My wife loves to tell the story of our first date. Ten years ago, we were sitting at The Cheesecake Factory laughing and having a good time when we got to the “expectations conversation.” Without hesitation, I told her verbatim, “I want to be a wife and a mother and if those aren’t things you aren’t willing to give, then all I have to offer is friendship”. She was speechless.
A little older than me, she could not believe that I could make such a bold statement at 22, let alone on a first date.
I was sitting in my kindergarten class at Mark Twain Elementary when I first remember being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Gathered pretzel-legged in a circle, I anxiously waited for my turn to come. Wiggling with excitement and a smile, I told my entire class that I wanted to be a wife and mother. My teacher chuckled and said to pick something like an astronaut or the president, that I needed to pick an actual career. I felt a little embarrassed but didn’t waver. As the years passed, I got inspired to other career goals but there was one thing that never wavered. I knew that I was meant to be a wife and a mother.
Fast forward four years and we checked off my first wish. In April 2016, we got married and we were so excited to start building the future we had always dreamed of. The same year, I was also diagnosed with PCOS. With us being a same-sex couple, we knew fertility treatments were always part of the plan, but this threw a wrench in things. In 2017, we tried a “Hail Mary” treatment that wasn’t likely to work but was cheaper and seemed like a good place to start.
It was unsuccessful and I began my official journey to IVF. I researched so much and honestly felt like a professional IVF coordinator! Facebook had a ton of groups that turned out to be the best resource I could have ever asked for. And the next year, we were able to start our journey.
In September 2018, we transferred two healthy embryos and, not so patiently, began the two weeks wait. WE WERE PREGNANT! We were over the moon with excitement as we headed into our first ultrasound. I laid back on the bed holding Ari’s hand as she moved around to see. I saw that little baby on the screen and instantly started to cry. And then she said, “And this is baby number two.” To our surprise, we were pregnant with twins! We were shocked but ready for whatever was meant for us, so we began to plan a life with twin boys.
In January 2019, I was working when I felt a huge gush of liquid. I called Ari, honestly embarrassed, because I thought I had peed on myself. After hearing how much came out, she told me that I should reach out to the doctor, who had me come in immediately. The whole time driving there it still never occurred to me what was about to happen. The doctor did an ultrasound that revealed that Baby A had no more amniotic fluid. All that we could do was wait to see what would happen and if it would force my body into labor. I was devastated. I was only 17 weeks pregnant. We tried to be as hopeful as we could but a week later, I was rushed to the hospital where I would not only give birth to our two sleeping boys but begin a fight for my own life.
That day honestly felt like a blur, and still does.
I woke up to my loved ones surrounding me, ready to pour love into us. I woke up to a cooler bassinet that held my sweet boys, preserving them so I could have time with them. I woke up, no longer pregnant and not a mom to living children. I honestly wasn’t sure how I was supposed to go on another day. But I did.
The only thing that made me feel better was the thought of trying again and being pregnant again. Ari, willing to do anything to help heal me, heal us, agreed that we could try another cycle as soon as we were able. And we did. March came around and we transferred a single embryo, hoping a singleton pregnancy would be better, successful. We got pregnant again! I felt like I could finally move forward. Even though I had some anxiety, there was just no way it could happen again, right? Wrong. Almost down to the day, 6 months later, I woke up profusely bleeding and it never stopped. In July of 2019, I gave birth to our third sleeping son and had my life hanging in the balance, even worse than the first time. I woke up numb and stayed that way for quite some time.
Everything that I had ever dreamed of was gone. It slipped right through my fingers. The happiest time in my life ended up being one of the worst periods of my life. All that I had dreamed of since I was a child was being snatched away from me in an instant. I had always wanted to be a mom. Everything else in my life prepared me for it. Was this the universe telling me that I didn’t deserve to be a mom? And if it was, was I willing to accept that?
To be continued…