The very special miracle seen here is named Ruby Eleanor Smyczek, born September 2, 2015. Sayer and I have obviously had a bit of a bumpy ride over the last few years, but we couldn’t be more happy with where it has taken us. Holding this beautiful baby has been more than worth all the struggles we’ve faced.
When we first got married in 2011, I had just finished my last chemotherapy and my body was so laden with toxic chemicals that we were under strict doctor’s orders to not attempt to start a family. It was almost a year before Dr. X was confident that I could produce a non-mutant child. Of course, few things come easily to us, and we had no luck at first, then saw several doctors and tried a number of fertility treatments, and even entered (and won!) a contest to receive a very expensive treatment free from a reproductive clinic. Last Christmas I got a big surprise when Sayer slipped the test results in the pocket of my new sweater under the tree!
A few days before Ruby arrived, we were driving from our home in Hardwick to Montpelier along a country road (almost every road in Vermont is a country road), when I slowed the car for what I thought was a very large black dog crossing the road. As we got closer (closer than comfortable, in fact), I saw it was not a dog at all, but a black bear running in full stride, apparently late for dinner. I took it as an omen that our baby would be a strong one, while Sayer was just hoping that the sudden stop might induce the reluctant and overdue baby to finally make her appearance. She didn’t come that day, but it was soon, so naturally I call her Little Bear.
Ruby has already been on six hiking trips since birth, including Elmore Mountain, Mt. Tom, Laraway Lookout and Mt. Wheeler. She actually climbed her first 4,000 peak in winter while still in utero, last year on Camel’s Hump. We’re hoping to get in a few more trips before the snow falls this year.
Fortunately, Sayer has been on maternity leave to stay home with Baby, but next month she’ll go back to work and I will switch to working all nights so I can stay home during the day. It won’t be easy, but doing things the easy way has never really been our style, anyway. Thanks for checking in and thanks as always to all who have supported us on our long, hard but never boring journey.