We are honored to be able to continue to share story after story of amazing women this month. They continue to pour in, even after the iPad mini drawing was over all in an effort to have their stories told. This morning we are sharing with you Snowell's story of infertility. Just like Courtney and I, she and her husband had "plans" of how and when they would start their family. But God had other plans. Through their struggles, they were blessed to grow from a family of two to a family of seven within 13 months through adoption and a miracle conception. Please join me today as we welcome Snowell to ONSEL today. We know you will be deeply touched by her story.
Hello my name is Snowell, and I have ridden the roller-coaster of infertility for 8-1/2 years now. We were married in April 2006, with the plan to wait until our apartment lease was up in a year, then get a house & start our family. I wanted 6 biological children (1 every 2 or 3 years would be fine), and when they all grew up & I was an empty-nester, we would consider foster care, foster-to-adopt or adoption.
That plan lasted for about a month.
In May we flushed the birth-control pills down the toilet & started trying for a child. And trying. And Trying. By Christmas I knew something was wrong. No one tries & fails for 8 straight months in a row. I went to my 1st gynecologist appointment ever. How uncomfortable! But, all I learned is that having babies is "all about the timing," and that we were to keep trying for a few months. What I also learned is that the incredibly debilitating periods that I had been having could be a sign of something worse.
The months progresses & still no baby. I was recommended to an endocrinologist/fertility specialist. She told me that my case was very simple & would pregnant within the next 3 months. But, nothing worked. The pills made me sick, I would have much rather had morning sickness. The hot-flashes from the medicines made me wonder if I had somehow missed my child-bearing years at the age of 22. I was in the doctor nearly every week for monitoring. I had lost all of my modesty by being poked & prodded by so many strangers!
About this time God had put an idea in my head. Why wait to join the Mommy Team? I need to be a mommy now! The drive consumed me & didn't go away until I had the paperwork in-hand for a local adoption agency. We decided that we wanted to do foster-to-adopt. I couldn't stand the thought of bringing a child into our home, giving them my heart & then they move back with their parents, so straight foster care was out. And, I couldn't afford an adoption. We didn't care if our child was black, white, yellow, orange or green with pink polka dots. We didn't care if it was a boy or a girl. We had hoped for a child 3 years old or younger, and we were willing to take in 2 children if they were siblings & if they were the same gender.
And, the waiting game began. We waited 4 months before the placement specialist suggested that we widen our age range to 5 years old and younger. We widened it, and waited 2 more months. Then we got the phone call. I was at work, and took the call on the front sidewalk. My placement worker was on maternity leave (go figure) and her back-up didn't know our specifications. She said "I have a little boy who is 4 years old, and his little sister who is 2 years old. We want to place them in the same home. Are you interested?" I almost shouted YES! But, I told her very calmly that I needed to speak to my husband, but most likely this would be a great placement. I immediately called my husband and told him the news, along with "We've waited 2-1/2 years for a child, and have been on this waiting list for 6 months. I know this isn't what we planned for, but we have the room and I think this is the family God wants us to have." He agreed, and another phone call from the placement specialist secured a move-in date for 4 days later. I followed that up with a phone call to my mom, when she answered the phone I said "So, how does it feel to be a grandma?" She was thrilled!
4 days later we had a child-proof home, a fridge full of goodies, new toys waiting patiently to be played with & new beds with new bedding were waiting to be slept in. We were going to do a meet-and-greet before the children moved in with us the next day. The social worker stopped by so that we could fill out even more paperwork. I sat there looking at their birthdays and kept counting in my head, it didn't match up... These kids were 3 & 5, not 2 & 4. Someone else couldn't add, but it didn't affect our decision at all - we were ready! That evening a shy little boy with the whitest hair you've ever seen on a child walked in, and didn't say anything. Then, his little sister walked in, went straight to my husband & said "You're my daddy now." They've had my heart ever since! After her entered a 3rd child, a little 2 year old boy, still in diapers, and not great at walking. I quickly learned that this was their little brother - the placement worker had failed to mention that it wasn't just a 2-child sibling group, it was a 4-child sibling group!
I wanted that little boy bad! As soon as his siblings were moved in & settled down I began my petition to get all of the children under 1 roof - mine.
I finally went in for a HSG test & discovered that I had a "shelf" going straight across my uterus. Not only was this causing the insanely painful and irregular periods, but was most likely blocking the baby-batter from ever meeting up. I was scheduled for a hystoscopy & endoscopy for the following day.
They removed the shelf & a few cysts and was once again promised that I would be pregnant within the next month. It didn't happen. Months passed & I finally got that little boy I had been fighting for! We were so excited to learn how to be a family together, this was the 1st time the children had ever lived in a single home. I continued my treatments & the doctor seems to be at a loss. The next step seemed to be in vitro fertilization, which would take a special OK from my insurance company. I gave them the go-ahead to start getting the approval, but in the mean-time I was going to take a shot-giving class, and I was going to start on some of the drugs that in vitro mothers-to-be use, in hopes that it would trigger my system to take the fertilized egg & become pregnant. It didn't work & the insurance company was dragging their heels. I took 1 last negative pregnancy test with the doctor, then decided to stop the drugs and medicines until the insurance companies gave the OK.
2 months later we received another phone call from the social worker. How did I feel about babies? My children's 1-year-old brother needed a new home - immediately. I loved babies! And, I was glad to provide a safe home to the biological brother of my children! We needed to trade in our truck for a minivan & we were really feeling like a complete family.
That week I kept getting sick. But, I didn't have a fever, so I still drug myself to work every day. My co-worker said "Are you sure you're not pregnant?" I patiently explained to her how I couldn't be pregnant, nothing the doctors did was working & I wasn't on any sort of medical regimen at the moment. But, the sickness didn't end, so I dug out that long-forgotten pregnancy test & gave it another go. And this time there was a little pink "+" sign instead of a (-)! I couldn't believe it. I woke up my husband & we just stared at each-other in amazement. It had been 3 years since we started trying! The fertility doctor confirmed the pregnancy, and the fact that I had conceived 1 day after my last negative test!
We adopted our children & had ourselves a beautiful baby boy (we call him our miracle baby). We went from a family of 2 to a family of 7 in 13 months! We knew immediately we weren't done - we wanted to conceive more children!
That shy white-haired boy is now almost 12 years old, and as tall as I am, and his siblings are all growing way too fast for this mommy's heart. My biological son is about to celebrate his 5th birthday. Still no little baby brothers or sisters to join our clan. Another visit to the gynecologist is leading me to fear the worst, but I'm not willing to go back to the doctors to be poked & prodded again. My husband, myself and all of our children all pray for another baby every day, and we always have hope! God-willing, we'll have another miracle child in the future. And, I'm trying to not let my jealousy consume me with every baby shower I attend.
A series for people who are grateful for infertility? Sounds crazy right! But it's not... what was once a phase of life marked by heartache and longing, has now become the scars that make us beautiful. Some of you reading this are right in the middle of your wait, are facing an unclear future or have been scarred by infertility. You may be struggling with how you could possibly be grateful for infertility. It took us a long time to get there ourselves. This is one of those areas where sometimes our faith has to guide us while our hearts and heads catch up. We have to practice thankfulness, even when it makes little sense, while God does His divine work on our souls.