The journey to motherhood, and through motherhood, looks different for everyone. Struggles with fertility, health issues, timing, age…these are just some of the things that our fellow Charleston Moms Blog writers have dealt with, and are sharing in their raw and personal stories through this series, How I Became A Mother. We hope that you enjoy them and above all, know that you are not alone in this journey!
While my husband and I were dating and having all of the “grown up conversations” you have before getting married, we both agreed that we didn’t want kids. Fast forward to a trip I took to visit my cousin’s newborn baby girl—the trip that ignited my maternal instinct. My cousin’s daughter stole my heart and showed me how badly I wanted one of my own. As I flew back home, my mind was spinning with “what if’s” and worry that I may be alone in my new desire to have children. When my husband picked me up from the airport, he noticed that I kept looking at him with a different spark in my eye. This spark was the realization that I really wanted kids and the hope that he had changed his mind about the subject too. I sheepishly, but excitedly, told him I had a change of heart and that I wanted kids. He responded and I breathed a sigh of relief…our hearts had changed and together we were going to have a family.
We originally decided that we would wait a year before we would start trying so that we could tour Australia during the upcoming summer; however, our “baby making fever” got the best of us and we began trying immediately. Months went by and negative pregnancy tests continued to stare back at me. My gynecologist had told me in the past that she worried about me being able to get pregnant due to my history of irregular and absent cycles, but I didn’t really think too much of it because at that time I didn’t want kids. Well, now that I did, her statement of concern replayed over and over in my head. The combination of not getting pregnant and having been warned in the past that getting pregnant may be hard for me made me realize that I couldn’t wait another month to see what a home pregnancy test would bring. I made an appointment with my OBGYN and long story short, she prescribed me Clomid and another pill to induce my cycle. After three months of this, we were still not pregnant and found ourselves needing to pursue infertility treatment.
At our first consult with our infertility doctor we were told that we had about a 2% chance of getting pregnant on our own. After hearing these words, I felt like I had been stabbed in the heart, but this was followed up with information that if we did infertility treatments, we had about a 60-80% chance of getting pregnant. Well sign me up (and start emptying the savings account) because infertility treatments here we come! We started with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or “getting turkey basted” as my friend always joked. After three failed IUI’s, it was time to move forward to InVitro Fertilization (IVF). Concurrently while pursuing infertility treatments, my husband and I looked into all of our other options to start a family, including surrogacy and adoption. We decided to pursue adoption while going through infertility treatments.
I had such high hopes for our first IVF cycle, but it quickly deteriorated with each negative blood test. Before our third IVF transfer, my husband and I agreed that we would “turn on the green light” and begin the matching process with birth mothers if the cycle failed. We found out on a Friday that our third IVF cycle failed and on that following Monday, we were available prospective adoptive parents.
An unexpected path
It was my birthday of all days and I was at work when my phone started vibrating on my desk. The number staring back at me was “Maybe Our Baby,” the contact name I had given our adoption lawyer’s office. We were told about a baby boy that would be born in a few months and we couldn’t express our interest quick enough. Our lawyer shared our adoption profile, along with a few others, with the birth mother and told us that she would call us back in two days to notify us of the birth mother’s decision. These were two of the longest days I had experienced. As promised, we received notice that we had been picked. We were elated; we were going to be parents!
After a month of having our son, I was so smitten and told my husband, “I want another one so bad; let’s do IVF again.” I was comforted in believing that this next IVF experience would be different because no matter the outcome, we had our precious boy to snuggle and hold.
The day came when we were awaiting the results for our 4th IVF transfer. I entered the fertility clinic for my blood test with fear and not much hope. I hadn’t felt any symptoms and considering this was our 7th overall fertility treatment, I couldn’t fathom the result being any different than it had been in the past. I had been heartbroken so many times that I was too afraid to have hope. It generally takes 2-4 hours before the blood test results are ready and I knew I had to keep myself busy, no way could I go home and just wait. I went where distractions are plenty and the wallet is automatically dwindling down with every aisle traveled; Target. As I was walking into the store, I received a picture and an accompanying text message from my nurse saying “and this my friend is what a positive pregnancy test looks like.” She knew I had always wanted to see a positive pregnancy test and today was the day I finally did. She immediately called me and congratulated me and told me that she would call back in a few hours with my beta HCG level. I dropped to my knees in hysterics crying and screaming for joy in the middle of Target…I was actually pregnant!!!
After our daughter was born, we had two embryos left and we knew we wanted to try for a third child. Our fertility doctor told us that I had to be done breastfeeding for three months before we could do IVF again.
Once our three month waiting period was over, we transferred one of the two embryos left, and were told that we would receive the results the Friday before Mother’s Day. I went into the clinic, got my blood drawn and headed off for a distraction; I even wore the same outfit I did when I received the call that I was pregnant with my daughter…somehow it had to be good luck, right? My nurse called and informed me that while I was pregnant, my HCG level was really low and was most likely indicative of a loss. After a few weeks and several blood tests later, it was confirmed that we had lost the pregnancy. My heart ached. Years of infertility and now a loss? It all just seemed so cruel!
We had one more chance. We transferred our last embryo and that embryo happens to be my precious youngest son.
It’s been a long, emotional journey, but today we are a happy family of five. I am a proud (and super tired and sometimes overwhelmed) mother of a fierce 3.5-year-old boy; a kindhearted 2-year-old girl; and a cuddly, night time partying 6-week-old. My husband and I are outnumbered and we love it! Life is GREAT!
Imperfect Womb, Perfect Baby : : How I Became A Mother (Ashley’s story)