After four years, multiple IVF cycles, three devastating miscarriages, and countless setbacks … Aela’s road to motherhood has been anything but easy. But now she is pregnant and expecting a baby later this year. Follow her story on Babble and don’t miss the latest chapter in her journey below.
I’ll never forget my very first IVF cycle in 2012.
I was so certain I was pregnant that I actually didn’t believe it when the nurse told me I wasn’t. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, up until that point, was call my mother to tell her that the cycle wasn’t successful.
We had all been so hopeful, and even though I was undergoing fertility treatments, no one suspected I’d have difficulties. After all, I was receiving treatments because I’m a lesbian, not because I had any fertility issues. Little did we know that I very much did have fertility issues, and that I had just embarked on a 4-year journey to motherhood. And there was certainly no way of knowing then that it would be my own mother – four full years later – who would be the one to break the news to me that my IVF cycle worked and that I was finally and blessedly pregnant.
My mom has always been good at distracting me from my own worry, and I knew that’s why she wanted to come visit me during the dreaded two-week wait — known to those of us in the fertility game as the longest two weeks of your life where we over-Google and overthink everything. I was grateful she’d be visiting and available to keep me preoccupied with other tasks. She and my wife enjoyed wine together while I wondered if I was abstaining from having a glass for no reason.
It was over a few glasses of wine that I convinced them both that it was a brilliant idea to have my mother check a pregnancy test in the morning. We knew it could be wrong, because it was still so early, but it was also the earliest it could be positive if I actually was pregnant. But we didn’t have a test, so I piled my tipsy wife and mother into my car and we drove to the pharmacy to pick one up.
The package that was on sale included two tests, one that had a second line if positive and one that gave a digital read of “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”
We looked over the instructions back at the house, and all agreed it was a go for the next day.
I’d plan to take the tests with my first morning urine — because that’s the most concentrated — and I’d leave the tests in the bathroom for when my mom woke up. I was so tired of being the bearer of bad news, of always being the one to say I’m not pregnant, to share the news of a negative. I just didn’t want to do it this time. I didn’t want to be this part of my own story anymore. There’s only so much disappointment I can take. I thought hearing the bad news from my mom would soften the blow in a way that only moms can manage.
So I got up the next morning, took the tests, left them on the bathroom counter, and woke my mom and wife up five minutes later.
I heard my mother fish through her purse for her reading glasses. She was gone awhile, and I told myself she was trying to figure out how to tell me, her own daughter, that the cycle — once again — failed. Little did I know that she was now confused by the two different tests. What seemed so easy the night before was now a challenge.
I got upset with myself for a moment for thinking this was a good idea. Why would I put my mother in the awful position I always hated being in? How could I have forced her to be the one to shoulder this disappointment? How selfish of me.
But before I could think too much of it, I heard a soft, pre-coffee voice in the next room barely say, “You’re having a baby.”
I’m not sure what I heard was real, and I’m not sure my mother even meant to say this so quietly.
I now sat up in bed, nudging my wife and uncertain of the last few moments.
My mother walked toward our room and I asked, “What did you say?”
She appeared before us, in her pajamas and looking groggy from sleep, last night’s wine, and the early-morning experience of reading two pregnancy tests.
But with conviction and pride she said, “You’re pregnant! You’re having a BABY!”
Were we all dreaming? Was this really happening? Was my mother telling me I was pregnant? Did she read the tests correctly?
With that, she handed us the tests. And there they were: two lines and a single word that read “pregnant.”
When my child finally arrives to this world, after the loss of five other babies, after years of sadness and longing and disappointment and trial after trial, when she or he is finally here and able to understand stories, I will be so proud to tell them that their Mema was the first one to know that they would be joining our family, a family that loves and has wanted to hold their sweet hand since long before that test told us we’d be able to.