My journey to motherhood has not been straightforward nor expected. When I met my husband, I talked to him about adoption. I was surprised to learn that he, too, always wanted to adopt. When I knew that we both had it on our hearts, I felt hopeful and excited. We also discussed having children biologically and knew that was also an option that we both wanted to consider. After much thought and discussion, we knew we wanted to have two kids: at least one would be adopted, and perhaps we would try to conceive the other.
I was 31 when I got married in 2017, had a myriad of chronic health issues, and knew that I needed to try to have children sooner rather than later to ensure a healthy pregnancy. As we started trying immediately after getting married, we also started researching adoption. We knew that both processes could take awhile, and didn’t want to wait. After much research, we decided on adopting domestically vs. internationally. We both had it on our hearts to provide a child with a home in the country we were born and raised.
As we began the home study process for adoption in 2018 (process by which you become eligible to adopt in the states), we also experienced zero success in conceiving. At this point it had been two years of trying, doctors visits, fertility testing and more. It all led to the same conclusion: “unexplained infertility.” Those two words were so frustrating. We were at a juncture where I could begin exploring potential treatments like IVF, but my physical health was already in poor condition and I was undergoing treatment for my chronic illnesses. I could not imagine introducing another intensive treatment on top of that for fertility. So, we decided to forego that option. I took a few months to grieve the frustrating diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. To be honest, it made it slightly easier to come to terms with because I knew we had another path to become parents: adoption.
So, we continued on the path of adoption and completed our home study in August of 2019. We were elated when we found out we were accepted into a local San Francisco based adoption agency in November 2019. This agency is providing us with assistance for outreach to birth mothers and completion of the adoption process. We went through almost two years of outreach with zero success. I hit a low point in January 2021 when we experienced a failed match. This means that we had potentially matched with a birth mother but it fell through due to extenuating and unforeseen circumstances. It was at this point that we felt as if our path to being parents would never be realized.
All the while, I also spent much of 2020 undergoing another round of treatment for my chronic illnesses (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and sub-clinical Hashimotos), which included a mix of western and eastern treatments. After rounds and rounds of different medications and treatments over the course of the past decade, my body was finally receptive to this one. It actually seemed to work. My labs showed significant improvement in my conditions and my symptoms started to improve. I started gaining weight and feeling stronger. I all of a sudden had the ability to retain the food I was eating and its nutrients, and keep up with consistent workouts (something that had previously been challenging for me due to chronic fatigue which was a side effect of SIBO and hashimotos). By January 2021, the same time our potential match with a birth mother fell through, my physical health was at a high point. I had not felt this healthy in over ten years.
I decided to spend the rest of January writing in my gratitude journal, a practice I started in 2018 when we first started with adoption and struggled with conception. Everyday, I wrote down three statements of gratitude along with an intention statement and finally, a manifestation statement. For all of January 2021, my manifestation statement was: “I will become a mother this year.” I wrote down that simple statement everyday along with my gratitude and intention statements. It really helped shift my mindset to that of loss and anxiety, to that of hope and calmness.
One Friday morning in February 2021, I was about a week late. This had only happened to me once before in recent history. I decided to take a pregnancy test to confirm what I expected: my period was late, but not because I was pregnant. So, I took the test. I anxiously waited for 10 minutes. Then, I went back to the bathroom to check the result. And, there it was. That single word on my pregnancy test that carried so much weight and changed the course of my life forever: “Pregnant“.
Was this real? How could this be possible? Four years into trying to conceive and then ultimately letting go, I was all of a sudden pregnant. I was in utter disbelief. I was emotionally overwhelmed. In a panic, I immediately texted my husband “I’m pregnant!” and told him to step out of his meetings when he had a chance. I heard him hang up from his work call and he ran to the living room where I sat in tears on the couch. I couldn’t even speak. I just held the pregnancy test and showed it to him. After his initial shock, the biggest smile emerged on his face while I continued to cry. All I could get out was: “I’m terrified.” Irrational thoughts were spiraling through my head when I said that: Will this last? What if my health prevents me from carrying to term? Will the baby be healthy? He just hugged me and held me for a long time and said “Don’t be. It’s going to be ok. This is meant to be.” And with his confidence and embrace, he helped me take the first step to processing and accepting the result. For reassurance, I took another pregnancy test just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. After the second test came back positive, I called our parents and siblings and shared the news. This is something that wasn’t even in the realm of possibility in our minds, so when we shared the news, all of our family was in complete shock yet so happy. Two days later I confirmed the pregnancy through an appointment with an OB. I was six weeks pregnant.
35 weeks later (and a lot of physical and emotional ups and downs that come with pregnancy), I’m getting ready to meet my little miracle, my baby girl. Yes, we’re having a girl! I often look back and wonder what changed in February this year from the past four years. Was it the treatment that seemed to work and has allowed me to feel the best I’ve physically felt in a decade or more? Was it the daily manifestation statements and mindfulness practices that allowed me to just change my mindset and truly believe I am meant to be a mother? While I personally feel it was a combination of shifts in both mind and body, I’ll never really know. What I do know is that we are extremely lucky and blessed to be here today, with just a few weeks remaining until we bring life into this world and grow our family for the first time.
I am sending all my love and well wishes to anyone out there who may feel like their journeys are also never ending. I hope my story is a reminder that life has a funny way of working out. It may not be at the time we want or in the way we expect, but it does. In the meanwhile, lean on your loved ones. Take a walk. Breathe. Take care of your mind and body as best you can. And try to stay in the present moment. After all, that’s all we really have. I’ll leave you all with this quote that got me through some tough times over the past four years:
God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us – in the dreariest and most dreaded of moments – can see a possibility of hope.– Maya Angelou
Note: We hope to grow our family through adoption one day in the future, and have been lucky to put that process on hold. Our agency has reassured us that they will welcome us back with open arms right where we left off, and for that we are so grateful. To read more about our adoption journey, please check out this blog post.1