On Wednesday July 13th 2016, I was thrilled to see two lines come up on my home pregnancy test. Less than 1 week prior, we'd completed our 5th and final fertility round. They'd transferred four embryos this time, and I was already pregnant...and beyond thrilled. I'd have to wait until Monday the 18th for my first blood test, but I could already tell the pregnancy was really strong.
Monday came, and my first blood test was finally here. I went when the clinic opened at 6 am. My veins were protruding (a great early pregnancy sign from the increased blood production) as I laid my arm in front of the lab tech. The test ended quickly and the hours of waiting ensued.
When the nurse called, I could feel her excitement through the phone. "Are you ready to be a Mom?!" she squealed. I was in shock and excitement. She said the levels looked great. I hung up quickly and happily, eager to call my husband and then spread the news to my close inner circle. I was too excited to ask a couple more questions, but when I followed up by email she let me know that anything above 50 was good...and my level of 236 was great. She also confirmed my estimated due date will be March 25, 2017. In four years of fertility treatments, these were the BEST levels I'd ever had.
Waiting for the test on Wednesday was a breeze. I felt really good about this one, we had done a different protocol, and it was finally meant to be. My husband was talking about us spending more time in the toy aisle soon, my mother-in-law was hoping for twins, and my mom was helping me think through how it would be best to reconfigure an office into a nursery. We had been through so much, I knew this was the happily ever after I deserved.
Finally Wednesday arrived...
When the nurse called I could hear the feigned excitement in her voice. I had come to know the inflections in her tone, and could tell this one was some faux optimism. The sad "hey" was a stark contrast to the enthusiastic "HEY!!!" I got when she had answered the phone earlier in the week, and it felt like a punch to the gut.
The levels didn't look good. They hadn't gone up like they should have. It was a blur of words and hope infused sentences I can barely recall. It would be another week before we'd have another test. She told me that I shouldn't give up hope. That I should stay optimistic... Did she read my chart? Did she know that this was the fifth time my levels had not done what they were supposed to do? Did she know my body had turned on me in the past?
I spend the majority of my time talking about kindness and motivation through my charity and my online community. I am a self proclaimed optimist. Even in the worst of times I try to find a silver lining. But to tell you I had it in me to be optimistic would be a bold faced lie.
All I felt was tired. Drained. Numb. Devastated that my odds for carrying a pregnancy had basically diminished. Our genetics passing on to a new generation had been dashed. While I know that doesn't mean I won't be a mother, it won't be in any of the ways I had expected and hoped for, and it won't be anytime soon.
By Saturday morning it had become evident that the pregnancy was failing. I sat by the pool with my parents, quietly piecing together my feelings in my head. I looked down at the pool, wondering if my last four years of tears through this fertility struggle would have been enough to fill it.
Catching my reflection in the water I realized the woman gazing back at me would never be able to carry a child. I'd never know the love that's felt from the first flutter to the big kicks. All those visions I'd had of pregnancy announcements and maternity shoots were over. The flower crown I had tucked away for that perfect shoot would never have its crowning glory.
Although I was above water, I felt like I was drowning. Drowning in feelings of loss and hopelessness. In my mind I was barely clinging to the edge and unable to breathe.
Then, once again I caught my reflection, and wondered how many people had cried into a pool. How silly it seemed to be so sad next to such a beautiful scene, as my parents and my dogs lounged in the background. I wouldn't always have them, I knew this. Yet here I sat mourning over the loss of children I'd never known, while missing out on joy with the people that were right in front of me.
It dawned on me that I've never met the child who I will be the parent to one day. Perhaps it won't be born of my body, but it will be born of my soul. I hope to one day float with them on a Saturday morning, hopefully not watching their heartbreak.
Maybe instead of wrapping myself in this sadness that had been cloaking me, it was time to start seeing the beauty of what I've been chosen to do. I've been chosen to be the mother to someone who doesn't yet know that they need me. Somewhere in the world, a baby that's meant to be ours, hasn't even been conceived yet.
A flood of hope washed over me. Understanding for the first time what my story has been meant to be all along. I began to feel aware that we are meant to become parents through adopting a child who needs us.
My hope was officially set into motion and I began to research what it
would take to become adoptive parents. I realized quickly it would take a large amount of resource, since most US adoptions cost between $20,000 and $60,000.
Again, I was struck by sadness. We'd spent nearly every penny we've saved on fertility treatments. With four years of treatments, multiple surgeries and multiple rounds of IVF we have depleted almost all of our reserves. We'd have to save for a couple more years before we could even start the process, which can take another 12-24 months from there. Honestly I don't know if I have it in me to wait another four years before beginning parenthood.
I made a decision at that moment to ask for help. Although I feared people would think badly about it, I know there are so many people out there who would support us through this journey. I've always been a very transparent person, and I fully believe that sharing this next chapter in our journey can only help us and others. I care more about being a mom than I care about those who may roll their eyes about us fundraising for adoption costs.
To say the last four years, and five miscarriages have been brutal would be an understatement. Watching our loved ones hearts break along side us, each and every time, has been beyond unbearable. The crushed hopes, dashed dreams, and constant fear, has changed me forever. I'm not alright, but it's going to be okay.
What will bring me forward is the future. Closing the chapter on fertility treatments is a bit of a relief. Although so many expectations will never be met, in terms of carrying a child, the thought of finding the child that we are meant to have has lit a spark in my heart.
I look forward to sharing our journey to find the family that's meant to be ours. I know in my heart, we are never alone. The love and support has made a painful journey more bearable. We look forward to finding our happily ever after with the help of those we love.
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