The years of self-discovery after my hysterectomy were some of the most painful and yet valuable years of my life. You truly learn what you’re made of when the only choice you have is to dig down deep and find strength you never knew you had in the first place. If you’re new to my blog you can read about what I’m referring to by clicking here and reading about my endometriosis.
It wouldn’t be until almost 3 years after my hysterectomy that I would meet my husband. During this time I had created a respectable career for myself as an Executive Secretary. I enjoyed my job and had built a strong support network of friends who I considered my family away from home. I had finally learned to let go of the anxiety that I felt at not having a spouse and what that meant for me as a woman facing her infertility. I came to understand that this was between me and my Heavenly Father and whomever he had planned for me was going to understand. Although, there are still times when the pains of not being able to bear my own children still tug at my heart, I have made peace with what has happened. Dare I say that I have even learned to accept and embrace it in ways that I never thought I could. Sometimes finding the silver linings in an impossible situation makes all the difference in your outlook. Those silver linings might be hard to see sometimes, but I know they are there and they bring me great comfort.
In October of 2003 the company I was working for was going through some major organizational changes. The executive I worked with was laid-off and I was given the option to either take a lay-off package of my own or choose to work with one of the new executives. You may be thinking, “This is a no-brainer, why put yourself on the job market?” Indeed you may have been right, in fact, that was originally my thought as well. I was given a few weeks to think it over and as I did something began to work within me that I hadn’t expected. I was praying over my decision one evening expecting the obvious answer when the opposite occurred. I felt a whispering to my soul about motherhood. I was STUNNED! I couldn’t make sense of it at all. Here I was, VERY single, not even a prospect on the horizon, and I was having the strongest impression that I would be a mother soon. Having had a hysterectomy I thought, “Ha! Well that is strange, not even an immaculate conception is possible!” I pushed the thought aside thinking that it was just my emotional turmoil coming back to haunt me. A few days later as the HR department reminded me that they needed a decision the impression came again, only this time it was stronger. The exact thought I had was, “You don’t need this career. It is time to focus on preparing for motherhood and it will be easier to walk away from work if your career is done.”
Humph!!! What??? With an attitude of trust I decided to take a humongous leap of faith and just go with it. I took the lay-off package and found a job that paid the bills but that I had no long-term ties to. It was liberating and frightening all at once but as you will soon see, it was worth it. As I write the next few pages I want you to note that at this time it was October 2003 and by the end of January 2005 I was indeed married and a mother! Here is that story.
I met Greg in November of 2003. I’ll admit that I was nervous and reticent for some time to divulge the circumstances of my having had a hysterectomy. Unlike men I’d dated in the past who I could at least offer a small sliver of hope to, I would not be able to do that with him. I never told men that I dated about my hysterectomy until it appeared we were headed toward a more permanent path. The more I dated Greg, the more I felt the pull toward him. I can remember sitting next to him one evening at a friend’s house just shortly after we had met and having the insane urge to just lay my head on his shoulder and rest there for eternity. I knew in that moment he was the one despite the fact that we had only known each other for a few short weeks.
Not long after that time I decided I’d better tell him about my situation. I was terribly nervous about the entire thing but I needn’t have been. To his credit he didn’t even bat an eye. Instead of a look of devastation or disappointment, or even pity (which I could not have borne) there was such a look of love and acceptance that I knew I’d made the right choice. It never crossed his mind that there was anything that could change his mind about me. He was definitely Heaven sent.
Our courtship was a whirlwind. Having met in November 2003, by February of 2004 we were talking marriage. We were officially engaged by May 2004. One evening while out to dinner we had been discussing adoption and what our beliefs were about open vs. closed adoptions. We had both come to the conclusion that we felt better about closed adoptions. At some point during our conversation the idea of adopting a family member’s baby came up to which we both emphatically insisted that we would never be comfortable doing such a thing. Well, someone had a different plan in mind for us…
A few weeks later I received a phone call from my little sister. I mentioned in a previous blog that in 2000 she had her first baby. My niece was born with her first husband whom a short while later, she divorced. This phone call was probably one of the most painful my sister has ever had to make and one that was definitely difficult to receive. I could hear her heart breaking over the phone as she explained to me that she was pregnant with her current boyfriend and that he had no interest in the child whatsoever. I was filled with mixed emotions. It was so hard to hear that she was in this predicament especially taking into consideration my own heartbreaking condition. It seems that my life is to be filled by the most ironic of circumstances. Luckily, as I’ve mentioned, I had come to some acceptance of my infertility and found a measure of peace. It was this measure of peace that calmed me throughout this conversation as she explained that she would be placing this baby with an adoptive family. My heart sank lower and lower as we spoke, but I was determined to be loving and supportive. In fact I did fully support her decision; it just broke my heart in too many ways to describe.
