Today is a great day for a November Squawk Box! I’m drawing to the end of my pregnancy journey and am finishing up the last few squawk stories before I take a bit of a break from blogging. I don’t want those lovely ladies who have submitted their stories to get left behind or have their words possibly not reach someone when they really need it. For now, I will pause submissions just so that they don’t get lost in the shuffle while I’m away. Rest assured, however, that Squawk Box shall resume as soon as I’m back! I love this space and feel it’s so helpful for all you readers!
As for today, I give you Tegan Wren!! Tegan is a fab lady and has gone through some crazy trying times on her journey to motherhood. But being the bad ass that she is she has since channeled that pain and intensity into a fantastic peice of fiction! That’s right! She took her experience with infertility and wrote a book! Tegan’s novel, Inconceivable!, is a beyond enjoyable read about a prince and his wife who are struggling to get pregnant. What more are you supposed to do for your country as royalty than produce an heir?! Drama, despair and humour ensue. I really enjoyed this novel and once it sucked me in I literally inhaled it in two days! It was released this week and you can get your own copy on Amazon –here-.
In talking with Tegan about her book I became curious about her own experiences on infertility island. I asked her to share her real story here on squawk box. As her novel is fiction I thought it would be a great way for the broader IF community to get to know HER. In this peice she talks about the incredibly difficult decision to stop infertility treatments and how her road lead her to adoption instead- perfectly fitting for Adoption National Month. The picture today reflects that sometimes our vision of what it will mean to become a mother is distorted. That’s not always a bad thing. Tegan’s is a powerful peice, I so hope you enjoy it!
A Reimagined Happy Ending
written by: Tegan Wren
Published with the author’s permission.
There’s no easy way to look at your husband and say, “This part of our journey that’s consumed our time, energy, conversations, and money is now over. It’s time to move on to something else.” I guarantee I wasn’t that eloquent when decided to stop pursuing fertility treatments. As I recall, I squeaked out a declaration from between gritted teeth as I was doubled over in the bathroom, my body working to rid itself of the tiny being it had nurtured for nearly eight weeks after our in vitro fertilization cycle. And I’m pretty sure I simply said, “I’m done!”
Reimagining Our Happy Ending
Even before we did IVF, my husband and I had started talking about adoption. We concluded we were very open to it, and agreed that based on our finances and lack of insurance coverage for fertility treatments, we’d scrape together enough money for only one IVF cycle. So, it was an idea that had been percolating in our heads for quite some time.
After our miscarriage, Patrick and I saw a counselor (no shame!), cleared our heads, waited for my body to recover, and then began exploring adoption options. Because of the heartache we’d endured for years trying to get pregnant, we immediately ruled out U.S. domestic adoption. We did not feel emotionally capable of parenting a child who could be taken away from us. Before you raise your hand and start telling me how rarely that happens, let me tell you about our experience: we watched two couples we knew go through adoption reversals. I cried with one of my friends over the phone as she and her husband drove home after a birth mother changed her mind following the delivery. The other couple I knew had been bonding with their baby for three months when the birth mother decided to parent the child.
Choosing to pursue international adoption means you’re giving up on any chance of having a newborn. We were comfortable with that trade-off because we knew that in most cases, parental rights are severed before you’re matched to a child, if the birth parents are even known. We also agreed that we weren’t picky about race or gender. Deciding which medical conditions we felt equipped to handle was also a part of the conversation. After doing weeks of research, talking to adoptive parents, and having a heartfelt meeting with an adult adoptee, we decided to complete our paperwork to adopt overseas.
Time to Nest…Or Not
After we sent off our dossier to Vietnam, I was ready to start a baby registry the same day. I was going to be a mom! Woo-hoo! I had all this pent up desire to pick out baby necessities: bottles, wipes, nursery furniture, blankets, and, most fun of all, onesies. Going to Target and browsing the baby aisles knowing that, at some point, we’d be adopting our little one, was a kind of therapy for me. It was an outlet for my mothering energies.
But then the wait to be matched to a child started to drag. The same dread that used to fill me when I’d pass the racks of onesies during our trying to conceive years resurfaced. And there was doubt. Plenty of doubt about whether this was really going to happen. At times, it felt like we should’ve tried another round of IVF instead of changing gears. Yes, I was getting that discouraged.
Then, on a snowy January day, the adoption agency called and told us we had been matched to a baby boy. When I opened the email and saw his precious face, it was love at first sight. I wanted to gobble him up! More than that, I wanted to get on a plane and bring him home right then.
Once again, the timeline stretched far beyond what we expected. New photos trickled in; we’d get two or three each month. I hesitated to buy clothes and baby gear because we did not know when we’d get go get him. The wait to adopt our son was every bit as heart wrenching as the cycles of hope and devastation we endured while trying to get pregnant. But my heart had learned a lesson well during those dark months of negative pregnancy tests: resilience comes from holding on to hope.
More than eight months after we first saw our son’s face, we received clearance to travel and adopt him. I’ll never forget the first moment we saw him; he looked at Patrick and me, two giant white people, with his beautiful brown eyes that were full of skepticism. On the long drive from his orphanage to our hotel, he fell asleep on my chest. If ever I could pinpoint a dream-come-true moment, that was it.
Love From Loss
I’ll never forget the second night we had our son with us in Vietnam. He was sleeping soundly in the bedroom while Patrick and I whispered in the living room of the little condo we were renting. The whispering tones turned to tearful sobs as we reflected on the losses our son and his birth family had endured. We cried even harder as we talked about how our happiness over finally being parents was built upon their losses. We committed to never take our child for granted and to help him stay connected to his birth country.
As we went on to adopt two other babies, one each from China and Ethiopia, Patrick and I have quietly grieved our own losses. We lost out on having biological children, and for us, that was significant. It was the happy ending we named and claimed for ourselves not long after we started dating in high school. Part of achieving peace is realizing that life doesn’t turn out according to our plans. Sometimes, the outcome is more beautiful, more breathtaking than what we imagined for ourselves.
Now that we have our three little ones, we wouldn’t trade them for anything. But we know our love for them was born out of the love we never got to give to babies of our own flesh and blood. Adoption brought us our children, and showed us that loss breeds more than grief and heartache. It can also be a place from which love grows.