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The beginning

This was written April 4, 2006

I met DH in September 1995.  I knew very quickly that he was different, and the best person I’ve ever known.  We were engaged within a year of meeting, had a long engagement, and married on May 12, 2001.

DH was adamant from day one that he wanted kids.  I was adamant that I didn’t.  It was something that I knew tore many couples apart, and just enjoyed the time we had together while we had it.  I did tell him I’d be willing to adopt one day, but I didn’t want to give my genes to any child… he wasn’t receptive to adoption at that time.

DH and I had a wonderful first year together.  Our second year was great the first half of the year, but the second half became strained.  Our relationship was in trouble.  I had had a miscarriage the summer of 97 (unplanned, honestly didn’t even know I was pg).  Was unaffected by this miscarriage.  DH was unaffected by this as well.  Then DH got sick.

At first we thought he had the flu, then mono.  It ended up being Leukemia.  I knew this was a “make or break” situation.  Things happened the previous summer, I made some decisions that really hurt DH, and I knew he was breaking away from me.  I didn’t want this, and told him numerous times that I was sorry for my choices and that I wanted a second chance.  When he was first diagnosed, he offered for me to leave, with his blessing.  He didn’t want to drag me through his suffering, and he didn’t want me to watch him die.  I told him I didn’t want to leave.  He would offer this a couple more times, but eventually believed that I wanted to be with him.  I would much rather have been there for him during his scariest hour than apart and wondering how/where he was.  A year before we met, he had open heart surgery, and his gf at the time left him because it was too much reality.  It devastated him, and I did not want to hurt him this way.

He is well now.  His treatment made him sterile.  He was able to bank his own sperm before radiation, but after chemo.  The radiation is what would make him sterile.

He banked a few specimens for future use.

During his treatment, I got pregnant before he was sterile.  I didn’t figure this was even a possibility until I was about 4 months.  I figured the missed periods were due to stress.  When I found out I was pg, I was surprisingly excited.  I figured this would give DH a reason to fight harder.  At this point, he was really struggling emotionally with his illness, and he was convinced he wouldn’t make it. 

When I told DH I was pg, he didn’t even skip a beat, and told me to get an abortion.  I was mortified.  I always thought I could have an abortion until I actually had that in my face, and I told him from that moment, that there was no way I could do that.  At this point, we knew he was sterile, and I thought this would be our only chance and I thought that he’d fight harder.  He still begged me to have an abortion.  I was living with his mom at the time (he was living in the hospital) and she pressured me daily about this, too.  I told her I would never do that.  It wasn’t right for me.  I ended up miscarrying on Feb 8th, 1998.  DH was crushed when this happened, and his mom was very sweet when I got home from the Dr’s that day, but I was so angry at her and told her I knew this was what she wanted and was not very nice to her.  This is when I realized I did want bio children.

He finished college, and in 2000 asked when we could start the IVF process.  I told him I’d rather have our wedding first, then start.  So we were married in May 2001.

We were waiting for the “right time” after our wedding, but once he had suggested starting a family, I couldn’t wait.  So I started to talk about it I’d say in August of 01.  He kept saying he wanted to but it wasn’t the right time.  Then Sept 11th happened.  I felt that I didn’t want to bring a child into this kind of a world for awhile.  But during the holidays all I could think about was sharing them with our kids, so I made peace with the fact that the world is sometimes crappy and dangerous and we decided we’d start IVF in January.

We started at the hospital where DH’s specimens were.  We assumed since they were so great in curing him of his Leukemia, they would be great for IVF, too… they weren’t awful, but not great either.  We had a couple of pregnancies, and know confidence in their staff, during this time.  A few miscarriages.  One was especially difficult, we had seen the heartbeat.  From the first day of the positive test, our Dr. tried to talk us into terminating the pg because the numbers were so sporadic.  But I was having Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which is a very good sign in IVF and I didn’t want to terminate the pg unless they could prove it was an ectopic pg.  Then, and only then, would I do this.  So the day I went in for a scan to prove it was in my tube, lo and behold, there is a heartbeat… and the pg is in my uterus!!!  The scanning Dr. told me that there was a 90% chance all would proceed to a healthy birth.  Well, my IVF Dr. had taken me off my progesterone shots a week earlier assuming I was miscarrying and I suspect that contributed to the miscarriage.  We had these remains tested, it was a chromosomally normal male.

