Taking the Road Less Traveled (published on 6/2/2016 on ‘Sammiches and Psych Meds’)

It was 2007 and I was spread eagle having a pap smear. I was informed that my cervix was positioned perfectly and I should have no problem getting pregnant. Great, I thought. Kids weren’t even on my mind at that point in my life so I was religious about using birth control. Fast forward two years and I would learn despite having an amazing position of my cervix, building a family would be no easy feat.

My husband and I tried naturally to conceive for six months. Each month came my period, countless tears and sadness. Each month, I would learn of another friend’s pregnancy. Of course, I was happy for my friend but also envious. ‘Why am I not getting pregnant?’ I thought. ‘What’s wrong with my perfect cervix?’. After six months of trying to conceive and advice from my aunt who is an OBGYN, I went to get checked out. I had abnormally high hormone levels and was advised the best way to try creating a family was through fertility treatments.

I was shocked. I was only thirty years old. Wasn’t I supposed to get pregnant? My plan was to get pregnant at thirty and then again at thirty-two and then be complete with my family. My husband and I began fertility treatments. I underwent a HSG test which was extremely painful and the results came back inconclusive. My doctor wanted me to repeat the test. I declined thinking of the intense pain. I began taking the fertility drug, Clomid, which kept me up for seventy-two hours. I underwent an IUI thinking, ‘I had the test from hell and took an awful drug. Surely, I’ll get pregnant’. Two weeks later my pregnancy test came back negative. My body failed me.

My OB wanted me to try two more IUI’S and different fertility medications. My aunt, the OBGYN, recommended forgoing this option and beginning looking for a reproductive specialist to attempt IVF. After completing research, I found a clinic where I felt comfortable. My doctor had high hopes of me getting pregnant due to my young age of thirty-one and the advancement of modern science. After signing many documents and shelling out a lot of cash, my husband and I began the IVF journey in hopes of starting a family.

After two cancelled IVF cycles (due to my body not responding to the medication), my reproductive physician encouraged using donor eggs. Apparently, my egg quality sucked. My husband no longer wanted to continue fertility treatments. Instead, he wanted to create a family via adoption. I, on the other hand, did not. I hadn’t mourned the loss of not having a biological child. I would never know what it was like to be pregnant. I would never know what it was like to bring a life into this world. I feIt I had failed my husband. I felt I had failed as a woman. My body failed me. I was angry, depressed and in denial. I was convinced my husband would leave me because I couldn’t give him a child. Luckily, I was wrong and our marriage became stronger. Through the unconditional love from my husband, friends, and support groups, I became stronger and realized we would be parents one day. We would not be able to form a family the traditional way but we would hear the words, ‘mom and dad’.

In 2011, my husband and I began the adoption process through a well-known domestic adoption agency. We went through trainings, interviews, background checks and a home inspection. Friends gave us recommendations. Our social worker asked what race and gender we were open to in our baby. She also asked if we were open to drug and alcohol abuse and mental health diagnoses. We created a ‘Birthmother Letter’ which was filled with pictures and information about us. About a month after being available to be contacted by birthparents, we received our first phone call. We met the birthmother, but unfortunately, she did not choose us. Two more years passed by and we had four more birthmothers who wanted us to parent, but ultimately, kept their child. The last situation was especially heartbreaking because we held the baby in our arms. The birthmother expressed she was ‘ninety-eight percent sure’ she wanted us to parent her baby girl. The remaining two percent took over her state of mind and she kept her baby. We were devastated. At this point, we had been trying for three years to start a family, whether naturally, via fertility treatments or adoption. My husband was depressed, moody, and snappy. I had developed alopecia, was depressed, was in therapy and was considering taking anti-depressants. In the beginning of 2013, for various reasons, we switched adoption agencies, which was the best decision we had made.

About two weeks after becoming active with our new agency, we were chosen by our daughter’s birthparents to become the adoptive parents to their baby girl. Two years later, we adopted a baby boy. The second adoption process was much easier taking only seven months from start to finish. Our family is now complete. My husband and my path to creating a family was neither traditional nor easy. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but in the end, well worth it.

 

 

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