The Journey to Motherhood

Ian, I really don’t know where to begin. I can hardly believe we celebrated your fourth birthday last week. The surreal feeling of walking through the hospital doors as two and leaving as three seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. Moments after you were born, I stared into your eyes hardly believing you were mine — mine to take care of and nurture forever. You were mine, and you were here.

I wanted to wait a year to establish our marriage before we tried for children, but the best laid plans rarely work that way or follow our desired timetable and our life changed in a swift direction, fast. I never imagined that there were so many couples with fertility issues, and in fact, that I would be one of them.

Each month we waited and quietly hoped that it would be our time and we could be parents, and with each month that passed we never gave up on that hope. We read articles religiously on how with each cycle there was a 20% chance of pregnancy with every couple, and that the vast majority of pregnancies occur after a year of trying. But despite this information, I couldn’t help but sit in the bathroom and cry with every passing month, or stare at obviously pregnant women and wonder what I was doing wrong. Was I miscounting magpies? Did I need some fertility dolls? Or maybe it was just a case of getting on a plane to Asia to visit a shrine for people like us.

I couldn’t understand it, it just didn’t make sense. I didn’t want a BMW or a yacht, I wanted a child, a little one to take care of and nurture. It was a righteous desire and for reasons unknown to me – us – I was being denied something so natural.

We kept our heartache a secret from everyone. It was something we didn’t care to discuss or share with anyone: Family, friends or colleagues. I didn’t want or need to hear the commiserative, “stop trying to try” or the ever popular, “everything happens for a reason” mantra with the emphatic knee pat at no extra charge. It became difficult enough watching other peoples’ fertility run around without a marching band of reproductive enthusiasts to share it with. Then again, with every month that passed, it got increasingly more difficult and moral was fading fast.

I stopped crying after seven cycles.

After a year I sought out a Gynecologist, one that I thought might help, but in hindsight didn’t specialise in any reproductive issues. She advised me to track my BBT (Basal Body Temperature) for three cycles. Each morning as soon as I flicked my eyes open, I had to reach across to my nightstand and take my temperature with as little movement as possible and then chart it. Months later, as I sat in her office waiting for some sort of prognosis, she glanced over my line chart and mumbled with gritted enthusiasm, “well, it appears as if you’re ovulating.” I was no expert, but even I knew that wasn’t true. The lines I had created rarely spiked, if at all. Little did I know my years of bragging to schoolmates that I had no PMT (tension) came with a sorry price tag, one that would come back to haunt me later in life.

Seven months later, we moved from our two-bedroom apartment into our first home and we were no further forward than we had been a year earlier. After we were settled in, Bryan looked through the Yellow Pages, found the section we needed and phoned a clinic hoping they could direct us. They were a OB/GYN clinic, but one of their doctors also specialised in infertility and high risk pregnancies. The receptionist shuttled us to the right doctor and made an appointment for us.

It was mid-September of 2003 when we walked into the doctors’ office that resembled a spacious, beautifully designed lodge more than it did a place to practice medicine. The dimly lit, expansive room was filled with brown leather couches and mission-style chairs, beautiful wooden floors and an open, ceiling-to-floor stone fireplace. I felt at ease instantly.

It was there I met Dave. Not Dr. so-and-so. Just Dave. Of all the doctors I have met in my life, this man tops my list – and not just for the obvious reasons either. He was charismatic, but in a gentle non-assuming way. He smiled, he listened, he asked questions and he sympathised. His unspoken words spoke volumes too. His bedside manner was exceptional and I would have gladly shared all my medical history with this man just so he could make me feel better about everything.

It wasn’t an appointment, it was a therapy session.

He asked me the routine questions: How long is your cycle? How long have you been trying? Have you tracked your BBT? And more. When I mentioned my chart, I told him of my concerns and he said he wanted to try something. Then a question I wasn’t expecting: “Which day of your cycle are you on right now?” “Day 5”, I said proudly. “Perfect. I want to try you on a 5-day regimen and then after that, have intercourse on Day 10, Day 12, Day 14 and 16.” This was already more than anyone else had done for us.

Interesting. No more 11, 13, 15 and 17. It seemed so foreign to me all of a sudden.

