“Tim and I met in the year 2000 on a beach in Florida while we were on our college spring breaks. I never expected to meet anyone I would even continue talking to, let alone marry, one day on spring break 2000, but that’s our story. We married in May of 2002 and immediately moved from the Midwest to Utah. Tim was in ROTC in college, so military life was always the plan. We packed up what little we had and trekked across the country to a city where we knew no one. I had no idea what life was going to look like from here on out, but I was good with whatever because I loved him.
We lived in the Salt Lake City area for 2 years, then moved back to the Midwest. Dayton, Ohio, actually. It was here in Ohio we had our first baby. A little boy, Kyler. He came only about 4 years after we got married, but we were so excited to be adding to our family. He arrived in late winter, and I vividly remember going out to brunch on my first Mother’s Day and telling Tim, ‘Let’s do this again, I’m ready to have another!’ Now, I know I was crazy! One baby is relaxing. You only have 1 person to watch after, you and your spouse outnumber the kids, you can sleep when they sleep and wake when they wake, it’s so heavenly. This was probably why I thought, ‘I got this!’
Well, almost 18 months after the birth of Kyler came Emily. In those 18 months, Tim graduated with his master’s degree, and we moved again, this time to Maryland. Tim had gotten accepted into Naval Test Pilot School. It was a year-long school, so we knew another move was on the horizon. But now, we were in a very temporary location and Tim was crazy busy with his school, and we had an 18-month-old and a newborn. Needless to say, my days weren’t as relaxing as when Kyler was a newborn!
After Maryland, we were sent to the Destin, FL, area and were stationed there for the longest we have ever been anywhere – 3.5 years! This was when people would ask, ‘Are you planning on any more kids?’ ‘When do you think you’ll have more kids?’ ‘You have your boy and girl so are you done?’ I was so overwhelmed with raising these 2 humans, I couldn’t even think about any more kids. I needed to have some time. We had always talked about having 4 kids, but at this point, I couldn’t think past Emily. Tim’s job was pretty demanding while we lived in Florida. He deployed for about 6 months, my sister was living with us to help out during that deployment, and I just couldn’t imagine adding a baby to the mix.
In the summer before Kyler started kindergarten we moved back up to Dayton, Ohio. We ended up only staying for 2 years this time around, but it was here that our infertility journey began.
We finally decided we wanted more children. Kyler was in school full time and Emily was in preschool, so I had a few hours every day alone in the house. It’s very eye-opening when you get that break after having kids at home 24/7 for so long. You realize how much can get done in those hours they are at school. So, we started ‘trying.’ We really didn’t have trouble getting pregnant with Kyler and Emily, so the fact that it was taking a while felt like something just wasn’t right. After about 9 months, we decided to seek help. We were very fortunate the hospital on base in Dayton had fertility specialists. I remember that day, hearing the doctor say, ‘It doesn’t look like you are ovulating every month.’
What does that even mean?
I immediately think, ‘Well, let’s fix that problem then. What do I need to take or do RIGHT now?’
The thing with trying to get pregnant is that when you decide you are ready to have a baby, you are ready NOW. Waiting month after month seems like an eternity. Our fertility doctor started me on Clomid in November of 2012. And we waited. When you are doing fertility treatments, everything is very clinical. You call when your cycle starts, you get your Clomid prescription, you take it on the days they tell you, then you go in and get checked to see when you should be intimate with your partner, they tell what days to ‘do it,’ and you do. You then wait the right amount of days and come in for a blood test, wait for the phone call from the lab saying yes you are pregnant or no you aren’t, and the cycle starts all over if you aren’t.
We did this for a month or 2, then tried to up the ante by doing artificial insemination. That was fun: Tim got to meet me at the hospital, get a sample, and we waited for them to prepare the sample for insemination, then we watched on an ultrasound his sperm head towards my eggs, hopefully. For months, every time my doctor checked to see how the Clomid worked, she would say things like, ‘There is your future baby!’ or ‘It looks like you could be releasing 3 eggs this month, how do you feel about triplets?’ and for months, I got my hopes up, then felt so defeated when the test came back negative.
It was exhausting. I spent every day thinking about it, worrying about it. All things they tell you not to do. But when you are struggling to get pregnant, all you do is stress about why you aren’t getting pregnant. Then came our next move, summer of 2013, to Virginia. We had multiple discussions with our doctor, and we decided we did not want to go the route of in-vitro fertilization. That was just something I didn’t want to put my body through. So, we all were in agreement when we left Ohio: we were done with this route of trying. All our eggs were literally in 1 basket on our last visit to our doctor for our procedure. And it failed, again.
