Every child is a miracle, but some miracles take a little longer and a little more faith than others.
In order to tell my whole story I have to go back to 1966, the year my mom and dad were married. My mom had always dreamed of being a mom and got married soon after graduating high school expecting to start a family.
She would go on to wait 14 years before her dream was realized. During that time she had three operations and applied to adopt several times but each time they were accepted my dad was transferred to a new job in a new province. They moved 8 times in 10 years which left very little time for the stability that adoption agencies need.
In the early months of 1979 she had her third operation and was given a year to get pregnant. The year came and went without any sign of pregnancy. My parents went to Florida for a few weeks to just relax and regroup. And during that time the Lord finally said YES! Soon after arriving home my mom found out that she was pregnant and 9 months later I was born.
My whole life I have known this story and my mom has always reminded me of the importance of making the desires of our heart known to the Lord but then trusting His answer and waiting on His perfect timing. These teachings would give me great comfort and strength when I too faced infertility 30 years later.
I was officially diagnosed with endometriosis in December of 2005; however, I knew long before that the likelihood of this diagnosis was high. I had prepared myself from an early age that I may have trouble getting pregnant. When my husband and I decided we wanted to start a family and I wasn’t pregnant after trying for a while we didn't hesitate to reach out to our local infertility clinic. My endometriosis was quite severe so the fertility physician recommended that we skip fertility meds and IUI. He suggested three months of Lupron injections to try to shrink the endo tissue as much as possible and then immediately head into IVF. My husband and I had prayed a lot about various avenues that we could take and we felt at peace with the course of action recommended.
The months that followed were full of injections, blood work, ultrasounds, and overall feeling bloated and nauseous. I was also SUPER emotional. I bounced between over the top excitement that soon I could have a baby growing in me to despair that I may never get pregnant.
September 11th, 2011 I had the egg retrieval procedure. Although there were about 16 follicles, they could only retrieve 8 eggs. I was not prepared for the intense pain that I would be in post retrieval. I remember trying to walk to the corner that afternoon and I had to sit down on the curb only two houses away to rest and then returned home. (If you are headed into IVF please plan to relax the day of your retrieval!!!) I was miserable and also so eager to know if we had any embryos. Finally the call came that we had three embryos; however, they did not look great. I burst into tears.
THREE? ONLY THREE? All this work and injections and emotions for only 3??? I looked up at my husband with a tear stained face. I told him there were only three and that the nurse was not sure if they were going to multiply well or not. I will never forget the reassuring look in his eyes as he said "Noelle, we only need one." And in that moment I knew he was right. We had prayed that The Lord would allow us to have a child and we also prayed that we would not have decisions about what to do with unused embryos. My husband was right...we only needed one. Having said that, I kept reading the statistics and my chances of getting pregnant based on my age and stage of endo were 30% at best. I did not like my odds. But I continued to pray and have as much faith as I could.
The morning of September 14th we headed back to the hospital. We found out that two of the three embryos were doing well and we proceeded to hear about the pros and cons to both to help us decide which to transfer and which to freeze. The physician stopped for a moment and looked away.
I remember looking at my husband wondering what else the physician was thinking. He looked back at me and took a deep breath and said, "we are not in the business of making multiples so I usually do not recommend more than a single embryo transfer; however, this has been a very difficult road to get you here. I do not know if we would be successful trying again and I do not know if any embryo will implant. I think that you should strongly consider putting both of these good embryos in for the chance of maybe one working." I was hoping for this all along but my husband had been hesitant. He looked at me and nodded with a reassuring smile and told me I could make the final decision. We went for it.
The medical team at the fertility clinic said I could go back to work the next week, but I really felt that spending time with my feet up would make my body seem more hospitable to these little embryos :) Not sure if it mattered or not, but I spent the next two weeks relaxing with my feet up, praying, reading, and spending quality time with friends and family.
And the rest is history. On September 29th we found out that I was pregnant! A few weeks later we found out it was not just one baby but two!!! And at the end of January we found out it was 2 boys.
I was due June 3rd2012, but towards the end of February I had intense cramping and knew something was wrong. We went to the hospital and the medical team confirmed I was in labour but that the contractions could likely be stopped if they reduced my level of pain as I wasn’t dilated yet.
They gave me a steroid shot to move the babies’ lung development along and they inserted an IV with a pain medication that would not harm the babies. I have never felt so scared in my life. I cried and prayed for what felt like forever. As the medication started to work the pain subsided, the contractions stopped. Relieved doesn’t began to describe how we felt! After several tests it was determined that I had hydronephrosis, so I was admitted to the antenatal ward on strict bedrest. I missed being at home, but I loved that I was able to hear the boy’s heartbeats almost every hour every day. A sound I will never forget. Those sweet boys stayed inside of me for another 4 weeks but when labour started again at 29 weeks and 5 days there was no stopping it this time.
Wes, baby A, was breach so I had an emergency c-section and the boys were whisked off to the NICU. The doctor showed me Wes over the curtain, but I did not get to see Clay until hours later.
After the surgery I laid there feeling so many emotions that were the opposite of what I had anticipated feeling. I felt sad, scared, lonely, and guilty. I had two babies, but I did not get to meet them or hold them or even know if they were going to live.
The days that followed were hard. I pumped every two hours, watched the nurses shave the boys heads to get PIC lines in, and heard the NICU alarms go off CONSTANTLY. I longed to touch and hold my babies in a more “normal” way. But minute by minute and day by day we saw God’s amazing grace. He answered our prayers in so many ways. The boys did not have brain bleeds or infections, they reacted well to treatment for high bilirubin levels, they tolerated feeds well (for the most part), and they eventually learned to breastfeed. The NICU medical team was beyond amazing and supportive. After 49 days in the NICU our twin boys came home the day before Mother’s Day. This was the best gift I could have ever imagined!
Clay and Wes could not keep their blood saturated with oxygen while sitting up just yet, so they came home in car beds, but for everything else they were developmentally on schedule.
The year following was one of much isolation. We had to be very careful about germs to reduce the risk of RSV and pneumonia. It was hard at times, but it was the best decision we could make.
Eventually life started to return to a new normal. When the twin were 18 months we were really finding a good groove but I started to feel very tired and wasn’t sure why. I tried to ignore it but as I felt worse each day I knew something was going on. I wondered if my endometriosis had returned or something more intense.
Then one day I had this wave of nausea and it was like déjà vu….could it be??? YES! You guessed it…I was pregnant, and with no fertility treatments this time. This was a whole new miracle for us.
Baby Rhett was born July of 2014 and completed our family in a way that we didn’t even know we needed. But God did. And His timing was beyond perfect! I had a VBAC with Rhett and held him right away. My husband was able to cut the umbilical cord this time and we headed home within 24 hours of his birth. What an emotionally healing experience!
So that is my story of my journey to motherhood. Each of my boys have, in their own way, opened up a part of my heart, strengthened my faith, and given me more joy that I could ever put into words.
If YOU have a story to share, I want to hear it! You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell me more in the comments below or find us on Facebook or Instagram @shopbabyoctopi.
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