This day in history

Welcome back to the fertility-fail-turned-yay-adoption blog! As you can tell, I’ve done a bang-up job of updating the site since bringing Calvin home in January. And that’s not the only thing that has fallen by the wayside – I’m ashamed to admit that the baseboards have only been dusted a mere three times, and the Wii Fit keeps chastising me for not working out in double-digit days.

Although slacking off in those and other areas goes against my perfectionist nature, I haven’t minded it much because I’ve been having the time of my life being a mom. Every day I am amazed and humbled by God’s grace in giving me my precious son. Funny how you can be convinced that you deserve something, and act like a whiny brat if you don’t have it; then when you get it, you realize just how much you truly don’t deserve it. Therein lies the beauty/scandal of the gospel: God gave us whiny brats the gift of salvation at the price of sacrificing His precious Son.

Calvin has made the adjustment to parenthood fairly easy on us, for which we are very thankful, especially considering how the transition literally happened overnight. Though for all the comments we’ve received about how hard it must’ve been to drop everything and take home a baby without any preparation, I’ve thought about our experiences and concluded that aside from the adoption proceedings, we haven’t really had to deal with anything outside the ordinary challenges of being a new parent. Operating on minimal sleep, distinguishing types of cries, getting peed on – these are all things we would’ve faced had we known about the adoption in advance, things that both adoptive and biological parents confront. And of course, we have and will continue to make mistakes – for example, just the other day we realized we’d been using newborn-style nipples instead of swapping in the faster-flow nipples as Calvin has gotten older. This whole time we figured he was a super-slow feeder, when really we were impeding his bottle-consumption ability. Oh well, the kid has been in the 80th and 90th percentiles – even though he had to work for it, he’s obviously been getting enough to eat.

Taking care of such a happy little boy has been a blast, and getting to see Colin embrace the role of Daddy – cheering Calvin on when he accomplishes something, roughhousing with him after a meal and then handing him over to me right before he spits up – has been a great blessing for me to observe. Being a mom has been so wonderful that at times I feel like my heart is going to burst with joy. Interesting how that is my experience now, when a year ago, as I cried in anguish to the Lord for giving me the longing to be a mom and cruelly refusing to fulfill it, I felt like He was ripping my heart out, piece by piece, leaving me raw, exposed, bleeding.

I titled this post “This day in history” because it was on this date last year that we started our second IVF cycle (the first was postponed due to unresponsiveness to meds). Remembering all the pain – physical and emotional – associated with the dreadful procedure and the subsequent devastation when we found out none of the eggs fertilized makes me sad. It is a difficult sentiment for me to describe because I am sad that we had to go through such a costly, exhausting process and even sad that it didn’t work; yet I am happy that it didn’t work because we wouldn’t have Calvin as our son if it had. If someone had told me last November that in a year, we’d be parents of a beautiful, bright 10-month-old boy, I’d have responded, to modify a phrase from the mid-’90s, “You smokin’ crack, weed, and meth?!?” Never would I have imagined that shortly after our debacle of an IVF cycle we’d be bringing home a baby, that we’d go from one of the darkest times in my life to one of the most joyous (and surprising!) moments I’ll ever experience in less than three months’ time.

Without a doubt, I am glad and grateful for the ultimate outcome of our failed fertility procedure, but it was still a difficult trial to undergo, and a path that I wish we hadn’t had to take. And it wasn’t just the procedure itself that was discouraging, but also what it meant for our future, casting doubt on our ability to ever have biological children. However, I can recognize how enduring an unsuccessful IVF cycle has given me the opportunity to share my experience with others who may be facing similar circumstances, and perhaps help them honestly express their feelings while still clinging to the truth of God’s goodness.

So it is with a strange mixture of emotions that I thank the Lord IVF didn’t work. As with many things in life, it sucked to go through, but turned out to be beneficial in the end. You know, that whole blessings-in-disguise malarkey that people say to placate you when you’re in the middle of a trial. Irritating, but true.

A year later, we’re starting to get the question only those brave enough asked us after IVF bombed: “Now what are you going to do?” This time, people are wondering how we’ll go about having little Hesse #2. My answer at present is the same as it was back then: I don’t know. This time, I’m more OK with not knowing because of Calvin; however, as more of our friends are having their second, third, fourth, or even fifth (!) child, the pressure to add to our family is beginning to increase. We have a few options; we just haven’t yet decided what road to take.

More important than our decisions or feelings, we know that God is good. He is good now that we have Calvin and are parents; He was good then when we were crushed with disappointment over IVF not getting us pregnant; He would still be good had He not chosen to bring Calvin into our lives (though I now can’t picture life without him). I know that to be true; I just don’t always feel that it is true. Good thing the Truth doesn’t depend on my feelings – a recurring theme in my prayer journal.

From here out, I’m aiming to update the blog more frequently and share some of my experiences as an adoptive mom. I’m also aiming to loosen up my task-oriented tendencies and make the most of naptimes. We’ll see which of these potentially competing goals prevails, or if I dink around on Facebook too much and just plumb forget about it.

Published by jennhesse

Coauthor, Waiting in Hope: 31 Reflections for Walking with God Through Infertility. Content director at Waiting in Hope Ministries. Wife and boy mom x3.

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