Abigail's Story · Our Story

The Day Hope Died

I’d been nervous for days.

It was December now, and I knew we had to have the talk.

My husband thought we had to try the treatments at least a few more times. “Have one of our own” as people like to say.

But I couldn’t. It didn’t feel right.

And for the last 72 hours, it was all I could think about.

We went out to dinner at an Italian restaurant and sometime between the appetizer and entree, I mustered up the courage to tell him.

“I don’t want to do another treatment.” He knew how badly I wanted to start our family, and it probably seemed strange that I was already giving up hope. But I went on. “I know you want to keep trying, but… I wanna adopt.”

I half expected him to be my cheerleader, tell me to not lose faith, that maybe one or two more treatments would be all it would take. But he didn’t. Instead, he put down his fork, looked me in the eye, smiled, and said…

“Let’s do it.”

After visiting a local Christian adoption agency that offered infant adoptions, and sitting through a foster/adoption orientation, we considered what was before us.

We could:

a. Go with the agency and be guaranteed a newborn. We were told that we’d create a scrapbook of ourselves and our life, and that the birthmothers that came to them would have their choice of family upon looking at the scrapbooks. The timeline was very chancy with this, and we were told it could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years to be chosen. Though our greatest dream would be coming true, it came with a hefty price tag of around $30,000.

or b. Become licensed foster parents and pray that we’d get a child that would become available for adoption, something that only happened 40% of the time. If we went this route, we knew that the risk was high. We could have a child for years and they could get placed back with the biological parents after serious attachment occurs, leaving us heartbroken and having to start all over. The odds of a newborn were small… we were told that most likely we’d get an older child. I was okay with that. I knew God would bring us the right one.

It was actually a pretty easy decision.

After four months of interviews, home inspections, and classes, we became licensed foster parents.

The day we signed the papers, the most precious little girl became available, just 7 weeks old.

We met her two days later and brought her home.

We called her Sweet Pea and asked all our friends and family to pray along with us that she would become our forever daughter.

April 21st, 2014, she did. We left the court house, papers in hand declaring her legally ours.

Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe how happy we were that day.

We were over the moon.

(If you want to read our full adoption story, you can find it on the main menu at the top of this page, titled “Sweet Pea’s Story.” All chapters are listed there, in order, beginning with “This is for you.”)

***

Flashback to 2007

Fingers entertwined, we walked along the beach, near to the place he would later propose, and discussed our plans for our future family.

“I at least want 2 kids… maybe 3.” I said.

“Three’s a good number.” he replied.

We both agreed that we didn’t want an only child, not because we had anything against them (my husband is one, after all), but because we wanted him or her to have a forever friend. Like many parents, we hoped they’d be close.

May 2014

The pain came quickly, and was stronger than before. I could feel the pulsing burn, sending a sharp electrical shock, just underneath my front left pant pocket. Way deep inside. And it wouldn’t let up. One hand cradled the pain, while the other locked onto the table.

Go away, I willed it. Go away.

The sound of Sweet Pea’s chatter reminded me that I didn’t have time for this. I can’t deal with this here, now, when I need to be taking care of her. My husband was at work, and wouldn’t be home for hours.

I scooched back onto the tall brown dining chair, hoping for relief.

But rather, it grew worse. I began to fear that maybe something had happened. Did something rupture? Was I bleeding internally? What the heck was this pain?

I stared at Sweet Pea, oblivious to my anguish. Just playing away. The way a child should be.

My brain went back to the last time this happened. When I was hunched over on the bed, arms wrapped around my knees, shaking and crying, and unable to stop it. My husband had watched helplessly, the most concerned I’d ever seen him. He mentioned calling an ambulance. I said no. It’ll pass.

And it did.

Surely, it would pass this time too.

By the time my husband got home, it was gone.

And an appointment with my fertility specialist was booked.

***

A few days later…

The doctor took his gloves off slowly, his laughter, gone. He took a deep breath before beginning the conversation.

“Well… it’s uh… it’s gotten worse. It’s no wonder you’re having pain. Your ovaries don’t look good. There is just so much scarring.”

His manner was solemn, so different than before. After he finished his findings, he just sort of tapered off, not sure where to take the conversation.

I looked at my husband, and he, at me. Then I asked the question, not really sure at all I wanted to hear the answer.

“Last time we were here, you sounded so hopeful, like you really thought we had a chance of getting pregnant. But now, it seems like you’re saying we won’t?”

He paused for a moment, biting his lip, again cautious with his words.

“Look… I believe in miracles, but… no, I don’t think you’ll be able to get pregnant. I… I wouldn’t even recommend in-vitro at this point. The odds are just not there.” His eyes were sympathetic, and he hesitated again before continuing. ” I think you should start thinking about having your ovaries removed in the near future, before it gets worse.”

I glanced back to my husband, wondering if he felt punched in the gut the way I did. I wasn’t ready to hear this. I couldn’t wrap my head around this. Just a year and a half prior, this man was full of hope. Was confident that he could help us. Now, he verified he couldn’t.

Even though I had Sweet Pea, and hadn’t felt peace about the treatments before, it still bruised my heart to think that I’d never carry a child inside of me. The dream had always existed. But now the candle had just been blown out.

***

The rest of 2014 was full of intense joy over the fact that we had reached forever with Sweet Pea, and we delighted in her every move, every milestone, every giggle. She was our miracle, and every day was a celebration in our hearts at what God had given to us.

But, it was also a hard year, as we struggled to accept the doctor’s diagnosis. No woman wants to hear that she can’t have kids. And I was no exception. Pregnancy announcements still stung. Glowing women with round bellies still bothered me. And as I watched Sweet Pea’s social spirit come alive, I longed to give her a forever friend. Her little plastic ones suited her just fine for now, but I knew at some point down the road, she’d prefer a friend that could talk back.

I longed to give her a sibling.

We apparently weren’t going to be able to do it ourselves. But, the idea of adoption seemed so much scarier now.  Before, it was just our hearts involved. But now, hers would be too. How could we bring a “sibling” into our home, one that could get taken away at any moment? Especially when she was too little to understand?

The struggle waged on, and we didn’t have any answers. Nothing seemed clear.

As the summer faded to fall, I began feeling worse, physically. I worried about my endo, and contemplated the doctor’s suggestion. I think you should think about having your ovaries removed… 

I let this idea dance around inside of me for a bit, but as someone who had never had surgery before, and got queasy if a needle so much as came near me, I just couldn’t fathom willingly doing it.

Going under a knife. Having something removed. Not to mention what the surgery would do to my hormones, as it would throw me into what they call “surgical” menopause, 20 years too early.

No. I was not ready for that.

I put it off.

Wondering all the while if that was stupid.

Little did I know, it was the smartest thing I could’ve done.

 

Continue reading the story here.

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