Yesterday, J and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. Everything is a matter of perspective, as I reflected on the reality that it was *almost* our 1 year anniversary. Dh & I were engaged in February 2007 and had an entire wedding planned, from the string quartet to the Cinderella pink linens, for July 12, 2008. We wanted a long engagement as I finished my master's degree and we spent more time together, as we had only dated for 9 months prior to becoming engaged. In May 2007, just 3 months after our engagement, I started to have severe ovarian pain (which was the only reproductive organ I had left since my hysterectomy a year prior) and after several doctor's appointments and finally our first RE appointment we learned the endometriosis and PCOS were becoming too much for my ovaries and they would soon need to be removed. We were encouraged to proceed with IVF immediately if we ever wanted to have a biological child. The very next day we cancelled our wedding. I called every vendor and explained to them the situation and most gladly refunded our deposits. Simultaneously, we began planning a wedding for just 12 weeks away while also making arrangements to begin a gestational surrogacy journey with an agency in Illinois. For so many reasons, including my ever-failing reproductive system, the journey had to end and our hopes of creating a biological child between us were forever shattered.
I was certain that we would immediately adopt, I was often awake in the middle of the night putting away the wedding planning material and looking up adoption agencies. For the first time, I needed to be a mother more than I needed my next breath. We returned from our honeymoon and as the Fall approached I finished my last semester of my master's degree along with PhD courses I was taking. We decided I wouldn't continue with my PhD, as I didn't want to leave my baby during the time I needed to be in class. A day after the end of the semester, they removed my ovaries. I felt even more empty than before, I was reproductively non-existent. There was nothing that proved I ever held the potential to become a mother but yet somewhere I was convinced that longing would show if they ever cut open my heart. I would have never admitted to being depressed during that time, but looking back now I realize how serious it was. I tried to cope with my infertility but the severe symptoms of surgical menopause kept me from focusing on anything at all. I was incredibly thankful that I had decided not to return to school, as I know I wouldn't have been able to manage. The next year was a blur of hormone starvation, true insomnia, and dark depression. There were 2 adoption situations that were right on our fingertips and then stolen away from me. I wanted a divorce, I wanted a baby, I wanted my uterus. I wanted everything I couldn't have.
This winter my life began to turn around as I learned to live with the existence of my marriage and the absence of my hormones. I began to feel hopeful that after a year and a half of marriage, we had agreed to start the adoption process in January 2011, just 2 years away. It seemed like an impossibly long time but I knew that I couldn't rush him, he wanted time to enjoy our marriage and despite my confusion (as I wasn't finding much to "enjoy" in the midst of my baby hunger), I knew that he had only known our marriage to be filled with sadness, rage, and obsession. I owed it to him to give him the most normal marriage I could. I knew it wouldn't be perfect and the obsession wouldn't erase itself but hopefully would slowly fade with him. I had hoped the dark depression would become a muted sadness and the fueling rage could simmer to a mild anger. I began to hope; hope that the rest of a journey to parenthood wouldn't be as difficult, hope that the next year and a half of marriage could be filled with more love, and hope that my life could become more clear and less clouded with all that has been wrong. It was at the moment that I allowed myself to have the slightest bit of hope that our world forever changed.
A bit of adoption research sparked the interest in embryo adoption which peaked my curiosity about surrogacy which made me realize that traditional surrogacy is what my heart needed. I didn't need to have a genetic child but I did need to watch my baby grow, to hear its first heartbeat, to welcome its entry into the world, to hold it first, and spend 9 amazing months thanking God that there is someone willing to risk everything to share with me the miracle of life. I met M in February, we decided we were meant to be together just a month or two after that, and now we have the relationship I've always dreamed of. We're forming the basis of a solid, healthy, committed friendship and next year at this time, we hope to be pregnant. We hope. We believe in hope. I believe in hope for my marriage, my life, and my path to becoming a mommy.
Today, my note from the Universe read the following:
One of the trickiest things about life, Sara, is that, at times, it happens so slowly.
Yet... if... it... happened... any... faster... you'd... already... have... everything... you... ever... wanted... without... learning... to... enjoy... the... ride.
How true. Happy Anniversary J.
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