There was something about it, a feeling I can’t really describe. I just knew. I wasn’t even technically late the morning I ran downstairs in the dark and took the pregnancy test. A positive. I had to blink and just make sure. I was quiet for the very first time. I just sat for hour-long seconds and stared at the little piece of technology I had just peed on that changed my life.

As I walked quietly back into our bedroom and slipped back under the covers, I leaned over to where my husband lay and whispered, “Bryan, I’m pregnant” : The words I had longed to say in two very long years. We hugged, weeping together, unable to really come to terms with the reality of the situation.

It was a Saturday, the 19th of June and the day before Father’s Day; five o’clock and definitely time for dinner. The nurse handed you to me and smiled. I studied your sweet face, counted your fingers and toes and kissed your tiny forehead. You made me a mother and stole my heart. I will never forget that day.

I have loved watching you grow and learn, and despite how hard some stages have been, I decided a long time ago to stop wishing them away and embrace everything. Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to be four.

Oh, and if your brother ever asks about his middle name, just tell him about Dave.

1 day old1 day old

6 months old

1 year

2 years old
He wanted to go outside, but knew he needed socks and shoes. So he put daddy’s on.

2 years 2 months
At a OB appointment with me, my last one with Dave before we moved to MT at 27 weeks gestation.

3 years old

4 years old

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20 responses to “The Journey to Motherhood

  1. This is one of the most beautiful things you have ever written. Thank you for the memories and the remembrance of the emotion we both experienced while waiting for our miracle. I can’t imagine life without either of you.

    The tears in my eyes can only express a small amount of joy and love that he has brought into our lives.

    I am very blessed to have my two beautiful boys and to have an Angel for my wife and their mother.

    ~Bryan

  2. Siobhan, I have tears, too. What a beautiful memory and your writing is moving. I had no idea of the things you went through! You’re an amazing woman and mom! Thanks for sharing, I love to read your blog! You rock! πŸ™‚

    Talk about eye opening reality, my oldest will be baptized in September!!!!!! Geeeesh.

  3. Siobhan, you got me too. That was very special and renews my hope. Thanks for sharing.

  4. anglophilefootballfanatic

    Oh, I was thinking how wonderfully written your post was & then I read B’s comment. So touching. As someone who also struggled, I understand the heartache and the joy.

  5. Wow..I am so pleased you had a successful ending….Is the photo of the 4yr old in Scotland?
    You have a beautiful beautiful family – I hope your story inspires others too.

  6. Awww, happy birthday to the little guy! Great post! (and great comment from the hubby: I Love LOVE!)

  7. Not many move me to tears. You’ve done. Bryan is a lucky, lucky man. And your sons are equally as lucky – to have a mother such as you.

  8. What a beautiful post. I’m just bawling here.
    Happy Birthday, Ian!

  9. Wonderful wonderful wonderful post. How lucky they are to have you, and you them.

    Also, lovely comment from Bryan — jammy you. My Brit never says gushy stuff like that! πŸ˜‰

  10. PS — the 6-months-old picture is fabulous. FABulous!

  11. awww!! a tear just sprang to my eye, too! thanks dave and happy bday ian!!

  12. i’m so glad for your happy ending! loved the pictures too!

  13. Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  14. That was simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  15. You know how in the past I said this is the best posting ever. I lied. This is the best thing you have written that I am familiar with. You may have been typing with your hands but your heart wrote this. Unbelievable. Bravo.

  16. This really is one of the most AWESOME things you’ve ever written. I love it. Knowing you and knowing a bit of your history and how sweet you and bryan really are, it’s hard to hear of the heartache. But in a sense its better to hear it so I can see and appreciate that much more of where you’re at now.
    Cant wait to read Camerons installment!
    Love you tons and tons forever!

  17. I can’t remember which author said this, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” But I think that’s what you’ve just done.

  18. An absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this story with us. πŸ™‚

  19. Such a beautiful story. I had no idea. Thank you so much for sharing this chapter of your life. I also couldn’t help notice Bryan’s comment. You are all so blessed πŸ™‚

  20. Pingback: Photo Hunt: String(s) «

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