I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a mom someday. Sure, there were the outside influences: television, movies, baby dolls, my own mom and my aunts. As a little girl, I loved the idea of being in charge of a person. Getting to dress them and tell them what to do; this sounded fabulous to me. But I grew bored with my baby dolls and it wasn’t enough to “help” take care of my baby cousins or friends babies. I wanted a baby of my own and since I couldn’t have one, I put in a request with my parents.
Now, my parents had had a hard time conceiving me. They didn’t think they would be able to have a child and when I was conceived there was doubt about how healthy my mom and I were/ would be. As it turns out, everything turned out well but my parents would not be having more children. They couldn’t just give me a baby sister or brother on demand.
When they explained this to me (I think I was eight) I had the perfect solution: Adopt a baby! They told me they didn’t think that was such a good idea at that point and I remember pleading with them that I needed a little sister or brother. When they continued to say no, I remember offering a compromise. I wanted them to adopt a baby in their names, but the baby would be mine. I would raise it as my own and let them get the credit. I thought it was the perfect plan. They did not. I was disappointed, but I dropped this whim fairly quickly and I think I started plotting for another dog instead. If you can’t have a baby, a puppy is almost as good. Oh, eight year olds.
Years passed. I got married when I was nineteen (just a couple months before my 20th birthday) and baby talk seemed to surround me from his family. People I worked with or went to school with assumed I must have a baby or be pregnant since I was so young and married. Deep down, I knew I was in no place to be having a child. I was naïve. I had too many things to learn still. I had married someone I didn’t trust, who scared me. I was in that marriage for nearly six years and I had accepted that I wouldn’t get to/shouldn't be a mom. I couldn’t imagine bringing a child into the life I was dealing with. I wouldn’t subject anyone to that willingly.
I met Daniel almost a year after I’d left. Things quickly progressed from “friends” to more and after a few short months, I began to see him as someone I could live with for the rest of my life. He had quickly become my best friend, my partner, someone I could see myself marrying. I knew that if I did ever get to be a mom, he was the one I wanted to do it with. He made me not want to be alone anymore.
So, we moved in together. We got a dog child (Bailey). We grew together. We discussed having children. We discussed marriage. We discussed not having children. We discussed marriage some more. After almost two years together, we stopped discussing and started planning a wedding. We were married 6 months later and I wasn’t entirely sure if we’d be having kids or not – it didn’t matter to me as much anymore. Not because I didn’t love children and want one of my own. Not because the idea of us having a child together didn’t make me want to squeal with excitement. I just knew that committing to Daniel was one of the best things that would ever happen to me. I knew that having him as a life partner was going to be this amazing adventure and that if we chose to have kids, that would be icing on the cake. I had seen both sides. I’d been married to a man who frightened me – who I knew would be a horrible father. Now I was with someone who I knew would be an extraordinary father if we decided together it was what we wanted. If we decided it wasn’t right for us, we still came out ahead and happy. Win/win situation.
Three months later, (September) we got another dog child (Max).
One month after that (October) we were discussing starting a family.
One month later, (November) we were trying.
Six months later, (May) we were being referred to a specialist in Thousand Oaks because my body was working against us. I wasn’t ovulating. I wasn’t having a period. I was insulin resistant and one of my tubes looked weird.
We were both tested for infertility. The docs found that I just needed a little help. I needed procedures done to flush out my tubes. I needed to give a lot of blood for testing. I needed to take three different kinds of pills every single day and have medication injected into my tummy when the doc said so. I needed to have tons of ultrasounds and exams done to check my progress. From June to almost the end of September, we made dozens of trips from Bakersfield to Thousand Oaks as part of our journey in becoming parents.
On September 19th, I took a home test (very early in the morning) and afterwards rushed into our bedroom to tell a sleeping Daniel he was going to be a dad. We laughed and cried a little and then he fell back asleep so he could be somewhat rested for work and rehearsals that night. I stayed up beaming. I couldn’t sleep. I took two more at home tests that day and one blood test at a local lab. I felt like I needed someone to pinch me so that I would know this was all real. I couldn’t think about anything except being pregnant and how our life was changing. It was an amazing day.
Twenty days later, we were back in Thousand Oaks for an ultrasound to see Zocon’s heartbeat. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the heartbeat to come in focus and when it did, I squeezed Daniel’s hand tight and started crying. It was strong and real. I really was pregnant.
We were back ten days later to check Zocon’s and my progress and then ten days after that, we were back again for our last appointment at the fertility clinic. We were told that my body had accepted the pregnancy and they fully expected everything to go well. I was released from their care and we made an appointment with a local OB/GYN.
It’s been almost 24 weeks since then and it has been an adventure. Morning sickness. Exhaustion. Crazy hormones. I don’t think there has been a single time in the past 34 weeks where I have not checked for blood just in case the docs were wrong. This pregnancy is very real and Zoe’s arrival impending, but I am always on alert for it to be taken away from us. It took weeks for me to not lie awake worrying that my body might reject the baby because it didn’t want to be pregnant in the first place. Now, I lay awake because of her kicking and my need to pee constantly. But, I’m not complaining. I appreciate every single feeling and emotion: even the crying, nausea, exhaustion, crankiness, Braxton Hicks and anxiety. I am very excited to see this little one for the first time, to see her grow and to help teach her. Despite what people may assume, I’m not in a rush to “have her out”. I like her where she is, safe and happy until she’s ready, until we're both ready.
It’s been almost a year since we first got referred to the infertility clinic. I was sure that they wouldn’t be able to help us. I remember the drive home from our first appointment and feeling hope, but still being so angry with my body because it wasn’t working right. I felt guilty that I was putting Daniel through this. I was frustrated that we couldn’t just make a baby when we decided we wanted to. It didn’t seem fair. And then I realized that even this, was a blessing. My body couldn’t get pregnant on it’s own and it saved me from possibly having a child with the wrong person. Daniel and I waited until we were ready to have a family and by the time we’d made that decision, we’d already been through tons of medical problems together. This time, it wasn’t a problem - it was an obstacle. This was easier than what we'd dealt with in the past. Instead of worrying about my pain, we were getting help extending our family. We got through it like we always had, with a sense of humor and hoping for the best. Even though it was a tough journey, and it will get tougher in a matter of weeks… I wouldn’t change a thing about how it has unfolded.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” - Ursula K. LeGuin