I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mom. There was really never any question about that in my mind. What I didn’t anticipate was the emotional roller coaster that we would be on in an attempt to grow our family. Problems with delivery and fertility were not something that I ever thought I would be faced with. Yet here we are. It has become a huge part of our lives, and although it is extremely difficult, I know that we will be okay. One of the biggest comforts I’ve had with this process is knowing that we are not alone. There are so many families whose stories are similar to ours. One of the reasons that I began this blog is to share our story, and to help people to become more comfortable sharing theirs.
Although we didn’t know it at the time, our road to adoption began on the day that our daughter, Olivia, was born. My labor began with my water breaking, just one day before my due date. I called my doctor and was told to come to the hospital. At that time, I wasn’t having any contractions and was joking about how this labor thing was really no big deal. After getting settled into my room, I was induced since my water had already broken. The first method didn’t work, and I still wasn’t progressing so they began Pitocin. That is when the real pain began! However even with the Pitocin, I wasn’t making much progress.
The next morning, there was a shift change in doctors. At that time, the doctor realized that I had developed an infection, and they needed to do a c-section immediately. I don’t remember being afraid of the c-section. In fact, I think at that point I just wanted that baby out! On the way to the delivery room we were told that the baby would need to be in the NICU because of my infection. I remember being so worried about her, and feeling guilty that my body was failing to do its most important job – keep my baby safe. (Luckily Olivia was completely fine, and received excellent care in the NICU).
At this point, I still didn’t think anything of the c-section. I figured they’d get baby out, stitch me up, and I’d be going to visit her in a couple hours. That was far from the truth! When Olivia was born, they found out that the cord was wrapped around her neck, and she never would have been born naturally. It took a few seconds for her to cry, and I remember saying to myself over and over again, “Cry baby, cry.” When she finally did, it was the most beautiful sound. They wrapped her up, and brought her over to my face. I was able to give her a kiss on the cheek, before they took her to the NICU. She had the softest cheeks I had ever felt! We were fortunate that that was the end of the drama for Olivia. However I wasn’t quite as lucky.
As the doctor tried to stitch me up, she realized that she could not get my bleeding to stop. She ended up calling another doctor in to assist, but still with no success. Jim had been sent out when Olivia was born, and had no idea what was going on. When the second doctor came in, my OB left the room to call Jim with the updates. I had found out afterwards that she had told him that she was trying to avoid doing a hysterectomy, but that at that point it was the least of her worries because she didn’t know if I would survive. I am so very thankful that, at the time, I didn’t know the true seriousness of my situation.
At some point I lost consciousness, as a result of blood loss. When I woke up, I saw that they were giving me blood (I ended up getting a total of 4 pints!) and that the room was full of medical professionals and students. I remember asking my anesthesiologist if they were almost done, and she replied so calmly, “Not yet, Sweetie.” Through the entire process, I just continued to pray. I prayed for God to give the doctors the knowledge they needed to heal me, and I prayed that I would be there to watch my beautiful little girl grow up.
Thankfully, not long after that things started to turn around. I heard one of the doctors ask a nurse to call ICU to see if they had a bed. I remember thinking, “That’s odd. Shouldn’t they finish taking care of me first?” Then I realized that after my 4-hour c-section, I was the patient needing the bed in ICU. By some miracle, and the work of my very skilled doctors, they were able to stop the bleeding and stitch me up.
After this experience I was adamant that I never wanted to go through another delivery again. I had thought about the idea of adoption, but then became preoccupied with my new role as mommy that I had forgotten about it a bit. As Olivia became a bit older, I knew that I wanted another child, and for Olivia to have a sibling. I spoke to my doctor about the chances of having complications with additional pregnancies. She didn’t seem concerned, but recommended that I meet with one of the doctors who was called in to assist with my c-section. He agreed that there was no reason for me to avoid becoming pregnant, so we decided to try for baby #2.
It didn’t take long at all for me to become pregnant. However, I knew almost from the beginning that things were not progressing the way that they should. The baby never developed a heartbeat, nor looked the way it should. I had follow-up ultrasounds to be sure, but there was still no growth, and no heartbeat. It was recommended that I have a D&C, which was supposed to be a simple procedure. Again, I had excessive blood loss. It wasn’t nearly enough to warrant a transfusion, just more than is typical. I developed a fever a couple days later, and went back to my doctor who performed the D&C, and she recommended that I have an ultrasound. As a result of what she saw and the infection, I was admitted to the hospital for about 48 hours. While there, I started to research adoption, but became overwhelmed by the cost.
At my next routine doctor visit, my doctor recommended that I see a hematologist to rule out any bleeding disorders. Thankfully all of my test results were normal. A few months later, we began hoping for another pregnancy, with no success. It was recommended that I see a fertility specialist. After doing some bloodwork it was determined that it is nearly impossible to conceive naturally. As a result of my history, I did not want to pursue any fertility drugs or other treatments.
Once again, I began researching adoption. This time with the confidence that this path was the right one. Although I still worry about the financial piece of it, I know deep down that it will all fall into place, with some hard work and creativity, or course! And as I look back on our family’s story it seems so clear to me now that we were always meant to follow this journey. Although I don’t know how long the process will take, I do know that the child who joins our family, is the one who was always meant to be ours.