Traversing the interwebz as one does when sucked into reading one article with soundbites to the next, I had fallen into baby story wormhole. The seemingly unattainable dream to have a baby and infertility treatments – this pairing I knew well. Birthing stories and adoption stories – I can join this discussion party too. Disappointment and loss, a party I didn’t want to attend, but was a guest none the less. And most sad of all, the stories of empty arms when the gift yearned for and dreams of hope were dashed. The reality of saying goodbye to a child I have not known, but my heart breaks for those who have. So many brave and strong women who share their sorrow and desolation while being a great source of strength for those who feel isolated when no one understands their heartache …
A little while back, I was reading a beautifully written piece and the blogger’s despair about giving birth touched me deeply.
I read the story of her loss, her disappointment, and held my breath as I read about the loss of her child.
Then I stopped.
She had her child in her arms.
She was disappointed that her ‘plan’ had not gone the way she had hoped.
I backed up.
I read again.
She had not lost her child,
She just felt robbed of ‘her experience’.
And I exhaled in disbelief.
She was a Mother, she had the greatest gift in the world placed in her arms.
How could she be disappointed?
My first child came along without a plan. I found out I was pregnant, and everyone told me I was having a boy, including the homeless man outside of our local Barnes and Noble. My pregnancy was easy, until the hospital tortured me with hours of pitocin. (This is because according to the insurance, everyone tries natural childbirth first unless you are a Hollywood star and then you can book whatever you want.) Finally, they ordered a c-section and brought my sweet, perfect, Wiki out into the world. A little girl. I couldn’t get enough of her, holding her, snuggling her, showering her soft downy head with a million kisses.
But when sweet Wiki decided that a baby sister is what she desired more than anything in the world, I began a new journey, one of counting days, preparing syringes and daily ultrasounds. Little embryo’s perfect in their petri dish home … the long miserable road of secondary infertility ripped holes in my heart. I had a two-year-old, who for the next two years asked me for the one thing I was completely unable to give her. Drawing pictures of the sister she wanted and setting a place for her each night at the table. I was lost in a no man’s land. Lost between the childless who told me to be happy with what I had, and the friend’s who got pregnant just looking at each other who told me to enjoy my peaceful life with my only.
Secondary infertility is cruel.
It eats away at you day by day.
I felt like a failure.
One night, at a dinner party I discovered I could in fact, adopt an American child even tho I was not an American citizen. I happily gave up being ‘a perfect ivf candidate’ and pursued adoption. Only a few short months later, The Princess was placed in Wiki’s arms. Wiki, only four years old, looked down at this little face, large brown eye’s peered back at her. She kissed her forehead and declared ‘She is so pretty’ and held her tight.
All was right in my world.
What do you say to the person who gives you the greatest gift one could ever wish for?
One they nurtured for nine months and selflessly handed to you.
Wrapped in a tiny yellow blanket, perfect in every way.
And now I had two gifts.
Two perfect children, mine to raise.
It never occurred to me, that I had been shortchanged.
That some right of passage into motherhood had been taken from me.
That perhaps there was some maternal gene I was missing, that my children had not arrived in this world the way Mother Nature had intended them too. One was taken from my body, it bothers her that I bear a scar that signifies her entry into the world. One knows that she was born of my heart, that every day I wished for her, a wish that was granted. All I know, is that both of my girls were placed in my arms. They were swaddled, they were beautiful, and they were mine, to raise, to nurture, mine to love and cherish. Maybe neither of them arrived in my arms the way Mother Nature intended and I couldn’t care less.
I do not mean to undermine anyone’s experience in this post, this is my experience and these are my ramblings. I would love to hear your thoughts, and how your birthing story impacted you. My heart goes out to all Mother’s who did not bring their babies home with them, babies in Heaven – they will hold again one day …