When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say “ a mom.” I knew other little girls answered with “a teacher” or “a doctor”, and those things didn’t sound bad to me, but no job seemed better than being a mom. It’s always been one of my heart’s deepest desires.
Everything seemed to fall into place when I met Ryan, the love of my life and truly the best person I know. I still wake up every morning wondering how I was lucky enough to snag him.
We married when I was 25. We adopted a rescue dog. I had a marketing job that I loved. Life was good. My dreams were coming true. It wouldn’t be long before I stepped into the role of my “dream job.”
That’s what I thought anyway.
Two years into our marriage, I got sick. Searing stomach pain that turned out to be much more—I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disease for which there is no cure. I was crushed.
I was told I’d have to wait until the disease was in remission before trying to conceive. Remission could take one year, or ten, or never come at all. I didn’t want to let the disease define me, but the uncertainty of it all was so hard.
Ryan was my rock through it all. I was very sick, and lost a lot of weight. People would tell me I needed to eat a burger or that I was starting to not look good, as if I had control over it. We read books, tried different diets, bought different supplements. After a multitude of doctors, specialists, medications, holistic methods, dietary changes, and more people praying for me than I can ever know (thank you!)—by God’s grace, after two years—remission finally came. I will never forget hearing the words and the tears that instantly flowed. I was getting my life back…and my dreams of becoming a mother might actually come true.
We immediately started trying for a baby. Such an exciting time. A week after I got the news about my remission, we were going on a trip to Europe. I surprised Ryan with a vow renewal on the beaches of southern France. It was the perfect way to start a new chapter of our lives together.
And then came the sight of those two pink lines. I fell to my knees sobbing on the bathroom floor and thanking God. We were getting our baby. I couldn’t wait to tell Ryan. He was just as excited…Boy or girl? Either way, we’ll be thrilled! What names do we like? We will find out the gender, right? What sports will he/she play? Yes, Ryan, you can coach the soccer team. If she’s a girl, she will take ballet! Of course we will start swim lessons as early as we can. We will have to take one of those childbirth classes. What about the nursery? It was all so exciting.
I lost the baby on Easter morning. I was heartbroken.
As anyone who has miscarried knows, no matter how briefly you carried your baby, they become a part of your heart forever. I knew God had another plan for us. That I needed to trust Him. But it was hard. We would just keep trying.
Mother’s Day is a painful reminder for so many women longing to be mothers. I was grateful our Pastor recognized that and directed a big part of his sermon to those women. He said he felt compelled to pray for a woman there that day who desperately yearned to be a mother and still wasn’t one. He prayed that this woman would be a mother by next Mothers Day. As he prayed I sat in my chair weeping knowing in my heart that the woman he was praying for was me. It gave me hope that God would answer his prayer.
In July, I took another pregnancy test. It was positive!
We were over the moon. I retested again day after day. All positive. It was really happening! We were on a trip with Ryan’s family and were excited to share the news. Everyone was thrilled. A few days later, I knew something was wrong. I went on to miscarry again. I felt broken, confused. Why would I have such a heart for motherhood if it wasn’t God’s plan for me? I felt like a failure. I felt like Ryan deserved better.
We leaned on our family and friends, but it was still a very painful time. It seemed that every day included tears. I had known women suffering from the heartache of infertility, of miscarriage, or just the strong, unfulfilled desire for motherhood. But only until I was one—only until the sight of yet another pregnancy announcement on Facebook made me want to curl up in bed and sob—did I truly understand the depth of pain that so many others had felt. I remember realizing I hit my lowest point when I found myself angry at the women pushing strollers around the mall. As if they were out to intentionally torment me- like they knew exactly how it made me feel. I remember thinking to myself, “This is really bad, Katie.”
I saw a specialist who did extensive bloodwork and told me there appeared to be nothing wrong. “Keep trying,” he said. “I suspect your next pregnancy will be viable.”
Then, I got another positive test. This time, it was hard to be excited. I wanted to be, but something in me couldn’t quite get there. At 6 weeks, they did an ultrasound, telling me not to be alarmed if we didn’t hear a heartbeat because it was so early. But, there it was. Beating so fast and so perfectly. It was our baby.
My calculated due date was May 10th. But when we went in for another ultrasound they said, “You know what, you are actually measuring 2 days ahead of your due date. That would make you due… May 8th.” May 8th. I knew that date. It was Mother’s Day.
Our precious Austin greeted us just shy of that day, arriving May 3rd, 2016. Not a day goes by that I do not praise God and thank Him for the fulfillment of that beautiful sermon. Every time I look at her face, I see a promise fulfilled. I celebrated Mother’s Day with my baby in my arms, hugging her just a little bit tighter, recognizing the gift that I was holding.
I know there are so many women out there struggling. Some experiencing it for years, maybe some much longer than me. I know the pain and it’s raw and real and sometimes it feels like you can’t breathe. All the pain, the tears, the waiting, the fear..it makes the joy, when it arrives, so much sweeter. Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep praying. Place your trust in a God who promises to love us even when we can’t understand.
Sometimes now when I’m pushing my stroller around the mall, I wonder if anyone is watching me, feeling the way I felt. To all the women still walking this path, the mothers of children who exist only in their prayers — I hope you know that wherever you are, from my little corner of the world, I am thinking of you. I am praying for you. And I am rooting for you. Always.