My journey to motherhood was as frustrating as a fat kid and an empty package of Oreos. Whenever I was hugging the toilet with morning sickness, with my husband, Matthew, holding my hair, I said “its ok! It means its working!” Or “I prayed for this!” And even now, during the trenches of motherhood, with sleepless nights or endless days, I am eternally grateful for being a mother, and remind myself that as hard as it will get, it can never be worse than the alternative. There was a time that I never thought I would be a mother.
Matt and I were married on a beautiful and sunny autumn in November of 2010. Life was bliss. I do not know how we survived with our low income or our first trashy apartment, but we were the happiest of newly weds. Being 25, I was anxious to get started on our little family. We agreed to wait just a year, so I could finish my degree and get more situated financially. Approximately a year later, we stopped birth control and began to “try” to get pregnant. Practice makes perfect! Am I right? Well, I started to wonder about 6 months in, surprisingly not panicking, just concerned, curious, confused as to why we weren’t pregnant yet. I was soon told not to worry, doctors won’t even discuss the issue till you’ve been trying for about a year.
The year mark came and passed, smacking me in the face. All my worst fears were coming true. There were so many feelings, the fear of the unknown was the most horrific feeling of all. Maybe I was in denial or oblivious to thinking it could happen to me. How is this happening? I’m doing everything, WE are doing everything we should be, we were good church going folk, I knew I had room to improve, and I’ve never thought infertility was for sinners but suddenly it felt like I was being punished or did something wrong, when my whole life I always determined to be my best. It took me probably another 6 months before I could even utter the word “infertility”. I remember calling to make the appointment, I wasn’t sure how to say it, and broke down in tears afterwards. It was my first time saying it out loud, that awful word. Every time I heard it or said it, I could feel my heart being crushed. Infertility, barren, empty arms. At about 18 months of trying we started hormone therapy (Clomid) to make my body ovulate, took my temperature, peed on a stick daily, marked my charts, scheduled sex like it was a chore. All while avoiding baby showers and baby stores, started to cry inevitably with each menstrual cycle. Even when random songs came on, somehow triggering my maternal instincts. I was convinced my life sucked. I was depressed. Matt was still hopeful, with his unwavering faith, and reminded me we needed to have faith in the Lord’s timing, and not our own agenda.
After 3 months of Clomid, my doctor recommended we see a specialist. The idea made me cringe. A specialist? Is this happening? Can we afford this?
Our first appointment with the fertility specialist, he asked us what it takes to make a baby. I was annoyed and in no mood to be patronized. I responded, rolling my eyes, “The stars and the moons to align!?” The doctor pondered a minute, chuckled, he said no and proceeded to explain how our reproductive system works. Having extensive medical knowledge, and taken several anatomy courses, I listened impatiently as he continued. He then explained which procedures were needed based on what we knew about my medical condition, which was nothing was wrong. As in, no missing ovaries, no plastic waste in my uterus. Everything was NORMAL. We then began the joys of IUI or inter-uterine insemination aka turkey baster. In summary, I began each cycle with a vaginal ultrasound to check my ovarian follicles and lining of the uterus, make sure we were good to go. I would then take an oral pill for 5 days, on day 5, I would do another ultrasound to check the follicles again. Then I would rush home to inject a shot of HCG hormones, which needed to be within an hour, and the clinic was an hour drive. No woman scorned like a woman stuck in traffic, trying to rush home, to make a baby! And not in a fun way. Then, after the self injected hormone shot, the next day Matt and I would do the insemination procedure. After which I was to continue another hormone daily until further indicated.
We got pregnant with the first try. What a relief. I’m not broken, maybe it was just poor swimmers, or a temporary set back. We were so happy! I surprised Matt by putting little baby shoes on his plate at dinner. We went to our first ultrasound and heard the heartbeat. I was 6 weeks along. They told us the heartbeat was weak but definitely present. It was Fathers Day that weekend so we announced to both families with delight.
We went in for another ultrasound and there was no heartbeat. We had prayed together before going in. My symptoms had diminished, I felt a void. We lost the baby.
It’s a interesting feeling, to share your body, and then feel an absence. The hardest part for me was that it, he or she, wasn’t passing on its own, I had to take a pill. I had to schedule my own miscarriage. Devastated, we went to a hotel for the 4th of July. It was the worst wait of my life. It took roughly 12 hours once I decided to take the pill. I had some minor contractions and I sobbed for hours as it was happening and as it passed. I couldn’t look at it. I just sobbed.
We took a 6 month intermission and tried the same procedure 2 more times. Pills, shots, violating ultrasounds, and no luck. Each time grew harder and harder. Money was getting tight, emotions more intense, despair settling in. What if THAT was it? What if, even if I got pregnant, I was THAT person with multiple miscarriages? What if I can’t carry a pregnancy to term? I was crushed. I couldn’t help but wonder if we were forcing God’s hand, maybe we were never supposed to have children. Was my faith in God or in science? We discussed adoption, and what our options were. Our next IUI was in April, but it was a full blown snow storm that day. Angry at the world, I decided that was my sign and called it off. 3 yrs, empty arms, hormones and tears. I give up.
