The older I get, the more I realize that blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than both. Ten years and four months ago, I began attempting a journey that comes so easy for so many, but perceivably so difficult for us - to expand our family. Throughout the next ten years and four months, I would have miscarriages, prospective adoptions that never would happen, constant negative news from fertility doctors, and finally a failed IVF attempt. In that time, we gained one daughter, zero sons, and yet a whole lot of people who have shown a lot of love and support.
My emotions have been high and my hormones have been whacky since I have stopped the hormones for IVF, and I have found myself being hurt by things that would normally roll off my back or maybe not even be a blip on the radar under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, for my three most trusted friends, they have found themselves fallen victim to my constant insecure thoughts, dramatic ramblings, and late night worries.
Over the course of the past month, I have been trying to cope with yet another closed door, wondering where open doors lie. I try to come to terms with the fact that my dreams of a big family may not look the way I always imagined. Truth is, I never thought adoption would be so hard. I never thought conceiving would be near impossible, I never thought money would play such a huge factor in the growing of the family.
Don't get me wrong, I knew it might be hard, I had a gut feeling from a very early age, but how hard was something I never realized. Another thing I never realized ten years ago as this journey began, I never realized how big my family truly could be without adding children.
When I was third through fifth grade, I had one friend. Sure, I had many other friends, but only one real friend. I had a very narrow view of my family. I felt very alone, and decided when I was in eighth grade that I was going to have a big family, and I was going to try to encourage my kids to have a close bond, because I didn't want my kids to feel alone like I did.
I would daydream about how many kids I would have, while other girls were daydreaming about boyfriends.
Things changed in tenth grade. It was the first time I began building friendships that would be long lasting, aside from my loyal third grade best friend.
At thirty-three, I have a changed perspective.
I have prayed my entire life that I would have a big family, that I totally didn't realize that although I never got pregnant (and stayed pregnant) and I only succeeded in adopting one child, my family had grown huge!
If I were to count the number of true friends, I can confidently say the number is more than one.
Just as in normal families, I have lost contact with some for one reason or another. When I thank God for those he has placed in my life, I thank God for the lost ones too. They may have chosen to not have me in their lives, but I am thankful they were part of my life even for a short time. I still love them, think about them, and wish them the best. The same thing happens in families made purely from blood bonds. Yet, when that person walks back in your life, you open your arms wide and welcome them back with cheerful hearts and loud praises.
I get hurt by some of them, that doesn't make them any less important. Usually the pain that was caused has more to do with hormones and outside circumstances than the action of the offender. I find I forgive often and apologize a lot. I may not trust all that I love, but I love many people as much as I would love a sister or that I love my brothers.
I then realized, God gave us a desire towards family, not because he wants everyone to procreate, but because he wants people to build relationships. He wants people to grow old surrounded by loved ones, whether they are biologically related or not. He never intended family lines to be only biological. Take a look at Jesus, his earthly father was not biologically related to him, yet when the Bible follows Jesus's genealogy, he follows through Joseph's line not Mary's.
So over the past ten years, I have begun to redefine family. Some of you may not realize you are part of my family. Some of you may not share the same love I have towards you as you do towards me, but that's okay. Some may reject me, some may hurt me, but I am learning family is not an exclusive club that you have to either be born into or married into. It's a choice to love someone unconditionally, and because of that, my prayer for a large family has finally been blessed.
I had an appointment today for IVF.
The Plan: Do an ultrasound, meet with nurse, decide IVF start date.
Outcome: Did an ultrasound, met with nurse, did not decide IVF start date, because...
Therefore, I get to go again, next Friday, where they will assess whether my cyst has shrunk. If it has, then we may just wait until it disappears. If it has not, then I get to have it drained. Either way, the minimum delay is about a week and a half. So instead of a mid-June date, we are looking at a late June early July date.
Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I could have gotten worse news. I'm only mildly concerned. Just another day in the waiting game. I've waited four years (since we adopted Emily) and ten years since I first tried get pregnant. What is another week and a half. Right?
I have had a multitude of people tell me they didn't think I should do in vitro. Some were because of fear for my life, some fear for my health, and others are morally against it. I can understand each and every single one of these concerns, but I can assure you we would not be doing it if we didn't have the confidence it was the right decision for our family.
First, for those who fear for my life. Despite my complicated medical history, my life is not at risk if I were to get pregnant. Although I had a pulmonary embolism, it was not caused by factors that would make it more likely for me to have another one. Pregnancy has taken the life of many women, and I am not taking this lightly. I know that there are many things that could go wrong if I were to get pregnant that could either harm me or the baby. The thing is, anything likely to happen to me, is just as likely to happen to any other woman.
For those who fear for my health. I have talked extensively to all my doctors. I have learned that there are minimal risks. The stats are in our favor, and in fact, they actually have said that my health is just as likely to improve as it is to get worse. Whenever someone gets pregnant, their entire chemistry changes. This sometimes works in their favor, and sometimes works against them.
In my life I have attempted to accomplish many goals. I have accomplished approximately, 0.1 percent of them. Though despite my great failings, there are many things I am proud of. Here is my top ten list in no particular order.
1. I adopted my daughter.
Although I can only say this is an achievement as much as a mother can say she found success in giving birth to her child, but this was one of my biggest blessings and I am quite proud of it. I am so thankful and happy and wish everyone could understand how great a love you can have for someone else, like you do for a daughter.
2. I have never been drunk... As in never, ever, not once.
I do not have a problem with alcohol, I do not have any moral objections to having an occasional beer, margarita, glass of wine. Yet, for most my life, I assumed if I ever got drunk, I might stay that way. So I decided to abstain completely.
My daughter always makes me laugh at some of the funniest and most ridiculous things she says. Since we have been trying (and still trying) to adopt through the foster care system, my daughter initially hoped that we would do that instead of in vitro. We've been preparing her for this for quite awhile. Initially, there were insecurities about whether we would love a biological child more than her, but yeah, yesterday confirmed that those fears are no longer there.
She, however, does have other concerns. Including, but not limited to:
After six years of infertility, she was blessed with the adoption of her oldest daughter who now is a teenager. Six years later, she finally became a mother a second time, this time with a baby through a donated egg and ivf. Throughout that time, she fostered nine babies and toddlers, met wonderful women who helped her grow, and learned to rely on Jesus. She started this blog with the hope that she could share her joy, experience, and willingness to grow with others, whether they battle infertility, toddlers, or teens.