Two years later…
Sweet Pea just turned three. She’s just over 3 feet tall, has long, wavy, dark brown hair. She adores the color blue, and scrunches up the left side of her face when she thinks. She loves dancing with mommy to the Thomas and Friends Theme song after screaming, “Mommy! It’s our song!!” She loves pretending to be a dinosaur as I try to wash dishes, warning me to run away before it’s too late. She thinks raw carrots and grape tomatoes are amazing, and “green” (mint and chip) ice cream is right up there with chocolate chip cookies in her book. She digs in the dirt and twirls in her tutus. She loves to swing, and can’t pass up a patch of grass without running on it. She loves playing hide and seek (which consists of her hiding under a blanket, over and over and over again on the couch, and shouting “Here I am!” when we warn we’re coming to find her). She loves watching Daniel Tiger and dancing along with Mother Goose Club. She adores puppies and peanut butter sandwiches, her daddy’s daily homecoming, and… her baby sister.
Sweet Pea has a baby sister. She is now 7 months old. Her name is Abigail.
Had you told me 2 years ago that I’d be typing those words, I wouldn’t have believed you. Another foster/adopt child maybe? Sure, that was possible.
But Abigail is blood… born of my womb, God’s glory unfolding, a biological child of mine.
I’ve been wanting to share her story since before she was born. The difficult labor and recovery made me want to share it more.
But new babies have a way of taking up all your time, and what isn’t taken by them is eagerly grabbed up by the precious 3 year old who’s been forced to get used to sharing mommy. I’ve so longed to share this story, but the chaos of life has kept me from it. Weeks turned into months. And months, into more months. I almost decided ah, it’s too late now, nobody will care.
But then, God started talking. Through people. Through things I’ve read. Through songs.
Share your story, He said. Share it.
I attempted to begin a handful of times, but the chronic fatigue that sets in with nursing a newborn every 2-3 hours, all night long, stole any confidence I had to write coherent sentences that someone would actually find tolerable. Then she got a little older, and big sister would wake and insist I sleep with her. Then around 4 months, Abigail wouldn’t sleep unless I held her. All. Night. Long. On the couch, in the rocking chair. As long as I held her.
One day, as I was driving my little dears around while they napped, a song came on the radio that convicted me to follow through. The words penetrated my heart and again I felt God’s voice… “SHARE IT…”
The lyrics were simple, and I love them.
“To tell you my story, is to tell of Him.”
If you’ve read Sweet Pea’s story, you saw evidence of God’s fingerprints all over every speck. I love our adoption story. But, God was not done with us, with our journey through infertility, and the building of our family.
I briefly touched on our struggle with infertility in some of the early Sweet Pea posts, but I refrained from digging too deep in such a personal and heartbreaking struggle. But, to do Abigail’s story justice, I will have to. This will be a deeply personal emotional rollercoaster of a ride, but if you climb on board with me, I hope you’ll see the evidence of God’s love through every twist and turn.
Here we go.
February 2008, Sedona, AZ
“I do, I do, I do!” *wedding bells chime*
February 2010, Albuquerque, NM
“Let’s start a family!”
Two years later.
“Ummm… we don’t have any kids. I think something may be wrong.” (okay, so not our exact words, but you get the idea)…
July 2012, at the fertility specialists office.
“You’re young and healthy… I’d like to examine you and see if there’s anything going on…”
Ten minutes later I was lying on an exam bed, watching a little black-and-white 12-inch monitor reveal black circles amidst a gray fuzzy background. I had no idea how to make out the pictures, but the man who was holding that camera inside of me had recently been honored the title as one of the top ten fertility specialists in our nation. Though our relationship was just beginning, I trusted him.
My husband held my hand tightly as I lay there, exposed and vulnerable.
I had never experienced any health issues before, so I surely didn’t think they’d start now.
Then he opened his mouth.
“Looks like you have some cysts… see all these black spots? Those are endometriomas. Cysts inside your ovaries. There are one, two, three, four in your right ovary…” Then he proceeded to measure them, reading each aloud to his assistant who wrote his every word down on her clipboard.
My brain, as do most of ours when given any sort of bad news, began to race freely with all the what-ifs…
Cancer. I have ovarian cancer.
I’m going to die.
