Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

I have fond memories of the Mother's Day Tea that Miss Debby would always hold at her daycare & preschool.  The kids would parade in and sing songs praising their mommies. Debby would encourage them to sing so sweetly, and then to go sit with their mothers for cookies and tea. Most of us would shed a few tears of joy and appreciation. The children would present us with handmade place-mats and trinkets.  This was one of the events I knew I would really miss when we chose to put TC in a different preschool. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I'm glad I won't have to be there for it without her this year. It's hard enough as it is.

I am beyond grateful for the gift of motherhood. As I said a few years ago, we had a bumpy road but not as hard as others, and ultimately ours led to three sweet babies. (If you weren't following me in 2008, please go read that post. It's a big piece of my heart.)

When we were trying to conceive the first time I naively thought it would happen right away. Over the months my heart broke a little more with every negative test. As we neared the end of that first year, I was in disbelief that we might need help to become pregnant.  Tom and I were visiting my mother's family for Thanksgiving, and I was waiting until we got home to test. I dreaded getting another negative, but at the same time I expected it. As we were exiting the turnpike I suddenly saw a rainbow. Not a full one, just a small piece, nearly hidden in the clouds. I felt like God was speaking to me, telling me that He had not forgotten me. I dared to hope.

When we got home I didn't even stop to bring in any bags, but went straight to the test and took it. I was in complete shock when it was positive. Positive?? After a year of trying. A year of tears and frustration. A year of alternating between shaking my fist at God one day and begging Him to give me a baby the next. Nine months later, A was born.

When A was about eighteen months old I was delighted to find myself pregnant again. How could it happen without any effort? I felt like God was giving me a generous gift, not making me go through that struggle again. The long story about that pregnancy can be found if you click on Losing Lily. (Read from the bottom up.) The short and devastating story is that we lost that pregnancy, and I lost one of my fallopian tubes as well.
With such a rocky history, we had no idea what to expect if we tried again. We were afraid, but we really wanted another child, so we risked it. I really couldn't believe it when we got pregnant right away. We still had to go through the confirmation process, however, which was nerve-wracking. Tom and I both felt like I was a time bomb waiting to go off. I had blood drawn and then drawn again a few days later to monitor my hormone levels. The results had us over the moon: my levels had more than doubled and we were overjoyed. They did an ultrasound just to be sure, and we were just able to see the tiniest little peanut with a fluttering heart. E was born after what felt like a year later, as I went to 42 weeks. I spent a night in the hospital at 35 weeks with contractions that seemed to give the baby an irregular heartbeat. Otherwise the extra-long pregnancy was uneventful. E was born all wrapped up in his cord, which explained the heartbeat issues.

A few years later I knew I still wanted more children. I had always planned (ha!) to have four children, but I was hoping at that point for three. After 8 unsuccessful months of trying I was at an emotional low. I was eating to soothe myself, and put on twenty pounds during that time. I just couldn't understand why it had to be so hard. I went back to my doctor who suggested we try Clomid and an HSG.

The HSG is not fun. It's a diagnostic test that I found to be excruciatingly painful. It felt like labor pain. As they injected the dye and tried to get good x-rays, the technician asked several times which side I still had a fallopian tube on. My heart sank, as I saw the screen above me and knew what the results would be. I wanted to throw up. This couldn't be the end of my journey, could it? I sat on the table afterwards and cried, even as my doctor assured me that it could still happen for us. He encouraged me to finish the Clomid for that cycle, but did warn me that if it didn't work, I was now beyond his expertise and would have to see a specialist. Tom and I had agreed ahead of time that we didn't want to go through IUI or IVF, so if this didn't work, we were done. I could hardly bear it.

A few weeks later, when I took my last ever pregnancy test, I was completely stunned when I saw that faint second line. I literally fell to my knees on the carpet and sobbed and thanked God. I had no fear of another ectopic and went through the confirmation testing with confidence. TC was born that fall with the faintest breath of red hair, and the same blue eyes of his siblings.

God has been so gracious and generous to us. I am painfully aware of what it can cost you to have children, but also that my story has a happy ending. I have friends who have walked a much more painful and lengthy road that did not end happily. My heart breaks for them. I think of them this Mother's Day. I will celebrate my own mother, and my children will celebrate me. And for my friends, I will pray that God would comfort their hearts.


Janet said...

Thanks for sharing that story! We are both so blessed with the families God gave to us! Lets remind each other of that on the days we are ready to sell one of them off to the highest bidder :)

Shay said...

lol, you got it Janet ;)

Julie said...

beautiful Shay. I have tears as I too remember many of the feelings you describe. This mother's day i was thinking so much of my friends who want so desperately to have children and yet don't:( I feel terribly blessed, yet humbled by the chance to be a mom.

I hope you had a wonderful mother's day!