Monday, 14 December 2015

Miracle Mommas - Sharing My Story

Recently, I was asked to be a part of a series called Miracle Mommas by Logan of WithGreatExpectation Blog. I met Logan through her blog and she was a great support for me during my pregnancy with Grayson. She had done a FET a week before I did my FET with Grayson. The series, Miracle Mommas, is a wonderful series of women sharing their different stories with infertility. Below is my story that I was honoured to share on her blog. 

Hi everyone, my name is Kelsey and I am the mama to two blessings, my handsome sons. I was honoured when Logan asked me to be a part of this series because I think the more we share and the more open we are about our infertility journeys, the more awareness it brings to others who do not understand what we are going through.

They say the past is the past, but what if your past is affecting your present life? My journey to motherhood begins when I was fourteen and diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. I was young, scared, and didn’t know the full impact this disease would have on me. I was prescribed large amounts of medication to try and control the disease, but eventually, my body stopped responding and I needed to have surgery. After more than 10 surgeries I felt like I finally had my life back. Little did I know that these surgeries would cause problems with my ability to have children.

At the time, I had a feeling that something was wrong. There was a little voice inside of me that kept saying I would have difficulties getting pregnant and that little voice was right. During my final surgery, my surgeon had an OB/GYN come into the operating room to take a look at me from the inside. They concluded that my fallopian tubes were blocked and that I had a large amount of scar tissue, not to mention my fallopian tubes drooped instead of standing up straight and my right ovary managed to migrate to the middle of my body. This is not the news you want to hear as a young woman who desperately wants to start a family.

Now that my fears had been confirmed, I needed to decide what my next step would be: should I adopt or should I do IVF. I was very naïve at the time and had no idea how hard of a process both were. It can’t be that hard to adopt a baby and surely if I do IVF I’m guaranteed a pregnancy, right? Wrong!

With so many children needing a forever family, I didn’t see the need to try IVF. My decision to adopt came easily to me at the time, it's where God was leading my heart, but that doesn't mean my journey through adoption was an easy one.

Have you ever had the feeling of being completely out of control and helpless? That was me shortly after I was approved for adoption. I decided to go the route of a public adoption and chose to foster with a view to adopt. I chose this route because I wanted to adopt a young child and this is the only option for children under the age of 6 (it is in the child’s best interest to place them in a foster home that wants to adopt the child so they are not moved from one home to the other). I had gone through the PRIDE training and the home study, I had taken the mandatory car seat training, I had been informed about the risks of foster with a view to adopt, I knew that when a child needed a foster home the social workers would narrow down the list to two potential families to interview and from there they would pick the best fit, I knew that even if I was picked as a potential fit that after the interview I may not be chosen, so I was ready for this, right? No matter how prepared you think you are, nothing can prepare you for the worst. On February 24, 2012 I became a foster mommy to a beautiful baby. God had blessed me with this baby and I was ready to be this baby’s forever home. A few weeks after the baby was born, I was given devastating news. The baby would not become a crownward, therefore would not become adoptable, and I would have to say goodbye when the baby was 11 weeks old because a family member had stepped forward to raise the child. I was absolutely heartbroken. I was mad at God. Why? Why me? Why would you do this? You’ve already dealt me a life of infertility, now this…why?! God was pushing my limits and at the time I thought He was giving me far more than I could handle, but He carried me through the pain. I had to continually remind myself that God wanted me in this child’s life to give this child the start they needed. I was needed for a very specific purpose and even though it was short, it made a difference.

After this experience, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try again. About a month after I had to say goodbye, I contacted my social worker and asked to have my name added back to the list of potential foster with a view to adopt families. It was a risk, but a risk worth taking. Three weeks after having my name back on the list, I received a phone call at 8:50pm. There was another baby who would need a home. The baby was not born yet and was due in the middle of July. The social worker informed me that I was the only family chosen for this child. I agreed to meet with the social worker in the morning to discuss the case. That night, I said a prayer to God and wrote it in my journal:

God, thank you for your many blessings and this beautiful surprise. I pray this child of Yours will be Your perfect timing.

