“I always envisioned myself as a mom with lots of little kids. Growing up, I was the kid carrying around not one but three baby dolls. Fast forward to 2017, I got engaged to my high school sweetheart, Hudson, on our study abroad in Thailand. I couldn’t wait to say ‘I do,’ move into our first apartment, finish college, and start our family. Six months later, on a chilly November morning, we became husband and wife. It was the start of a new, beautiful, chapter of our lives together!
I was eager to start trying to grow our family but we agreed we would wait until we got closer to graduation. In the meantime, we moved apartments, Hudson worked full time and went to school full time, we traveled to new places, I started my photography business while going to school, and we made so many incredible memories in those first two years. Right before our two year anniversary, I stopped birth control and at the first of the year, we started tracking my cycle and actively trying to grow our family.
We were so naive back then… I remember thinking we had timed it perfectly for the baby to be born during my offseason for photography. I saw our future so clearly. Hudson massaging my swollen pregnant feet on the couch while we talked baby names or beaming down at our baby in the hospital room. We bought our first home with two extra rooms and I temporarily set up my office in what would be the baby’s nursery and we waited. And waited. And waited. Each month that passed, I could feel the anxiety in my heart like a ton of bricks just weighing on me. That picture of our lives I had once envisioned so clearly became harder and harder to see. Deep down, I knew things weren’t right. We had to wait a full year before we could see any kind of infertility specialist.
I remember our first appointment on December 5th so clearly. I was terrified and excited to hopefully get some answers. We did so many tests and met with our specialist and she laid it all out for us. She told us we had about an 8% chance of conceiving on our own. Everything on Hudson’s side checked out great and mine did too, which meant we had unexplained infertility. There was a chance my eggs were bad or I had endometriosis but without more invasive testing, there is no way to know. She recommended we do three IUI’s to start with. Each one gave us about an 18% chance. Then we would move on to IVF. Two weeks later, we started our first one. The infertility drugs were brutal. We only got one mature egg when we should have gotten two or three but I told myself it was worth it for a baby and after all, we only needed one egg. A few weeks later, we got the news it didn’t work. We went straight into our next round with a more potent drug regimen and again, we got one egg. A few weeks later, we were told we weren’t pregnant.
Because we weren’t getting the egg count, they met with us again to go back to the drawing board. Our best shot was IVF, which would give us a 60% chance of conceiving. I sat there taking it in and again was willing to put my body and mind through hell to have a baby. My husband was incredibly wise and told me we should wait. He could see what treatment was doing to me and just how low I was. He knew if we went through all of that and walked away with no child, I would be devastated. As hard as it was to hear it I agreed, fully anticipating we would start our IVF cycle in a few months once we healed our hearts a little. It took about a month for my body to regulate and come down off the hormonal drugs and once I did, I felt like I could see clearly. I was willing to sacrifice it ALL, my body and mind, to have a baby. Something about that just didn’t sit right with me. I felt like God wouldn’t want me to do that to myself. He would want me to figure out how to find peace and joy in my life, with or without a child. I decided to put in the work and see a therapist and come to terms with our childless life.
For the first time in over a year and a half, I didn’t think about having a baby 24/7. My life didn’t revolve around it. I found joy in my day-to-day. In my work. In my husband. In our home… including the room I once thought would be a nursery. In walks with our puppy. I’ll never forget the day I was driving in the car with my puppy and husband and it hit me… I was HAPPY. Truly happy. With our life just the way it was. If it never changed, if I never had a baby, I would still find joy and meaning in my life.
A few weeks later, Hudson and I both had the topic of adoption brought up in separate settings. I brought it up over dinner and was surprised it was already on his mind. We entertained the thought of adopting and instantly the pieces began clicking in my mind. This is what we needed to do. I knew no matter what path we pursued, adoption or IVF, it would be hard. But at least with adoption, I would have a clear mental state untainted by fertility drugs. That was everything to me. The more we thought about it, the happier we became and the clearer we could picture it. Hudson was a little more hesitant and one night, we asked his dad if he could give Hudson a blessing to help us know what choice we could make. It was a special experience as he prayed over him and told us God was preparing a child for us. We just had to make the choice. We knew right then and there, we needed to adopt.
