Thursday, 9 May 2013

Our Journey to Here

I have fantasized about writing this blog post for years, but now that the day has come I am nervous and full of doubt. Writing about my journey to having another baby somehow seems presumptuous and perhaps overly-optimistic because in all honesty my journey may not be over. I am painfully aware of how fragile life is, particularly one that is encapsulated within a six cm frame like the one our baby adorns at this time. However, after watching our baby bounce up and down on the ultrasound monitor, seeing his or her hand move as if he or she was waving to us, and hearing the doctor call him or her "uncooperative" and "busy", I knew it was time to let go of the fear and the doubt. It was time to enjoy whatever time I have with this little being and to proudly announce I am the mama of four children.

Thing 4, due to stir up plenty of shenanigans on November 20, 2013

My doubts also arise from the fact that you may not want to hear my story. In all honesty, you know much of it, and do you really need to know all of it?  Our story is really not that exciting! However, time and time again, I feel like I need to share it because there is a small chance that it may give one person the hope they need to carry on, the courage to face all obstacles in their path and the faith to believe that their dreams can come true.

I am also nervous about sharing our story because it is deeply personal. Sure, my story is full of physical trials that I had to overcome, but for the most part, it has been a spiritual journey, one that has transformed me in ways that I could never have imagined.This spiritual journey, although I will allude to it on occasion, is very sacred to me and I want to keep much of it private, but know this: at no point was I ever alone on this path. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father has walked alongside me for the entire journey. He has been there to celebrate my highest highs and there to comfort me during my lowest lows. He was the one who directed me down this path to reclaim the dream of a naive, young girl, who wanted nothing more than a house full of rowdy, energetic kids.

It is hard to determine when exactly this story begins. It may have begun when I was a high school student and my friends would tease me that I would become the ultimate soccer mom, with a van full of boys. It may have begun in a little farmhouse in Dipper Harbour where I would gaze upon my brand new baby girl and daydream about having a house full of kids and homeschooling them all. It may have begun when I was 28 years old, confident that my notion of becoming a homeschooling mom of six was nothing more than the fantasies of a naive, young girl who clearly did not understand how the world worked, decided to have a tubal ligation after the birth of my third child and to devote my time to becoming a full-time teacher. It may have begun seven years ago when I nursed Avery for the last time and was struck so hard by the realisation that I would never nurse another baby again that I cried myself to sleep for an entire week. It may have begun when I would return home from a long, hectic day of work, and I would lie down in my bed, falling asleep to the recollection of all those days spent home with my kids when we  would paint the windows of our patio door in the sunshine, when we would make play-doh or dirty recipes in the mud, or when we would take long strolls in the neighbourhood looking for bugs and other creepy crawly creatures. It does not matter when my journey began, but it did begin, and so I will start our story in the spring of 2009 when I decided to toss all "logic" to the wind and quit my job as a teacher.

It was also in the spring of 2009 that I decided to meet with my doctor to discuss the possibility of having my tubal ligation reversed. I was pumped and I was excited! I finally felt like I was getting my life back and went into her office brimming with optimism and hope. Unfortunately, she did not share my optimism. She stared at me apologetically, and told me in all seriousness that a reversal would not work because according to the pathology report from my surgery there was not enough  of my fallopian tube left to reattach. All I could do was cry. Before I left, the doctor handed me a brochure for the infertility clinic in Moncton and told me that IVF (in vitro fertilization) would be the only option for us.

I went home that day and told Derrick the news. Neither one of us were comfortable with the idea of IVF, but we decided that if it would help us to have another baby we would give it a try. Three months later we visited Dr. Robichaud in Moncton. Sitting in his office on that hot, sunny August afternoon, surrounded by pictures of all the babies that had been born using IVF and other methods, I felt excited and optimistic once again. I remember turning to Derrick and exclaiming: "We could be pregnant by the end of the year! This could really happen!"

Finally, it was our turn to talk to the doctor. We went over our medical history with him and told him we would like to try IVF. He sat there quietly for a moment reading over our file, and then he looked up and said: "You should really think about having a Reversal done". I explained to  him how that was our initial plan but that after talking to my doctor we learnt that this was not an option for us. I fully expected him to nod his head in agreement, but much to my surprise, he laughed and said: "Those pathology reports are never accurate. All I need to do is two tests, one less invasive and one that involves surgery, to determine how long in fact your tubes are". Derrick and I looked at each other in shock. Dr. Robichaud continued: "With IVF we can start next week, but having your tubes reversed could take up to four months. The decision is up to you, but I would recommend the Reversal because it is not as expensive and it gives you more opportunities to become pregnant".

On the drive home, Derrick and I discussed our options. Even though I was nervous about the hormonal roller coaster IVF puts you on, the thoughts of being able to begin right away excited me. Also, I began to get nervous that after all the tests there may indeed be nothing left to my tubes, and we would have to have IVF after all.  We went back and forth with each idea for quite sometime, and then out of the blue, this quiet, calm feeling came over me and one word came to my mind: "Patience".  I looked at Derrick and told him with all surety that we needed to have the Reversal done and that this was the path for us. He agreed, and so we returned home and contacted Dr. Robichaud. We had chosen our path, and even though it was going to take a little longer, we were both confident that it would lead us to where we wanted to go.

Now, the story gets interesting.  What was supposed to take four months ended up taking an entire year thanks to the threat of an outbreak of the Swine Flu, which closed all hospital operating rooms to any elective surgeries. At the time, it felt like the longest year of my life, and there were times when I wanted to call Dr. Robichaud, toss aside our plans, and begin IVF. But, I didn't. In fact, one morning, when I was feeling at my lowest and ready to call it quits, I picked up my scriptures and began my morning scripture study. As I was reading, one sentence seemed to jump right off the page: "Be patient and I will grant thee success!" I knew at that moment, without a doubt, that this message was for me, and upon reading it, my resolve strengthened and I was able to carry on. The impression that I needed to be patient grew stronger everyday, and although I was growing dreadfully tired of waiting, I continued to do so with faith that Heavenly Father knew what was best for me. 

Eventually I had all the tests and passed them with flying colours. In August 2010, one year later from our initial visit, Derrick and I drove back to Moncton to have my long-awaited surgery. I will never forget how relieved I was when Dr. Robichaud stood at the foot of my bed and told me that the surgery was a huge success and that we could start trying to have our baby in one month. I fell asleep that night, still groggy from the anaesthesia, dreaming about the baby I would hold in my arms in a mere ten months.


. . . tune in tomorrow for the rest of  our story.

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