He isn’t the perfect man. He’s certainly not the perfect husband, and definitely not the perfect father. But there are moments where he holds our daughter, smiles at her, and swears she’s perfect. And in those moments I remember he’s perfect for me, perfect for us.
After the adoption agency…
After visiting an adoption agency, I knew that adoption wasn’t meant to be a part of our plan. At the very least, we were not supposed to have our first child through adoption. Realizing this isn’t want God wanted for us was like being punched in the gut. I can’t have children “naturally”, adoption felt wrong, so what else was there? Were we not supposed to have kids? I have to admit I might have thrown a few “well you can just fuck right off if that’s the case” His way. All I knew was that infertility sucked.
I took a break obsessing over growing our family. The disappointment was just a little too much to handle, if I’m being honest. I was having the same feelings I’ve always had, but more intense. Feelings that my body had betrayed me and failed to do the one thing everyone tells you growing up it’s supposed to do. Women have babies, it’s what we do. That’s how the story goes, right?
Well, obviously that’s a ton of bullshit. Plenty of women can’t, plenty of women don’t want to, but it’s something our mothers, grandmothers, and aunts all tell us growing up. It starts with the baby dolls, the movies, the barbies. It’s all about family and having children. Screw that.
Giving up, but gaining control.
In April I decided to get my PCOS under control, focus on me and my health rather than the void in our family. I went to the endocrinologist and was put on Metformin, a drug used for people with pre-diabetes (not me) and PCOS (me). I’ll admit the drug was nice. I had fewer cramps, lost a few pounds, and my facial hair (sexy, I know) was slowing down. The only downside was I was spending just a little too much time in the bathroom.
In May I was offered a job in Michigan. I accepted the position and moved my life ten and a half hours away. The only reason this is really important to this story is I stopped taking Metformin. I stopped taking my magic pill for the simple fact that the bathroom was basically right next to everyone in the small campaign office and I wasn’t interested in running to the bathroom every ten minutes when #thepeopleswork needed to be done.
After two months in Michigan, the party moved me back to Minnesota to work on a more competitive race. It made me so happy to be home! I didn’t start back on Metformin, I wasn’t even thinking of it. I was too busy to think about anything other than getting my candidate elected. Ryan and I had a casual conversation about starting the foster-to-adopt process after the cycle ended, but that was about it. I was too busy to be consumed by my infertility, something I’m actually very grateful for.
It felt like something was killing me.
Come September I’d gained back all my weight lost from Metformin and Michigan (where I lived off of Quest bars, slim jims, and 7 Eleven slurpees), was working way too many hours, and traveling way too much. Typical campaign things, so I wasn’t shocked when I began to feel achy and sick. But I was getting so sick and feeling so out of it I was convinced the campaign was killing me.
I remember being in Duluth and falling asleep at my desk with my back aching while also feeling like I was about to throw up. It was a nightmare. I looked at one of my staffers and asked if they’ve been feeling sick lately. He had, and he’d been traveling around the district a lot lately too, so he thought it was because of that. It was probably the same for me. I had been running on fumes for a while at this point. My body was clearly telling me to slow the hell down.
On my way home from Duluth I decided I needed to talk to my campaign manager about taking a day or two off before we entered the last month of the campaign. For my own health (and so I didn’t kill anyone) I needed a day to hang out naked on my couch while binge watching tv, and I wasn’t too proud to admit it.
But before I blamed the campaign, I had to make sure it was the culprit.
I stopped at the Shopko in North Branch on the way home and picked up a pregnancy test.
Why? I struggle with infertility, why would I do that? Who knows. I like to think it was optimism.
I almost took the test at Shopko but had this moment of “if this is real, and if I’m pregnant, I’m not going to find out in a random Shopko in North Branch. That will not be a part of my story.”
