Excerpt from Baby Changes Everything
“I always wanted to have a large family–six kids,” Mary said. From the time she was twelve years old, she babysat constantly. As a twentysomething single woman, she watched the children of moms her age who needed a night out.
Mary finished college and pursued a career in communications. “I realized I might get married later. But I never imagined I wouldn’t be able to have kids,” Mary recalled.
She was thirty-five years old when she married Doug, and they believed having children would happen easily. Mary’s ob-gyn cautioned, though, that it might take longer for Mary to get pregnant because of her age. During six unsuccessful years, Mary endured people asking her why she wasn’t having a baby. Finally she was referred to an infertility specialist, who then put both Mary and Doug through a battery of tests.
“The results were ‘infertility, with cause undetermined’– despite the doctor telling me that my FSH hormone level was that of a person seven years younger,” Mary said. “I thought for sure they’d find something wrong. When they didn’t, I realized my options were limited by my age.”
The specialist warned Mary she didn’t have a lot of time left to pursue treatment. After talking and praying, Mary and Doug decided not to pursue other possible alternatives like in vitro fertilization or adoption.
“If it was meant to happen at our age, it would. Doug and I didn’t want to go through the emotional roller coaster of treatments. If we’d been younger, maybe we would have.”
With the door to motherhood closed, Mary grieved that they would never have an heir to carry on the family name. “We had no one to transfer our memories to. That was the hardest thing to deal with–it stopped with us. Just seeing another mother holding her baby made my heart ache because it reminded me of my barrenness.
“I always believed that if we were meant to have a child, God would work it out. I tried not to dwell on my disappointment. But slowly I gave up the dream of motherhood and began pursuing my master’s degree. I couldn’t change anything. I needed to move on.”
Going to school and working full-time consumed all of Mary’s thoughts and stopped her from sitting home and thinking about not having children.
Then, four years later, when Mary was forty-five years old, a routine Pap test came back abnormal, raising the fear she might have cancer. Her ob-gyn had closed her medical practice, so Mary consulted her infertility specialist instead. After further testing, he performed surgery to remove a uterine polyp. Despite years of disappointment, Mary requested he be careful and not cause any damage that could prevent pregnancy.
“My request was sort of irrational. I believed it was still possible for me to get pregnant–even though I was telling myself and others it would never happen.”
Two months after the surgery, Mary missed her menstrual cycle for the first time in her life–and, also for the first time in her life, she wondered if she might be pregnant.
Mary figured her positive at-home pregnancy test couldn’t possibly be true. But during a follow-up exam with her ob-gyn, she rejoiced at seeing the amazing black-and-white image of a tiny beating heart on the ultrasound screen.
A friend said it best: “Finally the woman who always loved everybody else’s kids has her own child to love.”