We found an agency we liked and interviewed with them. They thought we would be a perfect fit and said we could get started with the process. We started our home study and we decided on June 10, we would make a social media post announcing to our friends and family we were adopting through the agency. I had the picture and caption ready to go and that morning, I just couldn’t hit the POST button. I had the thought maybe we should try to find our own expectant mom through word of mouth and social media. I didn’t think it would work but I thought we could do it for a month while we were finishing our home study. Worst case, it would give us another month to save. I called Hudson and he agreed it couldn’t hurt so we went for it.
I posted it at 5:30 p.m. and that night on Facebook alone, it got over 500 shares. The next morning, I woke up to a message in my inbox from an acquaintance. She said she knew of someone that was pregnant, due in August, and wanted to place her baby for adoption. She connected us and two days after we first spoke, they chose us to be Elsie’s parents. It was indescribable. Everything seemingly fit into place. Everything felt right.
We had to wait a month and a half and each day that went passed the anticipation grew and grew. I loved our weekly check-ins and getting to know Elsie’s birth parents and how she was doing! Elsie’s birth was one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve had in my entire life. No amount of thinking, worrying or planning could have prepared us for it. It was beyond beautiful and so unique and special to us. Thursday, August 6, we got a text from Elsie’s birth mama saying she was experiencing back pain and went into the doctors but she wasn’t very dilated and the contractions were consistently 10 minutes apart. They sent her home and told her when they were five minutes apart to come back! I was so anxious and was hoping maybe she would come before her Saturday induction.
However, that night before bed when I checked in, she told me they had slowed way down to one an hour. I told Hudson and we went to bed thinking it would be a few days. Friday morning, I slept in and figured I should finish working on the hospital bag. As soon as I opened, it my phone rang and it was Elsie’s birth mom! My voice was so shaky and we were both laughing and crying as she told me the contractions had gotten way worse so they went in that morning and she was dilated to an EIGHT! I was so shocked! She told us to head in so I called Hudson and he raced home. I threw our hospital bags together and grabbed her car seat and diaper bag, and we got in the car to make our way there.
Once we got there, I am not going to lie, I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect with adoption and was worried the staff wouldn’t know either. From the moment we walked in, I felt nothing but love. Everyone was so kind and helpful and made us feel right at home! We got checked into our room on the recovery floor and spoke with the director. She was incredible and told us Elsie’s birth parents were doing good and they might want me in the room. I started bawling. We had thought it wouldn’t be an option and was fully prepared to anxiously wait in our room until we got an update. I was beyond grateful I would be able to witness that moment our sweet girl came into the world. After a while, they came in and told me she was ready to push. I walked into the room and her birth parents were incredible. The love I felt in that room brought me to tears multiple times as I watched them comfort each other, cheer each other on, and her birth mom push through the tears and pain as Elsie Mae made her entrance into the world.
Words can’t describe what happened within the first few moments she was here. Her birth parents wanted to spend some time with her and I decided it would be best to wait in the hallway. I knew that time was so special for them and I didn’t want to interfere. I gave them both a hug and went into the hallway. As I waited in the hallway, I prayed no matter what happened within the next minutes or hours, God would help everyone to find peace and comfort. I wasn’t sure if I would see Elsie Mae again, if I am being honest, and I just prayed no matter what, we would all be okay.
As soon as I finished, the door opened and they wheeled Elsie into the hallway, and into my arms. I crumbled into 1000 pieces in that instant. I knew she was ours! I pulled myself together and wheeled her to be weighed and measured. She was 7 pounds even and was 19 inches long! I got to wheel her into our room to Hudson, who had been anxiously waiting. He melted when he saw her and together we hugged, cried, and loved on her. It was magical! We did skin to skin, cuddled, and learned all things parenthood. She took her bottle like a champ and loved her formula, which was a huge relief for me.
Our first night with Elsie Mae was magical! I am pretty sure I didn’t even sleep, I just stared at her all night long! The next day we were able to go home after she passed all of her tests with flying colors. We absolutely adore her and I am forever grateful I let go of my own vision of motherhood to embrace the perfectly imperfect reality of motherhood I have the honor of experiencing. She will forever be our greatest joy and blessing. The sweet spirit she brings makes my days so bright and full. I am so grateful for our Sauer Party of three!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kylee Sauer from Boise, Idaho. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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