The next morning I met with the social worker and the child’s protection worker. They were fantastic. They told me as much as they could about the case. I decided to go ahead and be this child’s foster with a view to adopt home. And then the waiting game began…

The baby was born a week late, on July 25, 2012, and I welcomed him into my home when he was two days old. He was absolutely beautiful. I fell in love with him right away, but I could feel that my heart was guarded. Even though I loved this child, I wasn’t attached like I should be. I felt like if I was given the devastating news that he would be leaving, I would have been okay with that. I absolutely HATE admitting that. I feel ashamed of this. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t have been heartbroken, but I would have been numb to the pain. After having this precious baby boy for 2 weeks, it was as if God had spoken to me and was giving me the answer to all of my unanswered questions and at the same time, answering my prayers. The walls around my heart came crashing down and there was no turning back. In my heart I knew this baby boy was a gift from God and that God had chosen me to be this baby’s forever home, his mommy and him my son. Four months after he was born, he became a crownward. This little boy’s birth parents made a tremendously hard decision to have their son call me mommy. I was speechless when the protection worker told me the news. The next 30 days were the most nail biting, heart racing, scary days of my life. The birth parents had 30 days to change their minds on the decision they had made. On Christmas Eve of 2012, it was official, I would officially be adopting this little boy. On June 21, 2013, I happily went to court to finalize the adoption.

The adoption of my son, Joshua, answered many of my prayers. It opened my eyes to the plan that God has for me, that God has perfect timing for everything and a reason for everything. I am not just simply infertile, I am infertile because it pleases God. It took me a while to understand this and accept this, and let me just say, it doesn’t always please me, but when I see Joshua staring at me with his big blue eyes and beautiful smile, my infertility pleases me as well because if I were just able to have children the good old fashioned way, I would not be Joshua’s mommy. 

When Joshua was about a year old, I was ready to expand our family. I had a deep need to experience a pregnancy, so IVF was the only option. I was so naïve when I started the process. I had no idea that after the consultation appointment that as soon as my period started, IVF would begin. I called the clinic on day 1 of my period, I already had my prescriptions filled, and I began my injections. I went to my ultrasound and bloodwork appointments every 3 days and then I showed up for my egg retrieval. I had 26 eggs retrieved, 20 mature and fertilized, and 3 embryos. I did a 5 day fresh embryo transfer and froze my other 2 embryos on day 6. My fresh embryo transfer resulted in an early miscarriage. It was hard. I would go for bloodwork and my hCG would continue to rise, but I kept being told to expect a miscarriage since my numbers were so low. It was devastating. I waited two cycles before I was able to try a frozen embryo transfer. It was my 24th birthday that my period started and the FET began. I remember being so unsure if I wanted to do this again because I was beginning to see that IVF does not guarantee a baby and the fact that I even had 2 embryos frozen was a miracle in itself. I pushed through my fears and proceeded with the FET. I took a pregnancy test the first possible day that hCG would be present in my bloodstream. I remember feeling so defeated when I looked at the test and there was no second line. I paused and turned to God and begged for His strength to get through this because I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. I looked down at the pregnancy test one more time before tossing it and couldn’t believe my eyes. For the first time in my life, there was a second pink line. I had to grab my phone and use the flashlight feature to confirm what I thought I was seeing. I was ecstatic and so happy, but throughout my entire pregnancy, I worried for my baby. I worried that at any moment this miracle would be taken away. I felt as if I was being robbed by infertility because I was constantly worried. I constantly lied to myself by saying that once I made it to 12 weeks, I wouldn’t worry but that turned into 14 weeks, 18 weeks, 24 weeks, and eventually it turned into the end of my pregnancy but that’s what infertility does, it allows all of your fears to rise to the service. When I was 9 months pregnant with Grayson I found out that I was going to be a single mom. I was not expecting this and was terrified. I was having a hard time understanding why God would have this be his perfect timing for me to have a baby and I was having a hard time wrapping my head around this. But I understood when I gave birth to a healthy baby boy and was holding this miracle of God’s in my arms. Grayson was my saving grace and it is his birth that allowed me to move on, take my happiness back, and be a happy family of 3. My heart has never been so happy as the day when my two sons, Joshua and Grayson, got to meet each other for the first time and I had my perfect family of 3.

Now, I am impatiently waiting to grow my family. I have a loving boyfriend who has been understanding of my infertility from the beginning. When I opened up to him about my struggles, he told me that it would never change anything. I sometimes get very overwhelmed, thinking of our future, and thinking that I may not be able to give him any children of his own, and he always gently reminds me that it does not matter because we already have two amazing sons. He’s my rock and I know he will be my rock throughout our IVF journey.

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