Guest post by Michelle H.
Hi! My name is Michelle and Mary asked me to share my story with y’all….so here we go. (I’ll try really hard not to talk too long. Ha Ha!) I became an “instant mom” on January 2, 1998. My husband and I had struggled with fertility issues for 6 long years. Earlier in 1997 we had pursued adoption through a personal match, but it fell through in October of that year. Needless to say we were devastated. I remember sitting on the floor of the nursery we’d begun preparing, putting away baby clothes while sobbing and screaming at God. It was a dark time for both of us, but together we chose to set aside our adoption journey and continue to pursue IVF like we’d been doing before the match.
The morning after our 6th anniversary we received a call from our school counselor (we were both high school teachers) about a young, college girl who had a baby on Christmas Eve. She wasn’t ready to be a mom and wanted him to go to a good home, would we be interested? Would we be interested?!?! A more absurd question was never asked! Waiting for them to find the father, so he could sign away his parental rights, was the longest 4 days of our lives.
We got word on a Friday that we could come pick him up on Monday if we got all the papers in order. How thankful we were for such a dedicated lawyer friend, working over the weekend to get everything done for us.
When the nurse put that precious 7 pound bundle of love in my arms I was done for. He was perfect in every way, from his tiny toes to his bright blue eyes. He stole my heart the moment I saw him, and it’s still his after 16.5 years even though his toes aren’t so tiny anymore!
Our family of 3 rolled along joyfully for the next 3 years. Then the “baby bug” bit me again. I’d always wanted to be a mom, and while I was adoring my little boy I knew I wanted at least one more child. Our son’s bedtime prayers had even turned into a request for a baby brother or sister. My husband agreed and we began, once again, discussing IVF.
Why IVF, you ask? Well, I really wanted to experience pregnancy and childbirth. Our fertility issues are male factor, so the issue had never been me being unable to carry a child. The adoption of our sweet son was a total surprise, but adoption was not the avenue we’d been actively pursuing at the time. Now, we decided was the right time to do so. I was 29 years old and we knew the odds of IVF being successful fall drastically after 30, at least that was the case in the early 2000s.
Thus began the road of shutting my system down, sending it into hyperdrive to produce lots of eggs, retrieving those eggs, fertilizing those eggs, and then transferring the viable embryos hoping they “stuck.” The entire process is a blur to me.
I’m not a detail person and I tend not to keep mementos of occasions (something I’m sure I might regret one of these days) so when people ask me to share details of what I went through I have a hard time. I remember the hot flashes because of the medicine used to shut my menstrual cycle down. I remember the nurse asking me if anybody’d ever mentioned my polycystic ovaries…news to me! I remember giving myself lots of shots with my 4 year old looking on, fascinated. I remember the doctor telling me there were 5 viable embryos, but he would only implant 2 because the chance of multiple births was so high with IVF. I remember the grueling two week wait, wanting to take a pregnancy test so bad I about went stark, raving mad. I remember the moment we discovered TWO heartbeats, and the doctor asking if we should look for a third! I remember my mother’s reaction when we told her we were having twins (she about fell down and there was lots of joyful laughter). I remember being on a camping trip and having to borrow some friends’ camper so my husband could give me a shot in the butt every night because all we had was a really short tent.
The best things I remember? I remember the feeling of peace I felt throughout the entire process. Yes, the two week wait was insanely horrible, but there was peace in the midst of that insanity. I remember the happiness that overwhelmed me as soon as we found out the pregnancy test was positive. I remember the excitement (and utter terror) of the moment when we heard that second heartbeat.
My pregnancy went along uneventfully, especially since I was expecting multiples. I went on a trip to Disneyworld when I was 6.5 months pregnant, much to the chagrin of my mom and mother-in-law. I taught my high schoolers until I was 35 weeks along. I managed to make it to 37 weeks before the twins made their debut into the world. On March 12, 2003 our little family of 3 became a family of 5 overnight. Two beautiful baby girls joined our ranks. Our family was complete. Life was good!
I’d like to tell you that my struggle with infertility ended at that moment. I’d like to tell you that my desire to get pregnant the old fashioned way went away the day I gave birth to my twins. I could tell you that, but I’d be lying. I’m 41 years old now, the mother of a high school junior and two middle-schoolers, and some days I still get angry. We haven’t used birth control for 20 years and I still get PO’ed some months when my period starts. I want to miss my period, buy a pregnancy test, and have it be positive. But I don’t want to, either. You see, without infertility my family would look totally different and that’s something I can’t even imagine.
Becoming a mom has been an incredible journey. I’d have loved for that journey to be easier. I wish infertility wasn’t a part of my personal vocabulary. However, our adoption and IVF stories have become my favorites because they resulted in three of the best kids on the planet. My pregnancy after adoption story is different than many. I didn’t get pregnant because I finally “relaxed.” No, my journey to pregnancy was tenuous and could have been full of real heart break. Thankfully, IVF worked for us.
Maybe if I’m asked to guest post again I’ll share a little more of the humorous side of being a M.O.M (Mother of Multiples)…believe me, I’ve got lots of stories! ☺ For now, though, I wish you all the best sweet sisters. Take care of you as your journey continues!
Michelle is a married mom of three, a 16 year-old son and 11 year-old twin daughters. She is an instructor of educational technology and school library at Pittsburg State University. In her free time, she works on her PhD dissertation, which is why it’s still not finished!
Her favorite tshirt says “I never received my acceptance letter from Hogwarts, so I’m leaving the Shire and becoming a Jedi.” Yes, she is THAT kind of geek. Her God-sized dream is to take as many people with her to Heaven as she can. Can she tell you about her Jesus?