This is a piece written for us by a member of the infertility, loss, and adoption community on Twitter.
“I bet you’ll get pregnant now.”
Those six words, most of the time spoken jokingly, stung like a hot poker in my gut. They were said more times than I can count, by more people than I care to count. Those who said it knew that we had done fertility treatments and we so desperately wanted to add children to our family.
Without thinking, and failing at trying to be funny, they completely dismissed the entire journey it took to bring Robbie into our family. Like adoption was a cure for our infertility woes. That maybe adding a child to the dynamics would magically heal the endometriosis that was covering my abdominal cavity, wreaking havoc on my hormones, not to mention the recurrent cysts that would grow in my uterus and, without surgery, prevent implantation and carrying a child to term.
We spent years trying everything except IVF to get pregnant, from medications to acupuncture to IUIs. IVF was our next step. We went through the meetings with the doctors, we looked at the costs, and we looked at our hearts. We were the family that would say, “No matter how many children we have biologically, are still going to adopt,” but I’m not sure of the validity of those promises if things had been different.
It didn’t matter; we couldn’t get pregnant without help, and we were tired of the doctors poking and prodding us. I was tired of the mood swings the medications were giving me. My husband wanted his wife back. So the night after we had our second opinion confirming IVF was our only option, we decided to quit focusing on getting pregnant. We decided to uphold the promises made about adoption. We hit the ground running, and I dove deep into researching how we were going to add to our family. We decided a domestic adoption would be best since, after all, we were only 25 and most countries would laugh at us if we tried to send in our dossier to adopt. Family prayed for us, we signed mountains of paperwork (killed about 20 trees), and in May 2012, we were on a flight to Arizona to meet our son. He was already 3 months old, being discharged from the NICU, and needed his Mommy and Daddy with him.
Although the process seemed easy, there was still turmoil. Nobody other than his birth family can understand why they chose to put their baby up for adoption, and we don’t have the answers, either. So when family and friends and co-workers stated that I probably would get pregnant because we adopted, it just felt like all that didn’t matter. Yes, he’s ours now, but his story still matters. He still has a birth family that’s out there thinking of him. And why did we want to have more children right away? Shouldn’t we focus on him? And we did; we spent two years focusing on him, on therapies and doctor’s appointments and procedures, and fighting for whatever he needed to get him where he is today.
We did want more children. We didn’t want him to be an only child. I dreamed of large family gatherings with tons of children for our parents to spoil. So we discussed adding to our family. The emptiness of infertility was still there. Even though I was upset that family would say those words, I still secretly wanted them to become true. We discussed, and bickered, and researched. We decided to give IVF a try.
I joined a support group to help work through the feelings I thought I had dealt with that came creeping back up the moment I put that call into the doctor that were going to try this again. It felt weird telling my story. I already had a child through adoption after infertility. Adoption is what you do when you’re done having kids, right?! I was never judged by the gals in the support group, never heard a word of judgement from family (only concerns about spreading myself too thin with more children after Robbie), but I did judge myself. Why was I abandoning all those children that we could adopt for a silly desire such as getting pregnant? Your body has already told you it doesn’t want to be, why mess with that? If IVF was going to work, I needed to deal with those issues. A friend told me, “This is your family, your children, your decision. Who in the world actually said that you couldn’t do IVF after adoption? The adoption agencies want you to come to terms with your infertility, they want you to be committed to the adoption as a whole, not just the baby that was going to join your family.”
We went through with the IVF; 7 eggs were collected, 4 embryos made it to day 5. We transferred 2 and froze 2. It worked! We now have 7-month-old boy/girl twins, our son’s brother and sister. No, they are not biological siblings to Robbie, but they are still siblings. We are still family, we still have three children, and hopefully will have at least 2 more in the future. If you see us walking at the mall, you probably won’t even notice us. A younger-looking couple, with three children. You’re not going to walk up to us and ask us why we adopted then had biological children, because you won’t know. Even if our oldest was a different race, most don’t really care and wouldn’t bat an eye.
Our family is still a family; we’re all loved by our extended family. Of course there are some wonky family members that say stupid crap every now and then. We have bonus family through adoption that we love and who love us as well. There’s no directional path to becoming a family; all that matters is that we are family and we love each other.
Now I get, “Oh, you better watch out, now that you’ve been pregnant once, it’ll be easy to get pregnant again!”
Even though things are good now, it’s still not okay for anyone to say “I bet you’ll get pregnant now,” because it’s not true. Yes, miracles happen, but there’s a reason why that situation is called a miracle. The statement negates the journey by the family to become a family. It stings, and it hurts. Just don’t go there!