We’ve all been told a similar saying at least once when we’ve really wanted something. All in time.. things take time.. or give it time. When you’re in it, that phrase can cut you like a knife because you don’t want to hear that nonsense. I need it now, or better said, I want it now!
It could be a job, a pair of shoes or something more life altering… Like a baby 👶
Before I became a mom, that’s all I could think about. It wasn’t until the day it actually happened, the day I gave birth to my first son, that I felt like “my time” would ever come. It was never going to be my turn. How incredibly sad and frustrating and omg how completely draining.
My journey began, before I knew it did
When I was 23 years old, I was diagnosed with a condition that threatened my future fertility and potentially, my life. Scary stuff.. I had to have what they called a ‘cone biopsy’ which basically meant they removed a small ice cream cone size of my cervix, which caused severe scarring. After many post-op visits & follow-ups to the doctor, I was diagnosed with Cervical Stenosis. In Layman terms, my cervix was almost closed shut. My doctors told me that the procedure that was supposed to save my fertility had potentially made it worst. I would have a hard time getting pregnant. I remember her saying, “the older you get, the harder it will get” and “I know you are young, but if you are in a relationship I would consider trying to get pregnant soon.” Well damn, thanks for the vote of confidence. I had recently started a relationship which I thought would be forever, like we always do.. So, I asked him, “do you think this is forever?” His answer was yes, so naturally we started ‘trying’. I never thought it would actually take me 13 years before I’d actually be successful.
That first year, both our families knew we were trying to get pregnant. Everyone gave us antidotes, ways to ‘make it happen’, positions, foods, vitamins, and prayers. My dad actually said to me one day, “just relax and have fun when you’re ‘working’ (enter embarrassed emoji here lol). It was hard, you get the drift… Fast forward 3 years later and still nothing. The stress starts to set in. I’m almost 30, I’m freaking the hell out! The doctors were right! What’s wrong with me? Fuck. Ok, let’s go back to the doctor. We did. I knew the issue: my stenotic cervix. Basically, little swimmers were challenged to get through the canal and if they did, by the time they reached my eggs, they were too tired to penetrate the egg to make a baby L But, the doctors just said, “keep trying.”
Right around the time I turned 29, I got the ring 💍. So, I focused on planning my wedding for a year. It consumed my days so I didn’t think about having a baby much. That was until, I’ll be damned, “he” (the guy that said this would be forever) left me 3 months before our wedding. *Read this post to get the details*
Now, it’s ALL officially on hold! No husband and NO baby…
For close to 2 years, as I mourned a relationship that I later realized was not meant for me, I lived my life a little differently. I went out a lot, traveled, and met some of my closest friends. However, throughout this entire time, something I always had in the back of my mind and engraved in my heart was that I wanted to be called mommy.. I wanted it more than anything.
So much so, that a few months before meeting my forever plus 1, I had a conversation with my family. ” I want to be a mom, and I don’t need a man to be a mom, so this girl right here is going to a clinic and finding a donor.” My families reaction? “Whoa, are you sure!? You’re only 32.” However, they knew my medical predicament, so it didn’t take much convincing. “Ok, we support you. Do it.”
Fast forward 4 months -I meet my now husband. If you’ve read my past blog posts, you’ll know that it wasn’t a match made in heaven. But, one thing that made him the one was when I shared with him my unwavering feelings to become a mother and he instantaneously said.. “I’ll go half with you? Let’s do this!” 😳 Already having two children of his own, I never thought that would be his reaction. Maybe he just wanted the goods ;), maybe he really did want more children, but I think he already loved me so much that he was willing to do anything to give me what I wanted most. He’s a pretty awesome guy, thank you baby!
Let me add some color to the timeline so you understand what a big deal this was. We met in May 2009, we started trying to conceive by that July, we moved in together in October, he proposed in December, and we were married in February 2010. Within 9 months of meeting him, we were married and trying to start our own family. Remember how I started this? It’s not your time, until it is.
