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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Waiting Game

Meet Ysabel. As most women do, she began her journey into motherhood with the expectation that it would all happen naturally. However, after three years of repeated failed attempts, Ysabel decided to enter into a world filled with specialists, treatments, and a long list of symptoms. But the question she was left with month after month was, "will this work?!" Enjoy reading her story in her own words below.

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Scenarios in life teach you to accept that some things come easier for some more than others. And for a goal oriented and career driven person like myself, I took for granted that I could accomplish anything with hard work and dedication. On the list of those things I could not accomplish alone… conceiving a child. And each month a constant reminder came, “I guess I’m NOT…due!”

Life has a funny way of teaching you lessons to make you stronger. But knowing that did not make it easier to accept, especially as a woman when you know you were put on earth to procreate. However, I could not lose sight that God puts you in certain situations to test your faith, your marriage and your independence.

So after three years of “trying” my husband and I began to contemplate whether to see a specialist, but we both felt we could conquer this without any help. So we focused more and more. Yet ovulation kit after ovulation kit and month after month we were still in the same spot... “I Guess I’m NOT due!”

The one thing that made it easier for me throughout this process was the love and adoration for my five sweet precious angels. 

I think about being an aunt, and sometimes I wonder – “if I love these kids so much, how could I possibly love my own child more?!” Watching them grow and being there for as many of their special moments as I can, has subsided beyond belief the longing for a bond with my own child. 

Then New Year’s Eve 2012 came. I remember like it was yesterday, Marshall and I had reservations at Capital Grill to countdown to 2013. We had gotten on the early train home with just enough time to make it to happy hour at a local spot… and the time just flew by talking and enjoying each other’s company. So much that we never made it to our reservation that night. The celebration of the night quickly deviated just at midnight to tears and an asthma attack, with my relentlessly sobs, “I just want a baby!”

Although I still like to deny that “breakdown” happened, I believe that was the moment my husband realized the last three years had been a little more difficult than I had led onto. And on his own he was finally convinced to move forward with a fertility specialist. What we didn’t realize was that living in the city with one car and having a full time job 40 minutes away would require “creative” solutions for transportation … because when it comes to fertility treatments – timing is everything! 

At our first appointment with our specialist my husband broke the ice fairly quickly given his inability to remain serious, so as soon as the options and details were shared his first response was no surprise to me. The only comment after the long debrief was simply, “This is great Doc, but I really don’t want to be ‘Jon & Kate Plus 8’ without the TV deal… so I just want to lay that out there now.”
When it comes to fertility treatments the expenses increase as does the likelihood of multiples. So hearing the plan the doctor put before us - of more tests, medications, shots, regular observation and the use of science and technology to attempt to make a baby - we were both overwhelmed, and yet so excited that we now had other options to consider. And that comment was his way of expressing his “excitement”. To say the least, the doctor is a very serious and subdued man and clearly didn’t understand my husband’s humor (most of the time I don’t either). His response was short and simple, “I will not let that happen.” Hmmm.…. I still don’t really know what that meant (what if there are really more than two?!)… but I will still never ask him to elaborate on how he could be so confident. 

I vividly recall one afternoon at work sitting in the boardroom presenting to a room full of people when the hot flashes came on in full force and redness that quickly travelled from my chest to my cheeks. That was followed by an unrelenting feeling that I was going to throw up all over the table. Needless to say, I made a very ungraceful exit from the room and played it off with some pathetic excuse later that I am sure sounded like a bunch of lies. Now the fun began…. right along with all the symptoms of the fertility medicines.

Nausea, Upset Stomach, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Headaches, Hot Flashes and Dizziness – Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, Check and Check. If only it were the symptoms I was experiencing because of pregnancy...

I recognize I am not the only woman who has gone through this difficult journey, so for that reason I refuse to get any sympathy or pity out of it. It is simply the cards we were dealt and the deck we are expected to play with. Is it an emotional roller coaster? Absolutely, especially worse hopped up on massive amounts of hormones! And I could say I never had any breakdowns, but that would be a lie. Although I tried hard to hold it in and not let my emotions get the best of me, sometimes the frustration can just be too much.

After a few unsuccessful rounds, we prayed hard and tried to make sense of what was happening and what to do next. There was no need to even take a pregnancy test, because the disappointment came like clock-work each month. It was ultimately frustrating. I made sure to surround myself by children on my down time, but I could not help wonder… why couldn’t I have my own?!

And I know, we are by no means pioneers down this path of disappointment… but regardless of how long you have tried, it just really sucks! There’s really no other way to describe it. The month’s waned on and it had gotten to be too much to handle emotionally. The immense anticipation followed by sheer disappointment. We had reached a point where we thought our journey may lead us down a different path, and began to research adoption agencies.

Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2013… I had been to the clinic almost every other day as we had gotten more aggressive with the plan. And I remember talking to one of my good friends that night and explaining that I was still planning to go out and have some drinks, because I didn’t think it would make a difference or would work anyway. She reminded me to not lose hope and to still take it as seriously.

The waiting game continued. Then one day… Nausea, Upset Stomach, Bloating, Heart Burn, Exhaustion and Headaches. Check, Check, Check, Check, Check and Check. Not too much has changed since the fertility medications that were part of my regimen. But one little stick and an office visit two days later and… I Guess I’m Due

Looking back, the feeling that we were finally pregnant was unimaginable, so much so that it still felt unreal. The emotion was such that it was difficult to decide what an appropriate response was – to cry, laugh or scream. It took a couple more tests (five to be exact) and hours to sink in, and to be honest it still does not feel real.

The road has been a little bit bumpier than we expected it to be. But we are finally past the first trimester and so excited we can finally share our joy with those near and dear to us. Now it feels a little more real every day, and we know whatever happens, just like the last four years, God has a plan for us and we trust Him no matter what. For us, we finally have a gift we’ve been praying for some time now.

photography: Matias Barbero Photography

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