Have you ever Googled yourself? Unless you are the kind of smart that has mastered SEO (search engine optimization…aka how Google communicates with you), you have done something national spotlight worthy, or whatnot, you have to include a few things to find YOU. I throw in St. Louis, and there I am.
Last night as I clicked through my Google list, I stumbled upon a podcast that I did back in July of 2018. Pre-plague that demands quarantine. Pre-business explosion (in a good way). But, most importantly…. definitely pre-mamahood. I joined Meg Collier to talk about something we, as women, are not supposed to talk about: Infertility.
You can listen to that here. Or…just keep reading.
When I met my hubby, we realized we had a very similar “life plan.” It would include lots of adventures. Cardinal’s baseball. St. Louis, that is. So much jamming at concerts would be done.
Once engaged, we were advised to create two lists that have created balance in our marriage.
1. Categorize all the house chores into the following “hate, tolerate, enjoy.”
2. Create a “pre-kids” bucket list.
Well, our preferred workloads matched perfectly. Jason is particular about laundry and how the dishwasher is loaded. I want the bathrooms kept a certain way. Boom. Easy peasy. Just to name a few.
The bucket list was fun. We started celebrating Opening Day shortly after getting married. Traveled all over the country, and drank around the world at Epcot. Danced with Larry the Cable Guy in the French Quarter, and it appeared on his show later. Some planned and so many unexpected memories made.
Then the last thing on the list was booked: Hawaii. As we prepared for the trip, I scheduled my annual gyno appointment. Informed her we were ready. We wanted to try and be parents. Lots of blood work, tests, and such later, everything looked great. Then my pap smear results came back. And I got a phone call.
“Alison, I hate to break this to you. You’re going to have to pack condoms for Hawaii. You cannot get pregnant yet. You’re going to have to have surgery when you get back.”
I signed documents saying that if crap hit the fan during surgery they could give me a hysterectomy. I was 27. And signing papers. THOSE papers. I was devastated.
Jason was my super-hero. He was so supportive through it all. Worried. But, positive through it all. The best nurse after surgery. Always reminding me we were meant to be parents. It would all work out.
Hawaii was fantastic. Surgery was the opposite. But, I came out on the other side ok.
Yet, I was still not getting pregnant. And my TN doctor couldn’t figure out why. Eventually, my MO one didn’t either. I felt broken.
In retrospect, I don’t understand why. One would not…well, should not…ever make a diabetic feel less than because their body cannot produce insulin. My body couldn’t seem to make a baby. This is literally no different. Well, except for society.
A few weeks after surgery I accompanied my youth kids to Texas for the National Youth Gathering. I overdid it one day, and threw up my first Whataburger experience. That night we had a devotion with the kids, and I broke down. I told them where I was. I was real and raw. We were talking about Jeremiah 29:11.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This became my meditation verse, and it eventually was hung in our home in St. Louis. I had it one a ring. Purpose was chosen as my Word of the Year.
I told these kids that they had been told that if they had sex, they would get pregnant. And that could very well be true. And they should guard themselves. But, I had learned that that wasn’t always true. And I felt broken. Felt less than as a wife. As a woman. However, this verse touched me in a spot deep in my soul.
“For I know the plans I have for you to be parents, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you as parents and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future with a child.” This is what I heard. And what I would continually to pray for the next years.
We tried Clomid. Doc warned me about the “witchy bitchy” it might cause. Then, we found ourselves still living in a hotel, because our house in TN hadn’t been sold. The night I asked to use my hubby’s phone to look up something, he offered to do it for me, and I grabbed my keys and screamed at him for not letting me use the phone. He asked where I was going. I told him to Google it. I was done as soon as I was on the other side of the door. I needed a heating pad, and knew a Target was close. Jason just wanted to help. I left, got what I needed plus a Milky Way, and called my Mom sobbing. I had lost it, and knew it.
A few months later we agreed that we would adopt if pregnancy wasn’t successful naturally. No more drugs. No IVF. It wasn’t for us. And there were kids who needed good homes that might be great for us. And we would try daily to be good for them.
Then life continued to happen. Jason got settled into his new job in St. Louis. Miscarriage. We were loving being in our “happy place.” Promotions. Company restructures. Miscarriage. Unemployment. Great jobs. Horrible bosses. Pretty great ones. Bad apartments. Miscarriage. An ok house.
We made some decisions towards the beginning of 2017. In this process, we had countless negative pregnancy tests that shocked me. Despite the disappointment, we were going to change what we could. We would work for great bosses, once we found them. This meant I left corporate America in 2018. We were going to live in a home that would suffice for 5 years. And we were going to be intentional with whom we surrounded ourselves with. AKA we would solidify our tribe.