So I did what I’ve done every other time I’ve taken a test. I shoved the box in my bag as soon as I got to the car and when I got home I ran upstairs and took the test without telling anyone. It would be negative, like it always is, and I’d rather not have Ryan ask me why I tried when I know we can’t have kids. I just wanted to avoid that conversation and have a casual pity party alone on the toilet.
This time it was different.
This time it was positive.
I immediately ran downstairs to Ryan. I think I was numb. No, I was terrified. Terrified it was wrong, because it had to be, right? This had to be a false positive. That was a thing, wasn’t it? I held it up and told him “I took a test and it’s positive.” Ryan was not impressed. He was certain I was playing a joke on him and his response was “Sammantha, that’s not funny.”
But then the waterworks started and he knew I was serious.
This, this was serious.
Five pregnancy tests, eleven ultrasounds, a trip to the emergency room, a switch from an OB to a midwife later, and I’m sitting here writing this post at 23 weeks pregnant with a healthy little girl. I will be 24 weeks tomorrow. There isn’t a day that I’m not terrified I’m dreaming, or that it will all be taken away from me. But, today I am pregnant and for that I am grateful. I am grateful for the miracle God has given us. I don’t know how or why he has entrusted us with this gift, I know it is not deserved. But, today I am pregnant and for that I am grateful.
Hey, you’re joining us in part two of Infertility and Me, a Love Story. Click here to see Part 1!
Infertility wasn’t an issue in high school. Infertility wasn’t an issue in college, either. It really became an issue for us after we realized we were kind of at a wall. We’d both graduated college, he had his career established, I was working my way into my career and finding my way quite nicely, we had a mortgage, we had a dog. Where’s the baby? The baby wasn’t coming. I wouldn’t be carrying our child. That’s our wall.
It’s not that we just looked at having a child as the natural next step for us. It wasn’t that. It was that we had everything we wanted to have, we had the room both physically and emotionally to care for a child, we had room to grow the family we so desperately wanted.
It was around this time that one of my best friends went through with adoption for her son. She found an agency she loved that treated her well, and the couple she placed her baby boy with were equally, if not more, amazing. Overall it sounded like she had as positive an experience one can have doing something as selfless as placing your child in another home.
So, we made an appointment.
Adoption had never been off the table for me, even before I knew about my infertility. Walking into the adoption agency I was filled with hope. We were going to talk through the process, get some numbers, and get things set in motion. I was so excited, and told just about everyone where we were going. This was the start of something amazing, after all.
What actually happened was a little different.
The counselor we met with was nice enough, but she made it clear that people our age rarely come by their office. They typically work with people in their mid-to-late thirties. That wasn’t a problem, of course, but it put me off right away. It makes sense that they would typically work with people older than us. Most people don’t start trying to have a baby until our age, and only after a few years will they find out what is wrong. After they find out something is wrong, then they’ll spend time trying to correct whatever it is before they finally decide on adoption. I felt the need to apologize for being diagnosed so young, for marrying so young, and for wanting to grow my family at a reasonable age. We knew this would be a long process, so we wanted to get started as soon as possible.
Then she pulled out her packet and walked us through what a typical adoption looks like with their agency. The initial application, the thorough application with the home study, the waiting, the placement, etc. It was all very straightforward, very cut and dry. If I’m honest, it’s all things I already knew. But looking at the packet on her desk I couldn’t help but feel that it was all very transactional. I didn’t know if I was buying stock in their company, or becoming a mom. I was disappointed. I don’t know what I expected to be different, but this was not what I anticipated for this meeting.
I started crying as soon as we got back to our car. As cheesy as it is to some people, I have always felt that in that moment God was telling me “this isn’t a part of your plan”. I knew our first child would not be adopted via traditional domestic infant adoption. I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to have your heart so set on something only to be told no by God. I wish I could say I trusted Him, and trusted that everything would work out, but I didn’t. I was just heartbroken. There’s no other way to explain it.
If not adoption, then what? Medical intervention and foster-to-adopt, that’s what.
Stay tuned for part three.