When we left off, we’d gotten the phenomenal news that a young woman who was considering placing her child had chosen us as the potential parents.
It was amazing. Paul and I checked out baby stuff online, popped a bottle of champagne (oh, THIS becomes important later), and snuggled up on the couch, marveling that our miracle had actually happened.
That weekend was fun, with several parties and plenty of late nights and drinking.
All the while, I was aware that my period was due, and not coming. My breasts hurt, I was moody as hell, and could smell a slightly overripe banana at 30 feet, but I attributed the above to my first month in a long time without fertility drugs, and the fact I’d quit smoking nine months before, improving my sense of smell.
Finally Monday I alerted Paul to the fact I was Late. I was really reluctant to test. First, because pregnancy tests typically came up negative and touched off a day of crying. Second, because if we got a different result this time, it would throw everything into chaos.
At last, I finally got the nerve to test that Tuesday. I took my first one after Paul left for work, screwed my eyes shut, set the test on the back of the toilet and finally looked.
Nothing. People, I had TAKEN THE TEST WRONG. How one manages that EVER and especially after several “please God” tests taken during the infertility treatment, I do not know. But I managed it.
However, it looked like, had I gotten a result, it might have been two lines. Like a good little infertile, I had another test lying around. I called Paul to update him and told him I had one, but had to wait at least three hours to test again. “Test now,” he said. So I did.
The second line appeared before I could even set the test down.
We were both shell-shocked that night, me more than Paul. I felt like I had been hit in the face by a 2 by 4.
This is something that’s hard for me to talk about. I love Maggie so much; she’s the joy of my life. To know that when I first found out she was coming, my reaction was something considerably shy of joy makes me sad for her and for me. I’d given up on this way of becoming a mother and embraced adopting. I was ready, and terrified about the many uncontrollable things that can go wrong in pregnancy. We’d had friends lose a baby at 20 weeks just a month before; what if we gave up on the adoption and then lost this baby too?
Also, what would this do to the baby’s mother? There she was, pregnant and scared (a condition I could certainly at that point empathize with) and she was trying to do a great thing out of a difficult situation (I know the basics; I won’t share them here). She’d chosen us in generosity and good faith, and we turn right around and get knocked up?
Doing both, adopting and birthing, was an option, we later discovered. The baby was due in July; the one that would become Maggie was due in November. I wanted to, so much, despite all the reasons not to. As Paul pointed out, finances were already tight and would become impossible under the weight of two babies. Not to mention emotional capital, all the logistics of having an adopted boy and a biological girl within five months of each other.
Regretfully, we called the agency and told them we were dropping out. I told our social worker how sorry we were, that this wasn’t planned by any means. I still regret it. Still wish we could have done both. I think of that young girl often and wonder how she felt when she heard we dropped out, wonder what she decided to do, how she coped with the aftermath. I wonder what the little boy looked like, and hope he’s loved and treasured and happy with whoever got to raise him. I think of the other potential parents and hope they had the same day of joy and awe that we did.
And most of all, I still mull What This All Meant. Part of it, I think, is that Maggie was just meant to be, and meant to be ours. She fits so well with us and makes our home feel complete. The other is that I think maybe God was trying to make sure I knew good and well than I am not driving this bus. Someday I’ll get it, but probably not while I am on this earth.
Our story has a happy ending. Three years later, we have this magical, bright, funny, bossy little toddler with vivid blue eyes, wispy dark blond hair and a mind of her own. She loves us as much as we do her – the last two Sundays in church she grabbed my face, looked deeply into my eyes, said “I love you, Mama” and proceeded to loudly plant a series of sloppy wet kisses on me. Every horrible moment of the fertility treatment, every heartbreaking failure, is redeemed in moments like that. She goes a million miles an hour all day every day, causing chaos and making us laugh. We’re so lucky, and I can’t imagine my life any other way. But I still sometimes wonder what might have been.