If you follow me on any form of social media or talk to me in real life, you will hear about our tribe. We are so incredibly blessed to have the crew we do. Every single one knew we wanted to be parents. Badly. And that it would happen as soon as God spoke it was time. Our hearts were aching in the “wait.” And they were hurting right along with us. They knew it was meant to be, and they were ready to love on the newest member of the tribe. It was a regular conversation. Not in an “oh woe is me” way. Simply, in a way that was always full of hope and anticipation.
One cannot have too many friends like this. And we are blessed with more than most.
Then something happened. We woke up one day and realized how great life really was. We were content. We liked our home. Renting is something we stayed with, because trying to sell a house for 3 years was intense and exhausting. Work was going so well for both of us. Jason loves his bosses and team. My business has been flourishing. And our tribe. Love them.
Life was good. It included lots of adventures. Cardinal’s baseball. St. Louis, that is. So much jamming at concerts.
Then it happened. I received a text October 2019. Dear friends had finalized the adoption of their precious son the month before. And their birth mother was pregnant again. I was spending the day at one of my best friend’s house. We were both going to focus on work, have a PB&J day, and just relax. This text blew that out of the water. So many scenarios were played out. Worst- and best-case scenarios. She had been there every step of the way for the other adoption. But, there was a baby. For us. Something in my soul just knew this was it.
Here’s one thing that threw me off. She said she was having a girl. A girl!?!? Jason wanted a Junior. I knew I was meant to be a “boy mom.” Sheesh. God had a funny sense of humor.
I will never forget going home that day to Jason. Told him that I had something we needed to talk about.
I sat in Riley, our rescue pup’s, chair directly across from him.
“What if we didn’t use any of your bonus this year on that Punta Cana trip?”
“You want to go back to Hawaii instead?”
“What if it was used on adoption fees for a…. ‘baby’?”
Side note--If you have ever watched the OG Gilmore Girls. There’s an episode where Lorelai talks to Luke about having a baby. And she says “baby” in a certain tone with extra syllables. I mimicked it.
Jason immediately had tears in his eyes. And he had a look of befuddled excitement, too. I told him our friends’ birth mother was pregnant again. And she had contacted them. Our info would be given to her.
This really could be it. However, we couldn’t get excited about this just yet. We couldn’t tell anyone. This would be something we would pray about together.
Then nothing. We literally heard nothing. I texted our friend. She’d heard nothing. Radio silence from the birth mother. I was a basket case.
Then, out of the blue, the birth mother texted our friend, wondering if she found her a couple. We had a date scheduled for lunch: Nov 13th. This very pregnant, beautiful brunette came out and got in the car. Conversation came easily. But, her vibe just wasn’t clear.
At the end our friend looked at the birth mother and bluntly said, “So what do you think? I have a few more couples I can talk to.”
Nope. She loved us. I stayed calm in that moment. That was nothing but Jesus. We dropped her off, and she fully got inside with the door shut. I screamed. My friend and I gushed together.
Two days later we had our annual Friendsgiving with our Tribe. The anticipation we had was intense. We announced to our crew we were having a baby. Tears. Screams. Cheers. More tears. SO many hugs. This was the moment so many had hoped for over the years.
Over the next few weeks our birth mother sent me ultrasounds. We announced to our families at Thanksgiving. The anticipation was so overwhelming. I thought I’d burst.
Then I went on my girlfriends’ trip for two weeks. Upon my return, I would have 6 weeks until the due date. Plenty of time.
During the trip, I saw a mom group having tea with their babies. It was the first time I saw something like this without getting a pit in my stomach. I bought teal moccasins at the Christmas Market. My girlfriends’ and I saw cute Mommy and me outfits. It just brought me a thrill. I would get to do this soon. The girls and I returned home to our people ready for the days to follow.
Jason and I celebrated Christmas and New Year’s. We were so excited. Our girl would be here in a month. Feb 3rd was our due date, and it would happen in a blink. A name was picked, a plan for her room was made, and threats against purchasing baby things were continuously sent out to our Tribe.
Then Jan 4th found us. We went to the Garden Glow with our girl’s Godparents. We decided this would be an annual tradition. We talked of the things our girl would love about it.
Jan 7th, I had just emailed off a session. I had shot a wedding a weekish before. These were the last “pre-baby” things I needed to finish for work. Jason had been Mayor of Sleepytown for about an hour. I was thinking about heading to bed. I grabbed some OJ, and turned on a show. My phone buzzed.
“I’m at the hospital. Its time.” A quick call to our birth mother. She wasn’t due until February. What do you mean, “it’s time?”
“Girl, have you been checked out?”
“I’m putting on my shoes. See you soon.”
“JASON!! IT’S TIME. WE’RE HAVING A BABY.”
Jason Squared's best girl. Jesus freak. Dog mom. Auntie. Screaming loud for STL Cards and Battle Hawks, Nashville Predators, Kentucky Wildcats. Dancing hard at concerts. Just a girl living out loud. On purpose.