My friend Kimmy Conger asked me to write a guest post for her blog redbrickblondie.blogspot.com. She was featuring different friends experiences about motherhood and everything momma related throughout the month of May. Here is my post…
This is what the beginning of motherhood looked like for me.
I had never planned on being a mother, a wife, or taking care of anyone besides myself. I had friends who already had decided on having 6 children and their names picked in high school. I just never saw that for myself. I wanted to dedicate myself to school, and if a family came along, then maybe I would change my plans.
I met my husband in June of 2009, and then everything changed. My school plans quickly changed from med school, to the easiest major I could find so I could graduate and begin a career. I still didn’t have children on my radar.
After we had been married a year I decided that I would go off of birth control and if we got pregnant it would be time to start our family. Well… another year went by and nothing happened. At my yearly doctors appointment I expressed my concerns to my OB because I just felt something wasn’t right. After months and months of blood work, MRI’s, hysterosalpingograms, ultrasounds, and CT’s we found that I had a pituitary tumor, my hormone levels were way off, and my body wasn’t ovulating.
From there I was told I needed to wait to get pregnant (as if I even could) another 6 months to a year, or until I was given medical clearance. I still was never baby hungry, but being told I COULDN’T have a baby, really made me want to try. At that point I decided I would wait the 6 months, then I wanted to try fertility treatments. I called my insurance company to see what I needed to do to get a referral to an infertility specialist, and I was completely surprised to find out that my husbands employer and insurance company covered the University of Utah Center for Reproductive Medicine and they would cover up to $30,000 of fertility treatments.
This was a huge sign to me that I needed to do everything in my power to try to have a baby. I booked my first appointment and spent months and months getting ready for my first round of treatment. Long story short, after 5 failed IUI’s (intrauterine insemination aka: artificial insemination) we decided IVF (in-vitro fertilization) was our last option.
A year and a half of fertility treatments, I finally was pregnant after a successful first round of IVF. We were able to get 4 embryos. I had to argue with the doctors to convince them to transfer 2 embryos at a time. They were very adamant that I should only carry 1 baby at a time. I felt very strongly I needed 2 embryos. Call it fate, God, or whatever you want, but I just knew. I made them transfer 2 embryos and 1 of them worked.
This was our miracle. I knew it. It was so worth all of the hard, sad, stressful, painful, and emotional struggles. I was finally a mom.
Pregnancy sucks. It was cruel and unusual punishment. I kept waiting for the “glow” to happen, but I was just green and fat. I am Type 1 diabetic so I was told I would get to deliver at 37 weeks, and I was thrilled to be given 3 weeks off. Despite my difficult pregnancy, things were pretty normal until I hit 28 weeks. I never really felt the baby move. Every now and then I would get a kick or 2, but not the 5-10 per hour I was supposed to be feeling. I had really high levels of amniotic fluid, which gave baby plenty of swimming pool and gave reason behind not feeling movement.
At my 28 week ultrasound the doctors started noticing more problems. They told me that baby’s long bones were measuring short. I said, “ok well that’s weird my husband is 6’4.” It was then they told me the baby had a form of skeletal dysplasia. Huh? They asked me if I had ever heard of dwarfism. I had, but I had no clue really what they were telling me. From there the only thing I heard was them tell me there was a chance baby’s lungs wouldn’t develop because the chest could be too small and baby might not survive after birth. They asked me if I wanted to have an amniocentesis to know for sure, or if I just wanted to wait until delivery to know for sure. I opted to have the tests done right there, and I went home and fell into the deepest depression of my life. I was a mess for days. I couldn’t stop crying and I just knew that this pregnancy was too good to be true. I knew there was a reason I’d told myself not to get my hopes up. A week later my test results came back positive for Achondroplasia (a-con-dro-play-ja). Achondroplasia, or achon for short, is the most common form of dwarfism. It is characterized by short arms and legs, big heads, and trident hands. Achondroplasia is not a lethal form of dwarfism, but some babies die after birth from not being able to breathe. This finally gave me hope.
From there I started trying to accept my new reality. I kept trying to learn as much as I could about Achondroplasia but everything I was finding online was scaring me. The medical conditions people with achon face seemed overwhelming and I still just felt hopeless. I was so miserable and just didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. The doctors gave me the option to terminate my pregnancy, but I don’t believe in that. Then I turned to instagram, and typed in the hashtag #Achondroplasia and the cutest kids I’d ever seem popped up. I then discovered this whole community that I didn’t know about. I reached out to other moms to answer questions that the doctors just couldn’t. I finally was excited to meet our little guy and I knew that things would be ok.
Our perfect little Cooper came into the world on November 5th, 2014. From the moment I saw him I was just in love. I never knew that I could love something or someone so strong. He became the only thing that mattered in life. He was just small, that’s all.
The first year of Cooper’s life was full of doctors appointments and tests. It was obvious we had a very special boy who was so strong. He handled 2 major surgeries and 6 MRI’s with anesthesia like a champ. I can honestly say I think all of the medical issues were harder on mom & dad than on Coop. But his sweet smile and that adorable laugh always let me know that he’s happy. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and great doctors that helped us get him here and to keep him healthy.
Being a mom has taught me so much. It’s taught me that life is precious, and sometimes it’s hard. But there is nothing better than watching someone grow. Cooper impresses me with each and every milestone he accomplishes. He rolled over, and I cried. He picked up a piece of food, I cried. He said “dog,” I cried. He stood up, and I bawled. It’s a miracle that with lots of help I made those two cells that grew into this amazing, thinking, smart, funny, beautiful thing. Motherhood truly is a blessing. He makes me so proud and he makes me feel like I have a place in this life, because I’m Cooper’s mom. It’s the hardest & best job in the world.
With that being said I want to touch base on motherhood being so much more than actually having a baby. I’ve only experienced a minute of the heartache that other women feel everyday who are unable to have children. I’ve been so lucky and blessed to be given a healthy baby. But the one things it’s taught me is that LOVE is the most important thing. Moms are important because they LOVE you no matter what. Motherhood is LOVE. If you have unconditional LOVE for anything, that is what a mom is. So for those who don’t have hopes of having a child of their own, have LOVE. Whether it’s love of being an aunt, a dog-mom, a house, a car, a person, a complete stranger. To love and nurture is a natural womanly instinct. Please don’t let the hardship of infertility or anything keep you from your natural instinct to love & nurture. Just have LOVE.
Everyday I’m thankful to be a mom. I sometimes have to remind myself this when I’m tired, or cleaning up puke, or listening to a screaming child- but I’m thankful. Being a mom is a blessing and I’m so thankful there’s a whole day just for moms, even though they don’t get that day off. One day Cooper may hate me, but I’ll still love him. That’s just what moms do. I know my mom still loves me.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom! Love you!
“Mom is a title just above Queen” -Anonymous