At this point, I was already tired of the IVF.  I looked into a couple adoption agencies but was discouraged by the costs.  Decided to try for one more year.

So we moved in 2003 and changed clinics then, too.  This clinic was AMAZING.  From oven mitts on the stirrups (sounds silly, but really a much more homey touch) to the confidence they exuded by knowing our situation when they called us each and every time, they were completely different, a breath of fresh air really.

The clinic did one cycle and we miscarried.  They did a significant workup on DH and I and found that I have Antiphospholipid syndrome.  They did another cycle treating this, we miscarried again.  Then they did more workups on us, to check our chromosomes.  Turns out, DH has many significant chromosomal anomalies.  This realization was devastating.  The Dr. told us we had no chance.  I remember the day I received the call.  I left work devastated.  By the time I got to my car in the parking lot, I had an epiphany.  I recalled that many years ago, when DH had his Bone Marrow Transplant, his oncologist told us that if he ever had kareotyping (the chromosome testing) that it would come up irregular because he has his sister’s bone marrow in his body now.  So I called the Reproductive Endocrinologist right away.  She was fascinated and receptive to this and called around to some of her professional contacts and learned that this was true and made since.  So..  the question was, did his sperm have the same anomalies?  Did his chromosome problems always exist or were they the biproduct of his cancer, chemo, or radiation, or a combination of them?  Technology does not exist to test just a sperm so we decided to have chromosome testing on our embryos.  Which meant, one more cycle.  I was so tired of the cycles.  I just wanted to move on.

For the last year I begged DH before each cycle to consider stopping.  My body was all messed up from it. My spirit was messed up, too.

He wanted to keep trying.  I asked him if we could make this cycle our last cycle.  No matter what happens.  No matter what the news is.  He reluctantly agreed.

This ended up being my worst cycle as far as side effects.  I got sicker than I ever have in my life.  I had the Ovarian Hyperstimulation again and they were able to extract 33 eggs (the most I ever had removed).  Just about all fertilized, but only 9 made it to the screening day.  When the results came back, all but one had anomalies.  They cautioned us that the technology only exists to screen 10 of the pairs of chromosomes, so any of the other pairs could be abnormal.

We moved forward with the seemingly normal embryo.

We got pg.  We miscarried one last time.  On February 8th, again!  The dr then told us that it likely had an anomaly and that they are very sorry, but we should accept the fact that we will be unable to be biological parents.  We were so grateful to finally have an answer.  I had an easier time transitioning to adoption than DH, I think because I always knew in my heart that this was not going to happen for us.  I could tell the minute I was pg and I could tell the minute I miscarried…before I had any symptoms.  I always knew.  And in the same way, I knew we wouldn’t have bio kids.

So, that weekend, we went to an adoption agency for orientation.  We applied with them immediately and had our homestudy done by May.  We had a couple of matches, one even before our hs was complete, that we walked away from for monetary reasons.  We had matches that the pbmom’s fell off the face of the earth.  One in particular was difficult, we were really concerned for pbmom’s health and just wished to know if she was okay.  We still wonder about her.

I had started to give up hope… I started having that same nagging feeling that this would never happen, that we would be childless.  This isn’t the end of the world, but for four years we put all of our attention on beginning a family.. three years through IVF and one year through adoption.  We weren’t taking vacations, we weren’t doing anything because I needed to be near the Dr’s office…  Our lives, and our life together, were on hold.  I wanted to give up.  DH was very strong and kept saying that we’d be parents eventually. 

I considered at the end of 05 asking the agency what money we could be refunded, and changing to Guatemala adoption.  DH didn’t want this, we’d lose a good amount of money if we did this.  I was desperate.

