Our journey in a nutshell: It took 7 years until we held our beautiful son in our arms. 7 years and 109 devastating “not pregnant” or “no baby” messages later…Why count? I don’t know…I guess because it was such a brutal journey.
Our full story:
Seven years ago my husband I “newly weds” decided to have kids. I was 37 at that time and my obstetrician gave me the blunt news that I was already age wise at the very edge of a ‘woman’s fertility chart’. Nice! Thank you for the uplift Doc. Haven’t many women far older than 37 years proven the opposite ? Well, since I couldn’t go back in time, I at least had the choice between negative or positive thoughts and I decided to go for a positive mind set: If it is meant to be – it will happen – no matter what charts say!
Six months into trying and a very painful feeling in my abdominal I got my first sad diagnose. I needed surgery. I had an inflamed tube that needed to be removed which left me with only one. Of course obstetrician comments were again extremely motivating regarding pregnancy. Top of the list: “Only a miracle can help”.
Within the next couple months it turned out, no miracle for us. So we decided to move on with IVF. We had 4 attempts and one after the other was a brutal ‘No’. I never thought a phone call with the result of the pregnancy test can be so devastating. Every time our hopes were up even when we tried not to. However I was filled with hormones like a horse and as we all know, they take you on a ride – if you like it or not.
After those very emotional roller coaster rides, not to mention the physical stress with endless shots I had given myself along those IVF attempts, we decided to take a break. My thyroid doctor who had treated me during that time looked at me and said. “Birgit you should find someone professional to talk to about your IVF experiences.” I looked at her and thought. “Why? I am fine!! Isn’t there worse than not getting pregnant..?”
That same night I visited my new fertility yoga class (of course still hoping for our little miracle) and told my yoga teacher about the conversation I had with my doc earlier that day. I asked her, if she knew someone I could see, still in total disbelief that I would need it…the teacher looked at me and said. “Well I don’t want to advertise for myself, but I am also a fertility coach. I can help you, if you like”. I looked at her stunned. Never heard such thing called “fertility coach” and I thought, maybe it’s meant to be…maybe I need to talk…well it can’t hurt giving it a try.
It was the best I could have ever done. I had no idea how many feelings I had suppressed along our trying period with each painful ‘No’ per cycle including our four devastating IVF attempts. I learned to feel my feelings, to observe them and allow them to be. My sad feelings lasted shorter due to the fact that they were heard and I slowly found my balance and strength back. I learned when to say NO to situations, such as kid’s birthday parties, baby showers etc. I learned to choose who is good for me to be around with and who it is better to take a break from. It was very liberating and I started to really getting to know myself.
I started to nurture my mommy part by babysitting for my friends. Them trusting me with their babies felt so good and I so much enjoyed smelling, hugging and playing with them. I twice babysat over night while my friend delivered the second baby at the hospital…Did this make me sad? Yes, it did and I allowed those feelings, but the joy outweighed them. I was in a good place. However there were other times where I wasn’t in such a good place. We all know grief comes in very unpredictable waves, it is important to listen to yourself. Another friend asked me, if I could do the same for her. At that time I couldn’t do it, it was after another IVF failure and I felt empty and drained. At that time being around the joy of having a second baby that wouldn’t have been bearable.
My husband and I decided after a short break to move on with adoption. We felt we really wanted to become parents and it did not matter whether our baby came through us or to us – we felt we wanted to help a child who’s birth parents are not able to parent.
We went through the whole paperwork process, which triggered again a lot of feelings. The average time is about 1,5 years to become parents. We were again in the loop of a waiting period, again in the dependency of phone calls and again depended on someone else’s decision. It felt so unfair others just got pregnant the natural way and we were depended on, doctors, counselors, birth moms, paper work, FBI screenings etc. It was a lot to take in.
When the paperwork was done we got into the adoption parents pool, which means birth moms choose from this pool. After one long year we got selected. We couldn’t believe it, we were so excited. We build a wonderful relationship over two months with the birth parents and their two kids. We visited them several times and could absolutely imagine having an open adoption together. The birth mom carried a little girl and we decided to name her Paulina, we so much loved this name. In January close to the due date we received the BMs call that her contractions have started and that she is on her way to the hospital. We dropped everything and jumped into the car off to the hospital. We were led by the nurses into the BM’s rooms, where we found her and her mom crying…she seemed devastated…I immediately thought she had a change of heart and she wants to keep the baby. She looked at us and could hardly speak…the only words I heard were…she is dead…no heartbeat anymore…I felt I was struck by lightning. I was numb…I didn’t feel anything…I only stared at her womb and couldn’t believe it…it was too surreal.
We sat with the birth parents in the delivery room for another 8 hours until the BM’s body was ready to deliver the baby – we needed the time together to talk, to cry or just be silent. Trying to understand the impossible otherwise the pain would have been unbearable for all of us. In the evening Andy and I left the hospital with our empty car seat. Here it was again – another ‘No’. The most painful one we have ever gotten…
It took us a couple weeks to grief and to accept what had happened…during this time we took a break from the adoption.
When we decided to go back into the adoption parents pool I had worked a lot with my fertility coach. I could have never made it without her and without the IFS model she used on me. It was a life saver!
