**Disclaimer: Things are about to get real in this blog post. You've been warned.
Let's have a little chat. Except not that little. It's story time, so settle in, because I need to clue you in on a little something in our life. I'm not sure why I picked today to do this, but it's time. I've also had this post sitting in draft for over a week now so it's practically over time.
Here we go.
When we first got married (something like 100 years ago), things didn't start out too rosey for us financially. We ran into some bad luck, and then some more, and a little more in the space of a few weeks right off the marital bat. A bunch of things (that you don't need to be bored with) that when you added them all up and combined it with now being adults with rent, insurance, and college loans to repay, well, things were just rougher than the pretty picture that we'd imagined.
But, of course, we made it through, we made it out better than we would have been otherwise, and thank God we have that time to hold over Sam's head someday ("We had to walk TEN miles, up hill, both ways, shoeless, eating generic ramen noodles"). A nice little guilt trip: every parent's dream.
During this time, my sister gave me a little tchotchke of an angel, to cheer me up and to let me know she knew we'd make it. It said, "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
Everywhere we go, I've moved that angel with us and it's always one of the first things I place in our new home. When we moved into this house, I finally realized, after four years of moving it here and there, that the angel was a woman holding a baby.
If my life was a novel, high schoolers would highlight this as foreshadowing. Kind of like the beginning of Romeo and Juliet. You the reader knows things are about to go down, too bad Juliet doesn't see it coming.
I've spent the last 28 weeks trying to figure out how to type this blog post or what I wanted to say. Actually, make that 3 years, 6 months, and 28 weeks. Wish me luck.
Chuck and I decided we wanted to have a baby and were ready to start trying in June...2009. Things, as you may have guessed, didn't exactly go as planned. Fast forward to this past August and we were starting Round 5 of IVF, throwing a Hail Mary pass with a little used treatment plan, and talking with adoption agencies.
Sam is our miracle baby. All babies are special and all babies are loved and treasured, but maybe Sam is just a little bit more already.
It's been a long road to 28 weeks pregnant for us. We kept things incredibly private when we were in the heat of the infertility battle. Sometimes, when I wouldn't blog for weeks or months at a time, things were bad for me. And I didn't want to talk or be funny or show funny things we were doing. That and a lot of our jokes and antics had to do with mixing drugs and taking shots and measuring egg follicles which would have violated our strict self-imposed gag order on infertility talk.
I started this blog right after we bought the house, knowing that a family was just around the corner. The original name of the blog was "The Allison Fam". I figured I'd start the blog and we'd start trying and I could announce a pregnancy on it. Sometimes, the blog was hard for me to look at or write on or see. I came so close to deleting it so many times. When you make something thinking it's going to be for your baby, and instead no baby comes, no amount of ship's wheels or arborvitae decorating or general frivolity can make the hurt go away.
I'm glad I never got rid of it and that I have you to share our life with and that I finally did get to make that pregnancy announcement on here. Blog posts shouldn't be dreams, but that post was a dream come true.
I promised myself once we were pregnant or had adopted, I'd talk. There are plenty of people who go through infertility treatments - about 15% of couples - but not so many that talk about it openly. I get that. Look what I never did - talk about it, until now, I guess.
Chuck and I kept our privacy on this blog and in real life too because we didn't want to always talk about it and it was nice to keep the majority of our relationships "normal". Normal was important to us. Aside from the few people who knew - who we talked with openly about this - I came up with three people in my whole life circle who I knew had or were dealing with infertility. I opened up to them, and it was a blessing to have them to email. There's something so warm when you hear the response "I know. I really truly know what you're feeling."
Maybe I can be that person for someone else and pay it forward. I think that's the biggest reason I wanted to finally share this. Maybe you're struggling or your sister is struggling or your best friend. Share this with them, share me, and maybe I could help alleviate some of the loneliness of infertility, like those women did for me.
What I can say for this whole twist of our lives is that I treasure "us" more now than ever. As I'm sure you can imagine, Chuck and I were always very serious and highly appropriate during all our appointments and throughout our years of treatment. By very serious and appropriate, I mean not at all. For example, I have some great anecdotes of egg retrieval days, where I would go under anesthesia, which, we learned, I am amazing on. We did our best to laugh through the tough appointments, make jokes during big steps in treatment, and smile throughout because at the very least, we had each other.
And thank God I had Chuck.
Chuck was the rock who would always say things like "If you're not a Mom, then this fight isn't over." And "Someday, you'll sit at the park with other moms and it won't matter how you got there." He was best. I can't imagine how people go through this without someone like Chuck.
In hindsight, a lot of good did come from three more years of "waiting" to have kids. We got to do some things we never would have - vacations and projects and weird "us" stuff like estate auctions. We did things in our careers that may not have happened with a little one at home and we are definitely better prepared for Sam to come take over. Plus we got three more years as just us, bringing it to a total of 12 years of Chuck and Susie time, and now I get to be pregnant and have babies with my best friends - maybe the best silver lining of all.
Because it's human nature - and I know I'd be curious if I was you, so don't feel bad for wondering - the "what went wrong" isn't easy to explain. It's a lot of medical mumbo jumbo and that is a rabbit hole not meant for this post. Basically, we are both rejects from Table 9. When it rains, it pours for us, and neither of us can make a baby - we each have issues (I think we all knew this). Good thing we found each other because we would have really ruined a fertile person's good time. And there's no one to shoulder the "blame". We both stink at baby making, well, without a considerable amount of help. Our marriage has always been incredibly balanced - even in infertility we keep things even.
That tchotchke Shelley gave us almost eight years ago still hangs in our room, over the light switch and I see it every day. And I know it's true. "Where there is great love, there are always miracles." And Sam is proof. And I will treasure every morning sickness memory, every back ache, and every kick because a miracle might not happen for us again. So we will live in this moment and love this moment and wait patiently for our Sam to join us. After all, when you've waited 3 years and 6 months, what's another 12 weeks?