We agreed to see the two years through with this agency.

Mid December 05 we received a call from an expectant couple.  They told us in the first conversation that they were unsure of what they wanted, they were only considering adoption as an option at that point.

We talked a few times and met during Dec.  On New Year’s Eve, they called us to tell us they decided to make an adoption plan, and they wanted us to parent their little girl.  We were excited, but very reserved.

PBmom was due 3.5.06.  We had a couple more visits.  At one visit, DH and I joined pbmom and pbdad’s sister for a tour of the maternity center.  It was beautiful, and emotional.  At this visit, pbmom gave us a beautiful 4 D ultrasound of the baby and a bunch of clothes and supplies for the baby.  They had started collecting things when they considered parenting.  And wanted their little one to have these things.

Then we had a meeting with DH and me, pbparents, my mom and dad, and pbmom’s mom, pbdad’s mom, aunt, g’ma, and youngest sister (5 at the time).  The meeting went beautifully well.  The pbmom’s mom gave us a teddy bear for the baby and the pbmom gave us a swing for the baby.

March 5th came and went and I was a beast that day!  I was so sad and convinced that this was a sign that things were going to fall through.  And I just wanted to know so we could move on. 

March 6th, I went to work, and started to train my replacement.  On my way home from work DH received the call, and he called me.  We were at the hospital by 8:00 that night.  B had her baby at 11:55.  DH and I (along with my best friend who came along for support) watched from the hall.  B told me after that I could have come in during the pushing (I had been in there during her labor and stepped out whenever they came to examine her, and just didn’t go back in when she started to push) but I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries, and I’m glad she had that time with her family, and that I had that time with DH.  The hospital is very adoption friendly so they set up the warming station at the end of the room where we had a close view and brought the baby over there right away.

I stayed the two nights in the hospital with B, at her request.  The first night, we stayed up playing cribbage in virtual silence.  We both were emotionally numb I think.

The next day we talked a bit.  Pbdad’s family came and all held the baby and all said goodbye to her.  I took pics of each of them with her, for them, and for the baby.

B asked that I leave for a few hours, so she and pbdad have some one on one with their daughter and so they can have a nice dinner together as a family.  I left and looked forward to a nice nap.  I just fell asleep and received a call from B, she was pretty upset and asked that I come back.  Turns out that pbdad was not in the mood for a dinner or any kind of social visit and the visit ended up being business.  They called their atty who came right away to go over preliminary paperwork with them instead.  I felt so bad for B, I know she really wanted special time with K.

That night pbmom’s mom came.  DH, my friend, and I all got up at one point without saying a word or exchanging a glance, but at the same time, making up our own silly excuses to leave so they could have privacy.  We stayed out of the room for what seemed like an eternity.  Probably only an hour or two.  DH and my friend were getting tired and decided to head back to their hotel, so we all headed back to the room so they could say good evening to pbmom and her mom. 

DH and my friend leave and pbmom’s mom says goodbye to the baby.  She goes to say goodnight to pbmom and she ends up holding her for, well, for a very long time.  I hear sobs and I don’t know what to do.  Do I stay?  Do I leave?  If I leave, do I bring the baby (I had the other wrist bracelet, B asked if I would wear it so I could bring the baby to and from the nursery as I wished) with me, do I leave her in the room.  If I leave her in the room and she cries, will that not allow pbmom and her mom to talk about whatever they need to talk about?  I decide to sit and wait for B to tell me to leave, I know in my heart of hearts that she would tell me to go if she wanted me to.

Things get quiet and I look over to see pbmom’s mom holding pbmom and rocking her in her bed.  It tore my heart out.

Pbmom’s mom decides to go, pbmom invites her to come to our hotel room that Saturday after they sign their surrenders to say goodbye.  She tearfully tells pbmom that she just did that and thanks but no thanks, and she leaves.

