“Reasonable.” This was the first word I ever heard to describe our son. Not handsome, not sweet, but reasonable. I was lying on an exam table, heart racing, bladder about to burst. The last hour had been full of nervous laughter, thoughtful silences, and lots of prayer. After what seemed like an eternity, the embryologist rushed into the room apologizing for the wait and explaining that out of the three groups of embryos, only two single embryos had managed to survive the thaw. The first embryo was so small that it was not given a number. The second embryo was from another set of donors and was small but “reasonable.” I felt crushed. The thousands of dollars we had spent, the many painful procedures I had gone through, the daily shots, the emotional highs and lows all came down to this one moment. Barring some divine intervention, this transfer was our only chance at having another child that we so desperately wanted.
My husband and I were blessed to have three children already. Our first was conceived after just a month of trying so naturally we thought that when we wanted a second child, it would come easily. But three years, lots of testing, medications, and a surgical procedure later, we were diagnosed with “unexplained” infertility. We were in the process of fostering to adopt through DCS and found out we were pregnant with twins! After I had the twins, we swore we were done. I got rid of all the baby stuff and never looked back. Except there was this nagging feeling that our family wasn’t complete. Somehow my husband was completely on board, even though he had always wanted two kids (and famously said that the only way he would have more than two kids was if the second one was twins). After 18 months of trying, I happened upon a blog post about embryo adoption. As someone who had struggled with infertility for several years, I found it strange that I had never heard of it! I fell in love with the idea of being able to carry and breastfeed an adopted baby. My husband agreed, and 8 months later we were at this crucial day of transfer.
Amazingly, our transfer worked, and we had a healthy baby boy. Sometimes I think about the embryo that didn't survive and how crazy it would be to have twins that weren't related to us or each other, but I think that God knew we could only handle one set of twins! During my pregnancy, I worried about loving an adopted child the same as our biological children and whether he would feel like he fit into our family, but these feelings all vanished the first time I heard his cry. That first beautiful cry that brings tears to my eyes every time.
He was almost ten pounds, so he had trouble breathing after delivery. They let me do skin to skin to see if it would regulate his breathing, and he calmed down immediately. They told me I could feed him, but it had been eight years since I had breastfed and I didn't remember how. I looked down to try to figure it out and he had beat me to it!
I can honestly say that I love all of my kids the same amount, but I am in awe of him. Some days I just stare at him, thinking of all those years he spent in the freezer, suspended in time. I think of the wonderfully selfless decision his donors made to give him a chance at life. When he cries and I pick him up, he just falls into me. He clings to me so tightly, as though he cannot get close enough. But I know that while I am holding him, and he is melting into me, he is thinking, "I waited so long for you. And now you are here."