Dramatic? Yes. But I immediately remembered my maternal grandmother, who had spent the final years of her life struggling with ovarian cancer. Or was it uterine cancer? Or…? I couldn’t remember.
“Oh yeah, we’ve got some over here too… ”
His voice snapped me out of my head and back into reality.
He pointed to the screen, which was apparently showing my left ovary now.
“There’s a big one over here, let’s measure this one… and a few others hanging out in there too…”
My brain continued it’s race…
I wonder how long he’s going to beat around the bush. Just tell me the bad news, tell me…
Focus, Stephanie. The doctor continued to talk stats to his assistant, while interspersingly chatting about last Friday’s football game to my husband.
How could they talk football at a time like this?
My chest started heaving up and down, the lip quivered, and then the gush. I’ve never been a graceful crier.
The doctor kindly removed the instruments from my body and scolded me.
“Hey, hey, hey… there’s no crying in my office.” His tone was confident, yet kind, reminding me of Matthew Mcconaughey in The Wedding Planner. “We can work with this. I want to do some more tests, see how your tubes look… When was your last cycle?” “Twelve days ago” He did the calculation in his head. “We need to get that test done tomorrow then, if we have a chance at getting a clear picture of it. It may take a miracle. I am already over-booked tomorrow, as it is. We’d have to do it in the radiology lab of the hospital. There’s a high chance they won’t have an opening for us with such late notice, but we’ll try.” He smiled at me as he reached out his hand to help me sit up. “Stop that crying, okay? This is totally workable. We have options. We may even be able to get in there and clean it up, but we’ll get the other tests done then figure out where to go from there.”
Two hours later, his office called, saying they had been able to secure a spot both in his schedule and at the hospital.
The next day.
Once again, I lay there, bare and vulnerable, my husband wearing a heavy vest to protect himself from the radiation. The doctor came in, and began his examination, this time with a large scanning device placed right over my midsection. The screen he was reading from today was much larger. But like yesterday, his tests revealed more roadblocks. “Well, you definitely have endometriosis. Pretty significant, I’d say you’ve probably had it since you were a young teenager… It’s scarred your right tube completely shut, none of the dye got through. The left tube looks abnormal too, but some dye got through, so at least I know it’s open. So there is hope. Let’s have you back at the office after you’re all dressed and we’ll go over some options…”
Ten minutes later.
After reviewing the test results further with an assistant, we were given information regarding our three options:
- Try a low-tech treatment (the obvious choice)
- Try IVF
- Do nothing
Obviously, we agreed to do the obvious choice. It took a few months to mentally and financially prepare. Early November, we went in for an IUI. Intra-uterine insemination.
After the procedure was done, I left the doctor’s office feeling… I’d like to say hopeful. But that’d be a lie.
I knew it wouldn’t work.
A few weeks later, it was verified.
The negative test seemed even more taunting than it’s predecessors. After staring at it for minutes (incase it decided to change it’s mind), I threw it in the trash and stepped out of the restroom to join my husband. The hope on his face faded once he saw mine. A kiss on the forehead and his arms around me brought little comfort to my frazzled and tired heart, as I could hear the cackle of children’s laughter all around us. Tears flooded my face as I watched a dad lift his son onto his shoulders, and a mom cradle her daughters hand in hers. Families were all around us, and our barrenness seemed magnified, here, at this place. The most magical place on earth. Disney World.
I had brought the test here, hoping that it would give us such a memorable trip, a magical, wonderful reason for me to not engage on the rides because, lo and behold, I’d be one of the “pregnant” women the signs all warned with caution.
We tried to just put it out of our minds and have a good time. But everywhere we looked, there were kids.
“Mom, look at that!”
“Daddy, ride this with me!!!”
Every time we heard it, my husband squeezed my hand, showing me he’d heard it too.
We wanted a baby. I wanted a baby. I was tired of waiting.
The IUI hadn’t worked. And honestly, I didn’t feel like it’d ever work. It wasn’t that I felt hopeless about the treatments. But I felt peace-less. This wasn’t the route for us. And God was making it more and more evident to me with each passing day.
He wasn’t ready to open my womb just yet.
But there was another womb bursting with beauty. Full of a life He was forming for me.
Continue reading the story here.