There is the parental pathway of having sex and getting spontaneously pregnant.
There is the pathway of years of fertility treatments and getting pregnant.
There is the pathway to parenthood through adoption…
And then there is me (and a few others) who get to experience the trifecta of all three.
Our Sweet P’s adoption finalized on January 5th in a five-minute ceremony where the county judge declared us her parents. I was an emotional wreck as I promised to love her, care for her, comfort her and protect her. In the midst of trying so hard to accomplish my dream of having a child, God guided me unknowingly down a path to parenthood that is not as well-traveled or known. I thank him every single day for unanswered prayers. Had any of my IVF’s worked out or previous pregnancies I would not have my daughter. To get to spend my days with her now makes every painful blistering moment of my journey worth it.
(Moments after the adoption was finalized. It’s also of me looking nice and plump at about 32 weeks pregnant.)
Today I hit full-term at 37 weeks with our sweet baby boy. I have not come around to the fact that this pregnancy is actually going to produce a living, healthy, beautiful baby. It feels too good to be true. Even with three weeks left I still worry every single day and every single hour about him. My one prayer and one wish is that he is healthy. (There has been nothing to indicate he won’t be). His baby shower has been thrown, his nursery is readied for his arrival, his car seat is loaded and I’ve stocked our freezer and pantry with enough food to last us a month without leaving the house. I’m physically as ready as I can be. Emotionally and mentally it feels a bit surreal to be welcoming my second baby within 6-month of the last. I am a bit awestruck by God’s grace and am having a bit of a “why me” moment. Not the “why me” of years prior, like “why do “I” have to be the one losing my baby or why do “I” have to go through these fertility treatments. It’s more of a how did I get so lucky to be handpicked by life to have an adopted daughter and biological boy this close in age???? People love using the word “epic” to describe pretty much anything these days, but for me personally the day I get to hold both of my children in my arms will be one of the most epic days of my life.
(Below: still getting after it at the gym with three weeks to go!)
“Is this your first baby?” and inquisitive cashier innocently asks while peering at my 8 1/2 month pregnant belly as she rings me up. I pause before I answer as my stomach does a quick somersault in to my throat.
When I smile politely and say yes to try to abruptly end the conversation I feel like a liar.
When I smile politely and say no it’s my second I have a daughter at home I feel like a liar.
When I smile politely and say no this is my second child and try to leave it at that I feel like a liar.
Sometimes it is life’s most simple questions that require us to produce the most difficult answers.
What I really would love to say is that I am currently pregnant for the fourth time and with my second son. The baby in my body will be my second biological child born and my third child in total. My answer really should be : “oh no this is my third child. I have a 5 month old daughter and a son in heaven”, but who has the time to explain that to complete strangers?
I also feel there is so much shock value in that statement that it is almost this “drops mic walks away” kind of moment.
I so desperately want to honor all of my babies, but don’t feel the need to be an open book with every well-intentioned stranger that crosses my path on the daily.
Every time the question gets broached (which is increasing more and more as i get further along) I get more uneasy with how I answer. It is a constant and consistent reminder of the loss of my first child. I also wonder how deeply to delve in to my daughter’s adoption as it will one day be her story to tell and not mine.
Deep breath. Sigh.
*I’m so sorry my picture is the first thing ya’ll see! I tried to hide it below the blog post intro and it’s not working for some reason.*
Tomorrow I hit 30 weeks of pregnancy! For some reason, I’ve held on to the belief that somehow and someway if this pregnancy made it to the 30 week mark it would all be a-ok. It’s my “safe place”. one fertility hurdle leapt, another thing to cross off my worry list. There is no logic or reason I chose 30 weeks, it just sounds and seems so… safe.
The past 7 1/2 months have been filled with a lot of praying and a lot of bargaining to get me here in one piece emotionally. I still worry, but my worry has shifted. Earlier on in my pregnancy I prayed not to lose him, now I pray that he will be healthy; that he will be physically and emotionally equipped to become whoever he wants to become.
On the day of his birth, the exact moment when the doctors tell me he is healthy,I will finally get to close (or slam) the book of my infertility journey shut. My reality has been that in addition to physically carrying my son for the past 30 weeks, I’ve also carried the emotional baggage of loss, failed IVF cycles, Mother’s Day’s with empty arms, the list goes on and on. I will have a proper cry knowing both he and I are finally safe.
Here’s me and my little guy in all of our 3rd trimester glory!
Facebook has a funny way of advertising to me at the exact moments when I am NOT pregnant! Le Sigh 🙂
To be a champion fight one more round – James Corbett
I’ve never been in a boxing ring. And the only time I’ve ever thrown a punch was back in the Billy Bank’s era during the early 2000’s when kickboxing was trendy. Life has certainly made me its punching bag a time or two. I know what it feels like to get knocked down and come up swinging. I’ve picked myself up and dusted myself off more times than I’d care to count at 32-years-old and some of my hardest blows have been about pregnancy.
Two years ago today after 18 weeks of pregnancy I delivered my son stillborn for reasons that to this very day are still unknown. The doctors called it a fetal demise. I called it not being lucky enough to miscarry. I don’t know what was worse…learning that my son had no heartbeat during my first ultrasound, spending 18 hours in labor only to walk out of the hospital with my arms empty or the emotional trauma I experienced each night when I fell asleep and saw my son in my dreams. There he was a blond haired blue-eyed piece of perfection. The problem was horrible things would happen to him and I could not save him. He burned to death; he was stolen out of my car at the airport. I accidentally smothered him to death when I dumped out a basket of laundry. As I dug through the laundry I could feel his heart beating and I could not get to him fast enough…
In July 2012, a little over a year later, once I re-gained my courage to fight one more round, my husband and I found out we were pregnant. By September we knew it was a blighted ovum and I miscarried.
Most recently, after every test imaginable, we went through out first round of stimulated IUI to end up with an ectopic pregnancy.
These are my stories from the ring of reoccuring pregnancy loss and infertility . I fill my non pregnant moments with random adventures because one day very soon I will in fact be pregnant for the entire 10 months. Until then it’s on to round number four…ding…ding…ding!