As Mother’s Day approaches I thought it timely to share out of the ordinary extraordinary stories about becoming mothers. Both my experiences are unconventional and with each child woman’s intuition played a vital role guiding my journeys to motherhood.
Sometimes planned sometimes not, many women say they know the moment their children were conceived. It wasn’t that simple for me. My husband and I tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant naturally and finding ourselves in a predicament sought out a gynecologist that specializes in infertility.
My first choice was a female doctor for obvious reasons. Our initial consultation included discussing options, various procedures, and a physical exam. The exam was foretelling and the first indicator that something was off. This was the wrong doctor for me. I remember wondering how a woman could treat another woman this way, especially an Ob-gyn! She probed and prodded with little connection to me lying vulnerable on her table. I was mind blown. But the time clock was ticking away. I was thirty seven years old so I tried to separate the need for her expertise from my personal feelings. I spoke with my husband who tried to look on the bright side with me and we decided to proceed. On the day of, I was very anxious. The thought of seeing this doctor again made me nauseous.
I prayed and calmed myself focusing on the outcome, conception. I spoke with the nurse casually before the doctor came into the room “Do many women conceive the first time?” I asked. “No” she answered flatly. “Some of the doctor’s patients have been trying for years.” “Ugh” I thought gagging back tears. I had a profound feeling like some had assaulted me directing the second blow to my womb.
The procedure was unsuccessful. Are you surprised? Sad as it is to say this was fairly predictable… A fire began to rise in me. My instincts were in an uproar. Aside from what seemed less than optimal odds I began to challenge the doctor’s methodology. Much of what she did seemed contradictory to the laws of nature, like swabbing the birth canal with Betadine solution and inseminating through the cervix. But without medical knowledge I set these more than reasonable doubts aside and opted to give her another try.
Was I lucky in the second round? The answer is no and yes. Shortly after the second disappointmen,t I met a friend from the dance skating club that I belonged to, for lunch. One thing led to another and we ended up discussing infertility. As luck or coincidence or synchronicity goes, I learned that she had also struggled conceiving and found a wonderful doctor who worked his magic helping her deliver two healthy babies! Of course I got the name of her physician and made an appointment.
To say this doctor is my hero is an understatement… I knew the minute I sat down with him that I was in the right hands. I shared what happened including my instinctive reaction and intuitive thoughts about the former doctor’s proceedings. Without passing professional judgment he implied that my points were very valid. “Will you let me try one more time before you put me and my husband through more extensive testing, I asked?”
“Certainly, I am willing to give it another go” he said.
Ten months later; one to get ready and going, I gave birth to my son. “You are my miracle mother” the doc said. “No, I followed my instincts and intuitions and you honored these” I replied thanking him profusely.
Two years later I felt the indescribable desire to enlarge our family and mother another child although I had serious reservations about getting pregnant again. I am RH negative and the health risks are much higher the second time around. I was also in my forties and these realities dissuaded me.
We traveled to the east coast that summer and went to a family reunion. I mingled with cousins I hadn’t seen since childhood and met new cousins. Somehow I found myself immersed in conversation with a cousin and his wife who were considering international adoption! Was it another amazing coincidence or something more profound? I was fixated listening to them talking about how they’d come to this decision.
And once again the fire within me rose. When we returned to California I began making phone calls to international adoption agencies. One door opened which led to another opening and systematically the idea became a reality. There were snags along the way; the path was not seamless. But the momentum kept rolling forward. I was damned and determined feeling invincible just like I felt before I conceived my son. My daughter was in my arms within nine months; an astonishingly short amount of time given that the political climate in Vietnam had changed. Some of the adoptive families who adopted children from North Vietnam never received their babies. My daughter is from South Vietnam and was also one of the last babies to leave Vietnam before the country closed foreign adoptions in the mid 1990’s.
Where there is a will there are many ways!