When faced with a drawer full of 65 pregnancy tests, I will never forget how the sole positive test changed my family forever.
On Jan. 13, my wife, Lauren, and I welcomed our second son, Oliver, into the world after two and a half grueling years of trying. From the start, we were sure that it was going to be nothing less than an absolute miracle, and I painted a very beautiful picture of pregnancy and promised Lauren that it would be everything that it was for me.
After our first son, Finn, was born we knew immediately that we wanted him to have a sibling. Little did we know that it was going to take such a long, incredibly emotional process to happen as Lauren battled infertility. Doctor’s appointments two or three times a week became the new normal, and during the weeks that Lauren was going to have an egg retrieval or transfer done, we were there every single day. When we think about it now, Lauren had about 800-900 injections in total.
Lauren also underwent eight surgeries before we were lucky enough to be able to have a baby. Unfortunately, the first two of three transfers resulted us in losing the baby. During our last chance, we finally got Oliver. We barely told anybody.
Shortly after we found out that we were going to be adding to our family, Lauren began hemorrhaging while teaching a dance class over Zoom. We had the agonizing feeling that we had lost the baby. Miraculously, the baby was safe.
We told Finn that he was getting a superhero sidekick but truly, the superhero all this time was Lauren. We were under the assumption that she was going to be able to have the baby smoothly but found out that she had to be induced for an emergency C-section due to high blood pressure.
After two days at home, I realized that Lauren didn’t seem like she should. Her blood pressure was dangerously high and she had swelling that lingered when it shouldn’t have. When she admitted she couldn’t see out of one eye I knew to go to the hospital.
At that point, I had to choose between the kids or my wife. I promised Lauren that I would always choose her, but she wanted me to be home with the boys as they kept her at the hospital for postpartum preeclampsia.
Through it all, she’s been a ray of sunshine and is able to conquer the world. I really don’t know how she does it. I do think that everything happens for a reason and our struggles to get this beautiful baby were as difficult as they were because it was preparing us to be two extremely strong mothers. Sometimes, when I want to bury my head in my hands and cry, I remember a mother’s love for her child, and it makes everything so much better. I think my wife is a superhero and with everything that was dealt to her, I can’t believe that she is still smiling and saying “Babe, it’s going to be OK.”
Now that Oliver is almost one month old, it feels real. We’re balancing a dance party with Finn while folding laundry and burping the baby. Not to mention watching and critiquing dance videos sent to us by our 150 dance daughters. We want to make sure that they will never not feel important to us.
I wanted to put this in writing because I never want to forget this experience. I don’t want to forget how long it took us to get here and what we had to do to get here; how many times we were let down and just how much pain we endured. Not because we want anybody to realize it, but just so we can remember that we’re better than we think we are and stronger than we ever thought possible.
It’s a lesson I think all mothers should hear.
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