The hard part starts here
The summer after we were married, hubster says: “this isn’t working, let’s see a doctor, I want to make this happen.” Me: “Well ok then, let’s go.” To begin our journey, we visit what we were told was one of the most recognized and successful fertility clinics in NY. The initial appointment was simple enough. We walked the doctor through my history and the fact that Alex already had two kids. Leaving the appointment, it all seemed simple enough, at least that’s how the doctor made it seem. He was confident that my case was an ‘easy one’ so I walked out elated, looking at my husband while saying, “we’re having a baby soon.” Wow!!! was I wrong..
We started with tests, lots of them.. then the medication. Geez, who knew?! I’m not afraid of needles, but having to poke yourself over and over, night after night, to help produce eggs was exhausting. On top of that, we were going to appointments every other day to see if it was working. There were days I just couldn’t poke myself anymore so I’d ask my husband and he was terrible – Leaving me bruised every time! I got so upset one time that I poked him with a needle just so he knew how it felt! (don’t worry it was a clean and empty one) But, we’re in this together… right?! Lol
It all became physically, emotionally and financially exhausting. Not only was it all mechanical (you can have sex this day, but not this day) but don’t even get me started on the burden on the man who wants to get the boonky every day. Instead, we have to monitor the “right times” .. I’d yell, “give your sperm time to re-up, babe. We need them strong” or “I’ll kill you if I find out that you’re pleasuring yourself in there! That’s just a waste, you got that?!!!” Wow, I laugh as I write this… It felt like there was pressure on every facet of our relationship… and no one tells you about it before you start. No one tells you the squabbles over being spontaneous or about the weight you gain or about the exhaustion. You don’t read about the dreaming, hopes, and disappointment that happen over and over again. Remember the days in college and beyond when you happily waited for ‘that time of the month’ to come after a tryst where you weren’t careful enough? Now, looking down at that toilet paper and seeing pink broke your heart. No one tells you any of it.
Try, try and try again
Over the next 3 1/2 years, my husband and I had 5 IUI’s because we wanted to start more ‘naturally’. As a result of my condition, those 5 times were physically one of the most painful experiences of my life. To paint a picture, while most women can have an almost uneventful annual pap smear, mine were excruciating because again a stenotic cervix basically means your cervix opening is closed almost completely shut. So imagine sticking needles or probing of any kind… NOT FUN! I cringe just thinking about it! Many times I laid on that table screaming with tears down my face, “please stop, it’s not meant to be, please just stop!” God bless their hearts though because their responses were always, “NO! You will do this because you want to be a mom…” They were right and I did it every time.
Unfortunately, those 5 IUI’s ended with no success… 5 different heartbreaking setbacks which consisted of me crying in bed or sobbing as I watched friends get pregnant. It got to the point that when my sister got pregnant, I pleaded to God, “but why not me?” Why not God?”
It’s now a year later and I’m a year older. Now My Mr. wants us to be more aggressive. “We’re doing IVF, we’re making this baby!” So, we talk to the doctor and discuss next steps: the meds more aggressive & in return, the mood swings more frequent, the fights more combative, and the patience way shorter. The emotional roller coaster I endured was trying. We have to stimulate eggs and retrieve them to then transfer to the womb. The steps longer, the stages more difficult, and the process more expensive. But, we didn’t stop… we kept trying. Many times questioning if we really wanted to do this, but always coming to the decision of YES!
After 5 months, we had 2 almost perfect eggs. ‘They’re waiting for me -Those are my babies!’ We knew the chances of having twins but we didn’t care, “transfer them both Doc.” We go in for our first IVF. I walk into the sterile room and I see my doctor, 2 nurses, an anesthesiologist and an embryologist. Lots of people for 2 little eggs… But, this is serious. This is potential life being transferred into my womb.
They show them on a screen and say, “these are your eggs, is this your name?” On the petri dish are two little circles and my last name. “Yes that’s my name and those are my babies,” I say out loud. I say thank you to everyone in the room and tell my babies I’ll see them soon… and then I’m asleep.
