutely did!! But our lives were so wrapped up in finding a diagnosis and going through all the various treatments that we tried for YEARS and it really did become extremely consuming. There was a time period where our marriage went down on the rocks badly and I didn’t think we would make it. We were young to begin with and having went through so much had taken such a toll. We/I argued constantly and looking back, it’s easy to see why everything felt so important. With no control over our fertility, obviously our fights over petty stuff spiraled way out of hand due to trying to have something go my way. Pictures during that time are extra hard.

And then there are snapshots of my sil and bil bringing my niece home from the hospital. I remember that day. It was so beautiful and sweet… but of course it was yet another arrow in the heart of the infertile. And pictures of my sister’s baby. So gorgeous and adorable, but I was saving every penny for ivf at the time and I remember going to the hospital to meet the baby and my sweet sister asking me how it was going saving up. She shouldn’t have had to worry about my feelings at a time like that, but she did, bless her heart.

If there’s one thing I learned in our journey (I learned quite a few things actually) is that I wish I  would have lived life instead of holding my breath waiting for life to start. Of course, that would have been easier if I had know I’d have kids eventually. But I should have been enjoying life then too. Much like I’ve learned in motherhood that I have to embrace the moment we are in now instead of looking back and being sad at all the moments I’ve missed in my childrens’ lives already and all the time I wish I could have back.

That said, even the recent pictures are bittersweet in their own way. I saw a video tonight of Tru last summer out on the porch with me pointing to the “fowees” and “goggie”. He says so many more words now!! He would point and make his own little words which are now replaced by “Wook, mom! See?!” As beautiful as it is to watch my babies grow up, there’s the pangs of knowing those days are gone and I’ll never get them back. It’s the way it’s meant to be. And I’m thankful to watch my boys grow more and more every day. I just never truly realized how fast you can blink and the moment is gone. It makes me treasure every picture and video of the boys that much more, seeing as how it can bring back so many memories just to watch a short little clip. Stuff I didn’t even know I’d forgotten.

I will be so glad when I’m done organizing all the pictures into their folders and can open them as I want to instead of having so many years worth of emotions pouring over me at once. And as for the pictures from the years of infertility? I think they’ll always be a little hard to look at.