About 3-4 years into the process of trying to get pregnant, I decided to stop sulking! I was done being sad. It wasn’t that simple, I was still sad, depressed even. Heartbroken, devastated, but wanting to move forward. I shifted my thinking to a more positive outlet. I decided to start doing things that my pregnant friends couldn’t! I made a “Cradle List,” of things to do before kids came along. I tried several new things, like Sushi! Rock climbing, I went bungee jumping! We planned a trip to San Fransisco. I learned a new sport, soccer, and played on a co-Ed team. These things were fun and distracting, they did not cure my heartache, but they helped me climb out of the black hole of despair, and rejuvenate my marriage and focus on being happy.
A few weeks later, our friends were all going to Disneyland with their kids. Initially, I didn’t want to go and be reminded of how my close friends had multiple children, and we couldn’t even have one. Luckily, I swallowed my pride and went on possibly one of the BEST vacations ever. Sure, there were moments of sadness, but it was so fun being surrounded by the joy and happiness that comes with the magic of Disneyland that even we temporarily forgot our sorrows. Who cares if I was surrounded by other people’s kids? I adored these kids and loved seeing their faces light up with magic!
Shortly after being back to reality, it was Mothers Day. Ugh. Yet another day where I would have to listen to people talk about how hard it is to be a mom, or how the Lord “trusted them” enough to be parents. Dressed in my church clothes and ready to go, I began sobbing uncontrollably. I told Matt, “Please don’t make me go!” I stayed home, drowning in my sorrows, and an empty ice cream bowl.
The next day I got a call. I had a pregnancy scare, over Mothers Day weekend. Paranoia doesn’t cease with every little symptom, hormones and Dr Google handy. I wasn’t even the slightest bit excited, just felt like I had the flu but I wanted to rule it out before taking medicine. I had submitted a blood test on Friday, since I worked at a doctors office. The phone call was my fertility clinic, calling to tell me that I was pregnant. My heart stopped. My initial reaction was they had the wrong girl. No way… Me? But… I canceled my IUI, I’m not on hormones, did I even Ovulate this month? My thoughts were racing. They proceeded to tell me to take my hormones and arranged appointments to have an ultrasound. I actually had to call back the next day to repeat all the details because I was in total shock on that phone call.
I sobbed the whole drive home. I panicked. Is this really happening? What if… I can’t handle another heartbreak… My thoughts kept racing. When I got home, I realized I had less than an hour before my husband was coming home. I was still crying and completely unprepared for this shocking news! I wanted a cute elaborate announcement, so I scrounged around my house trying to find something cute. I found the former baby shoes, not ideal but short on time, I shoved them in my kitchen drawer. I started to make dinner since I was starving! Matt came home, hugged me and asked me to bless the food. As I began to pray, I lost total control of my emotions. All I could say was, “Thank you Heavenly Father for answering our prayers.” I couldn’t bless the food or even speak. Matt said, “Amen,” for me and then just stared at me. I smiled through my tears and said, “I’m pregnant!” And continued sobbing. Matt was shocked, big eyed and jaw dropped, he said “REALLY?!”
It was a spontaneous pregnancy. That’s what the fertility clinic calls it when no intervention was needed. I was 2 weeks along, so we proceeded with the scheduled ultrasounds and hormones. We eventually “graduated” the Fertility Clinic at 9 weeks along. I never needed hormones or any other interventions during the remainder pregnancy. I held my excitement until 20 wks, when we announced at a gender reveal party. That was the moment I actually realized it was happening for us, finally happening. Even though I had horrific morning sickness, every episode brought relief. Every day was still s surprise that baby and I were both healthy.
After 41 weeks and 36 hours of pitocin and not progressing past a 5 dilation, I delivered a baby boy via Caesarian. Sweet Caleb Matthew Rogers.
My OB laughed when less than 24 hours after giving birth, we asked when we could get pregnant again. She said we were the FIRST to ask that question so soon. Needless to say, she did not recommend any form of birth control, simply reminded us to be careful until I was mentally ready and able to handle another baby. We got pregnant again before Caleb turned 1. Totally shocked, again, at another spontaneous pregnancy. We now have two beautiful boys under 2.
Once again, Heavenly Father came through with His promise. He listens and answers our prayers. It may not be on an earthly time table, but He does answer prayers. Every family comes in different shapes and sizes, every child is a miracle! My testimony of faith and prayers are strengthened constantly. I may never know why we had to wait. Answered prayers don’t always mean getting exactly what you want, and when you want it. I regret being weak in my trial, I let my fear overrule my faith. I know that my Heavenly Father is there, He is aware of my needs and wishes. He knows exactly what I need and I am stronger because He pushed me to become so.