A couple profiles and months later we got selected by very sweet birth parents again. We got along great and we build another wonderful relationship over 12 weeks. When we learned that the baby was born healthy we were very relieved and so excited to visit her the very next day.
When we arrived at the hospital the BM’s family was there and everybody was extremely nice and introduced us as the adoptive parents of the baby. I got to hold the baby and wondered. “Are you our little daughter? ” I only felt silence inside of me…When we left the hospital Friday evening Andy and I were very excited and afraid at the same time that something could go wrong again. We had to wait the weekend for our call.
Monday morning our counselor called. This time I asked Andy to take the call. I saw it right away in his eyes and I heard him say. “No of course we understand”….the following sentences disappeared in the dark. I knew the BM had a change of heart, she decided to keep the baby. Our help wasn’t needed. We were happy for her, she felt she can parent and that was wonderful. If there wasn’t the other side of the story – our side! Another “No” – our dream was shattered again like a crystal bowl against the wall – it seemed never ending.
Andy and I left town the very next day, we had to get out in order to get our heads clear. We flew to Oregon on a road trip – we hiked and were in nature all day it helped us grieving. It was a beautiful trip, it seemed like someone tried to make it as pleasant as possible for us.
After this second heart breaking experience I decided I cannot build another relationship with a birth mom before she delivers. What nature had taught me so far was loud and clear. “Don’t compete with me”. I realized, if a birth mom feels she can or cannot parent that comes from a place deep inside of her and it cannot be influenced by a lovely outside relationship. I felt there is plenty of time left after birth for building this relationship. For that reason I asked our counselor from now on to please only hand us profiles from born babies. We also felt we needed to set up a deadline. It was July at that time and the end of the year felt good to us to rethink wether we would continue with adoption or not.
The year ended and we didn’t get any further profiles. However we got a point where we felt we were in a good place. It was Christmas and the Holiday season did not break my heart for the first time in 6 years. Although our wish for a baby hadn’t been gone. Thanks to my counseling over the past years we felt the collateral beauty in our lives and we had accepted the fact of not being in control. With this feeling it did not hurt to continue.
At that time I already had started to read tons of books about IFS (Internal Family System by Dr. Richard Schwartz) I was so fascinated by it and how this model had helped me dealing and managing my feelings throughout the past years. I was still in the same situation but felt happy and balanced. The dream of a baby was still present but all hurtful feelings became manageable. I visited the IFS conferences in Providence in 2015 and 2016, it was each time an incredible experience and I started my first IFS online courses in2016. I just knew this was something I had to pursue in my life.
In April 2016 we received a profile about a baby boy 6 weeks old. It was our 25th profile. We looked at it and said Yes, but we did not put much more thought into it. We had been there so often…After a week I received a call from our counselor and she said:” Birgit you and Andy are selected by the BM!” I stared at our wall…I couldn’t believe it…really – good news? Immediately I stopped myself with being overly excited..we had been there twice. Yes, it’s great…but still a long way to go.
Next step, our counselor set up a date to meet the Birth Mom of the 6 weeks old boy for the following week. Andy an I were very nervous, many memories and feelings surfaced again and the voice in our head kept constantly asking. “Another set up for getting hurt?”
Our first conversation with the BM was great, even though we were very nervous we laughed a lot and told many stories about each others lives. She was such a warm and kind person, we immediately got along very well.
Our counselor mentioned before that, if she decides to place the baby with us, she wouldn’t sign that day. She wanted to take another day or two to think about it. We could totally understand that, what a huge and emotional decision this must be. After our meeting each party left the room and continued talking to each of their counselor. A few minutes later our counselor got called out by the BM’s counselor and left the room. That didn’t feel good to me…another change of heart…?
Andy and I sat there trying to keep ourselves together by talking to a woman who just started at the agency and had joined our meeting to learn. A few minutes later the door opened again and our counselor came back with tears in her eyes…and I thought. “Oh boy bad news”?! We looked at her puzzeled and she said with a couple cracks in her voice: “The BM loves you both so much that she wants to sign the papers today !”
I remember just staring at her…Andy the same…I found back my voice first and all I could ask was. “What does this mean exactly”? I just couldn’t believe…no obstacle…no No….and she said. “You can take your baby home today!”
And here it was…our YES and our BABY….
Luca is turning one in March 2017. When he joined our family he brought a lot of laughter, love and exhaustion into our lives. He is so very precious and with him we became the 3 musketeer. We three are the perfect match and best example how life can bring you love and happiness in many different ways and on many different levels.
Today I spend my main time with Luca. I just love being with him and seeing him grow and developing his little personality. I work part time as a Business Consultant for Fashion Designers, mentor the Chicago Fashion Incubators and teach Fashion Management at Columbia College. I have worked in the fashion industry for over 25 years and I love the mix of business and art. However our baby journey and my IFS experience over the past years opened up another door. When I graduated from high school I wasn’t sure wether I wanted to study psychology or business. I decided for business but psychology always kept my interest. I feel it is the right time to pursue this passion now and coach women and their friends and family with fertility issues. With my experience and the support of the IFS model I can help women make their fertility and/or adoption journey easier, as IFS made it easier for me.
Thank you for taking the time reading our story…
I hope my blog is helping you and supporting you along your difficult journey. If you need someone to talk to I am here for you. You are not alone in this.
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