I woke up 15 minutes later to nurses explaining, “they’re in there so take it easy, but you are able to go back to work and be normal and we will see you in a week for a pregnancy test.” The longest week of my life. Just like every other try,
I go back a week later & they draw blood. Now, I’m waiting for the ‘call’. Anyone who has been through this process knows that call all too well: the call with your HCG numbers (the BETA test that determines pregnancy). Anything over 15 is potential pregnancy, anything over 25 is awesome. 45? You’re definitely preggo!
But, guess what?? “I’m sorry Mrs. Mercedes, the transfer was unsuccessful.” My world crumbles once again. There’s nothing like the feeling of being told you’re not going to be a mom this time… when there’s nothing more that you want in the universe.
We go through this process 4 more times: sometimes getting pregnant and experiencing a heartbreaking miscarriage and mourning that loss or no success at all. In October of 2012 after my last miscarriage, I almost gave up. I just didn’t have the energy, my spirit was broken. Maybe it’s not in the cards for me.
My aunt told me to listen to Joel Olsteen. Now, I am a strong believer in GOD but I don’t deem myself religious… TV ministers were a joke in my eyes. However, I gave it a try, respecting her/her opinion the way that I do, I listened to his podcasts. I must say, “the world definitely has a way of sending you messages when you need them most.” This particular sermon was about God’s timing. He began to talk about his sister-in-law and how she and his brother were trying to get pregnant. He discussed how long they tried and how often she pleaded to our GOD to give her a baby until one day she spoke to GOD and said the following, “ God, I want to be a mom, but I won’t beg you anymore! If you believe being a mom is in my future you will give me a baby, and if not then I won’t be a mom. But, I will no longer plead, only you know if and when it will be my time. I will give it to you.“
It struck me like a lightning bolt through my soul. YES! YES, GOD! What she said. I also will no longer beg. You will not get one more tear from me. JA! NO MAS! Only you know if it’s meant for me. And I lived it..
We then considered another route. Adoption. There are so many children that need parents to love them… So, why not us? We did our research. After speaking to a lawyer and agency, we strongly considered that option as well in making my dream of being a parent a reality.
We decided to try one last time, but this time it was different. The pit of my stomach wasn’t in knots because I really believed that if it was meant to be, it would be. We went for our last IVF transfer on January 6th, 2013. On January 13th, I went for my first blood test at 7:34 am. We then waited for the call. At 10:41 am I got my HCG #. “Mrs. Mercedes, your HCG is 48.” BINGO!!!! This is the one.. And it was. On September 18th, 2013, I gave birth to the most precious child. My child… and I was a mommy. Thank you, God, it really was all in your time.
Well worth the wait
My pregnancy was far from a smooth one but every nauseous and exhausting moment was worth it. My life never felt more complete than the moment I held my first child. I knew my life would never be the same again and I welcomed it.
This story was my most vulnerable and difficult to share. I know that not everyone will understand my journey as many don’t share their struggle with infertility because it’s still considered taboo even today. But, having my first child via IVF doesn’t make me less of a mom. If anything, it makes me more so because I fought tooth and nail to bring you into this world. I waited and waited, I cried and I pleaded. There were sleepless nights and overwhelming moments before you even existed. You were not a mistake, but a purposeful miracle. I’m not ashamed of doing what I did to bring you here my child, you came at God’s time.
I share this story for all the people like me who thought their time would never come. For the future mommies who don’t know they will be yet, for those that think of giving up, and for those that just don’t understand why some people want that so bad. Not wanting to be a parent is totally cool and respected but for the people who yearn that title of ‘Mom’, you go get it… whatever it takes. Submit to the process, the heartache and the struggles. Your moment will come, say so naturally, adoption, IVF or surrogate. Don’t give up, not ever.. I promise it’s so worth it.
I want to dedicate this post to the people that supported me throughout every hard and vulnerable moment. To my mom who supported me and hugged me through every heartbreaking loss. To my sister Veronica and cousin Emily who kept my spirits up. To my best friend Danisha for never letting me give up on my dream to become a mom. To my Belles for doing group prayers with me. To my work family Sumita B, Cecilia H, Sarah O and Shadan D for your understanding and picking up my slack. And most importantly, to my husband who went half on everything we did to make it happen!