I hung up the phone and cried for hours. I grieved over the fact that she could have a baby, but I could not. I felt anger at the irony of the entire situation, at the madness of the fact that someone like me who desperately wanted a child had to watch as my sister gave one away. Oh, it hurt so deeply that at times throughout the next few days I felt as if my newly healed heart would simply stop beating from the pain of it all.
At some point over the next few days the idea began to blossom in my mind that this baby might actually be meant for Greg and I. How in the world do you tell your little sister that you think she is carrying your baby? How was I going to tell Greg my thoughts when we had just had that fateful conversation about adopting a family member’s baby? I just couldn’t stand the thought that this little piece of my DNA, however far removed, was going to slip through my fingertips. I had no delusions about adoption, it can be a slow going process and most couples wait years for their opportunity to adopt. What if that happened to Greg and I? There were other things to consider as well. Greg and I weren’t married yet. Yes we were engaged but our wedding wasn’t to be until August and this baby was due just 6 months after that time. If this was truly meant to be, how in the world were Greg and I going to adjust to being newly weds and a have baby shortly afterwards? Many couples find themselves in that situation, but I have to admit, it wasn’t my first choice.
In the end, that niggling feeling in my heart prompted me to action. The first order of business was to tell Greg how I was feeling. My fears were in vain when it came to him. Upon expressing my desires I found that he too had been feeling those same pulls on his heart. We both knew that this baby was indeed destined for us. Now, how to approach my sister… I called my parents first to get a read on how things were at home in Utah. I spoke with my Mom first and discovered my parents were entertaining similar thoughts. As each of these conversations transpired I felt progressively more confident in my thinking. God was working on all of us, prompting us to move in the right direction. The wild card was my sister. None of us knew how she was feeling or how she would react. It was decided that my parents would speak with her first to discern her state of mind.
It was later that same evening when I got a call from her. I had no idea what to expect when I saw my sister’s number on the caller ID. I assumed that she hadn’t yet spoken with our parents; I figured that there hadn’t been enough time. I was wrong… on two counts. Not only had she spoken with my parents, but she had been the one to initiate. She briefly told me that she had talked with our Mom because she felt very strongly that this was my baby but she just couldn’t figure out how to tell me. At these words I heaved a huge sigh and let the tears flow again. I often look back on those days and wonder at the divine beauty of it all. There was no doubt in any of our minds at this point that God intended to give us this precious gift. It wouldn’t be easy and the timing wasn’t ideal, but I was willing to trust in the Lord’s timing and instead of being afraid or nervous about what lay ahead, I was thrilled at the opportunity to become a mother!
There was the little detail of getting married first. We had also decided to leave the Seattle area and move to Utah so this meant finding a place to live, a job, etc… We both agreed that I would be a stay-at-home mom and so this put a little kink in our financial planning, well a big kink. It meant that we were going to need to pinch our pennies until they were so thin you could see through them. Again, the Lord’s timing isn’t always what we want, but it is worth it. With this faith in mind we plunged ahead. I won’t say it was easy because it was a stressful time for all of us. My sister was going to be placing a baby for adoption, while it was with me; it is still a very painful and heart-wrenching experience. Greg and I were frantically looking for a place to live, working to pack up our lives in Seattle, and on the hunt for jobs. Mine had to be one that I could leave after the baby was born which made the hunt an interesting challenge but I clung to the fact that this was God’s will and so he would provide.
Indeed he did. My mom helped us find an apartment that was within our price range and “just happened” to become available at the right time. I was able to find a job that was temporary and would last right up until the baby was born. I was not surprised… but definitely in awe of how things had worked out to that point. Everyday was an adventure in recognizing the Lord’s hand in our daily lives as he orchestrated the changes that needed to take place. From the time that my sister called us in May to the time we left Seattle at the end of June we had spent a mere 6 weeks turning our lives upside down and inside out. We planned a wedding, prepared for a baby, found jobs, found a place to live, and moved. It was a stressful, happy, wonderful, busy time in our lives. Somehow we made it through and August finally came. I had wedding showers that morphed into baby showers and baby showers that bled into bridal showers. I was having a hard time keeping track of it all and yet the pieces were all coming together in a way that made it clear there was a “Master Puzzle Builder” at work. It was an era in which we continued to take what seemed to be daily leaps of faith… but more on that later!