Five years ago this weekend found Mr. X and I stuck in a little CR-V with two cats, a litter box and our most precious worldly possessions stuck in traffic in Houston on a very hot day.
Six hours earlier we had left our home in New Orleans, bound for Mr. X’s parents’ house west of Houston, not knowing what the future would bring. As we were leaving town, we listened to C-Ray being interviewed on WWL -I distinctly remember his talking about how Katrina was like a storm on steroids due to the warm waters in the Gulf. I probably snorted at the obviousness of this statement and the total lack of awareness by C-Ray at the obviousness of the statement. By the time contraflow had kicked in and most people were getting themselves out of harm’s way, we were ensconced in a Mexican restaurant in BFE nowheres-ville Texas downing margaritas. They were not celebratory.
The rest of our Katrina story is actually pretty boring – although, Mr. X did get to play commando loading handguns going back in nine days after the storm via the Causeway with my boss to check on our house and my firm’s office. Our house was undamaged, if only by the grace of the levee on the other side of the canal being a little weaker. We had no looting or other problems. We even managed to save our fridge, which was a very big deal since after the storm, new fridges were taking four months to come in. Four MONTHS.
Still, Katrina changed our lives dramatically. We moved out of New Orleans for good two months after the storm. We had been thinking about moving before Katrina, but the storm turned our vague discussions into action plans. I was tired of living in fear six months out of the year and the city, even our relatively undamaged portion, was going to take a very long time to recover.
You would think that ours was a Katrina success story, and in many ways it was. Mr. X quickly found a new job in a new city and we determined that I could continue working at my jobin our new city. We were able to sell our house not three months after the storm, which was virtually unheard of at the time. We were able to get a moving company to come in from Dallas and move us. We were able to extricate ourselves with the least amount of effort imaginable. Yet, Katrina marked the beginning of a tough five years for us. It was as if the storm was the opening salvo in a barrage of bad luck and adversity that we have only just now been able to emerge from. I speak, of course, of our infertility journey and subsequent multiple miscarriages. We had started our conception journey three months before the storm and of course, nothing had happened. By January 2006, I knew that something was right and, in our new city, began the first of many infertility workups that would lead to our diagnoses (blocked tubes for me, low count for him) and treatment (IUIs, IVFs, FETs, you name it, we did it!). All of this effort and heartbreak culminated in Rex, who arrived four years, ten months and about 11 days after we first decided that it was time to become parents.
Like New Orleans, we have come a long way since Katrina. We are different, stronger and more resilient in some ways, more cautious and untrusting in others. We had no way of knowing that bright, gorgeous Saturday morning in August when we left the city that had been our home for ten years that we never be able to fully return just like we didn’t know then how much it would take for us to realize our dream of being parents. But, five years later, we are parents to the most beautiful gift ever conceived and our city has and continues to reinvent itself. Perhaps, someday Rex will return to New Orleans and continue to help with the rebuilding of the city that his parents so love.