This brings pbmom back to tears.  I just crumble now when I look at her.  I told her I am so sorry.  I am sorry for her pain, sorry that she feels so torn, sorry that she is in her situation.  She tells me that she’s not torn.  What had happened was when her mom hugged her goodnight, pbmom started to cry lightly.  Her mom told her “Don’t do this.”  Pbmom took it to mean don’t do the adoption.  Which caused all the emotions to come to the surface.  Her mom explained that’s not at all what she meant, that she is supportive of her decision and she meant don’t make her cry…..  We had an amazing talk that night.  We really bonded.

We talked about our fears.  B told me she feared that KS would grow up feeling that her bparents didn’t love her.  I promised her we would teach her daughter that she was relinquished for adoption out of the most selfless kind of love only a parent can have.

I told her that I feared KS would grow up hating us, and say to me that she wants to be with her “real mom.”  B was so gracious about this and told me to remember to love KS even when she says that and to know that she’s only saying it out of pain. 

So the next day they filled out the paperwork for her BC.  B asked if we’d consider KS instead of KM as we had wanted.  I listened.  She told me that “M” was a very painful name for her, she had a very bad experience with someone with that name in her past.  I was so happy she told me this because I would not want her to affiliate that person or those emotions with her little girl.  I agreed to the KS.  I told DH and he agreed to it, too.  It made so much since, and we were happy… each set of parents gave her a name.  I think that will be comforting for KS as she gets older and understands more.

That afternoon, pbdad called to say he was on his way to pick pbmom up… he didn’t want to see us, but was only 15 minutes away.  B asked if she could have a few minutes alone with me and KS.  She held KS and cried and kissed her and told her she loves her… the only time she said it.  I tried so hard to be strong… I didn’t want her worrying about me or my emotions.  Then she handed her over to me and I couldn’t hold it in any longer.  I told her how much we respect her, and how much we love her.  And I told her I was sorry again.

I put KS in her car seat and DH came in to help me carry stuff out.  B told DH to love KS, and tell her he loves her, because B’s dad never did this for her.  DH promised to do this.

We had to find a nurse to check our carseat before we could leave… and our nurse was at lunch, and pbdad was due there any minute.

We found someone, she checked it, and we literally ran out of there so as not to run into pbdad.  It felt awful.  It felt a little scandalous.  And when we pulled away, it began to feel real.

We spent that night at a hotel.  DH and I barely slept.  The next day we checked out and took her to her first pedi appt.  Got a call at that appt that pbparents were making last minute requests.. they wanted the post placement agreement filed in court and approved before they signed their surrenders.  This would take time, and would push back their signing, which was terrifying.  The agency director/SW asked us to come back out to her part of the state to sign papers to allow this to happen and to stay nearby in a hotel just in case they need us again.  So, we’re back in a hotel that night.

We talk to B and she tells us that they are not having second thoughts, just want to ensure we’ll stay in touch.  After some time, she said that she trusted even if this agreement were not upheld in court that we’d still honor it out of respect.  We told her we would.  They signed the papers Saturday.

They came to our hotel that afternoon after signing a more unified couple.  They were so composed, I couldn’t believe it.  They brought us flowers and a thank you card.  We couldn’t believe that they were thanking us…they did so much for us and gave us a life by entrusting us to be parents to their little girl.  I don’t think they understand what they’ve done for us…  And how grateful we are.

We went home that afternoon.

Monday we had our expedited court date for the post placement agreement.  The judge was very sweet.  It was approved without any issues.

We’ve been in touch with the birthfamily several times a week through email and phonecalls, and will be having our first visit soon.  We’re looking forward to it.

That’s our story.  Probably forgot stuff, but you get the bulk of it.  We feel blessed.

DD is an amazing and strong little girl.  She’s more perfect than any child DH and I could have ever created together!  She is just right for our family, and she listens to her bmom’s voice when she calls.  She’s a smart little girl, I think she’ll give us a run for our money! 

Mamajewels

 Somewhere in MA

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2 Comments

  1. Posted January 13, 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    thank you mamajewels for sharing your story. i appreciate you sharing so much of your journey with us.

  2. Annabanana103
    Posted January 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    wow what a riveting story! thanks for sharing this very personal journey!


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