We moved to Virginia and had just moved into our new home, and I remember sitting at our kitchen table, 2 healthy kids running around the house, and talking about what do we do now. It’s hard to go from wanting to add to your family to just not. The desire doesn’t go away so easily. That feeling that someone is missing doesn’t just leave your heart.
We decided to look into adoption. This was a big decision for us, but we went all in. We researched agencies, both domestic and foreign, and found one that fit what we were looking for. The thing about my husband is that when he makes a decision to do something, he gets into it right away. He doesn’t slow, in fact, he almost goes into overdrive. So, when our agency gave us the checklist to get done, we got on it and finished in record time. We signed with the agency in September 2013, and our profile was finished and live for birth mothers to view in November 2013. Then, we waited for a call.
I felt like all the pressure was off, and I finally relaxed. Don’t get me wrong, every time my phone rang, I was hoping for good news, but for the most part, my stress level was getting back to normal. On January 3, 2014, we got the call. It was in the evening, we had family visiting from out of town. My phone rang, and I saw the number on caller ID, and I ran into the other room. We spoke to the birth mother that night, and after a long conversation, we were all in agreement that this was going to work.
I’m not going to share the details of her story since it’s her story, but we all felt really good about it. She told us she was due in 3 weeks, and she was having a girl. Talk about fast! The next day we went shopping, started decorating her room, called family, and made arrangements for my mom to come out and watch our other kids so we could pick up our baby at the end of the month. Were we a little premature, yes, but we were so excited. We called everyone we knew and could not hold our excitement in.
Every week we spoke with our agency contact, and we would text with our birth mother. She sent us audio of her heartbeat and said, ‘I thought you might like to hear your baby’s heartbeat.’ This was right, and we were getting our baby. We had her name picked, Aniston Jean, and we’d call her Annie. I was writing letters to her over these weeks waiting for her to arrive home with us.
The time came for us to head out to meet her. The birth mother said she had an appointment coming up where her doctor would schedule her c-section. She had asked us to be in the delivery room, so we wanted to be there for the doctor’s appointment too — we didn’t want to miss anything. We drove for 12 hours and waited in our hotel room. We texted our birth mom and asked if we could take her to dinner, she said no, thank you, but she’d text after her appointment the next day. She also didn’t want us at the appointment. I tried hard not to start to worry. The next day, we were sitting in our room, watching TV and I got a text,
‘It’s a boy.’
‘Oh, and I’m actually not due for another 4 weeks.’
I literally threw my phone across the bed. I felt sick to my stomach, I was here waiting to meet my daughter in the coming days, and now I find out it’s a boy who’s not arriving for a month. I really wasn’t sure what to do with this information, but my husband looked at me and said, ‘This is our baby, and girl or boy, it’s ours, and we will come back in a month to get him.’ He was the levelheaded one of the 2 of us, and I needed that.
We texted her back OK and we’d be back in the next few weeks. We called the agency and had a long discussion about how all of this could have been missed, particularly the incorrect due date. I get ultrasounds can be read wrong, but how was the due date so wrong? I had a long car ride filled with anger, tears, confusion, and sleep. We got home and told the kids why we were home with no baby and that they’d be getting a brother instead of a sister. They were confused but dealt with it great. It’s amazing how kids handle things, sometimes they are just so grown up, especially when you need them to be.
We readjusted and returned girl things and got boy things. We picked a new name, Crosby Andrew, and were getting excited about welcoming a baby boy home. February 3, 2014, one month after getting the initial call, we got another call. Before I even answered I knew what it was.
‘I’m sorry, the birth mother has changed her mind. There is nothing more we can do.’
She TEXTED the agency, she didn’t even call. And she wouldn’t answer their calls. I sat in disbelief and just cried. Cried harder than I ever have in my whole life. Sobbed so hard I could hardly speak when my daughter came to ask what was wrong. She was 6 and she asked me, ‘Did she change her mind, Mama?’ All I could say was, ‘Yes, I’m sorry.’ She hugged me then went about her day. It’s how a 6-year-old deals with grief. They cry and then move on.
I wish I could have moved on like that. I called my husband, and he rushed home, and we just cried together. It’s a day I never want to relive. The next day, I dealt with it by getting rid of everything. I returned the car seat and stroller, shredded anything that said the birth mother’s name, deleted her contact from my phone, boxed up all the bottles, basically got rid of everything that said a baby was supposed to be coming into our house. The agency gave it a few days, then called to see if we wanted our file to remain active, we said yes.
A couple of weeks after we lost the baby, I was in Target and strolling through the baby aisle and saw a little outfit for a baby girl. I grabbed it, put it in my cart, then headed over to the aisle where the ovulation tests were. I said to myself,
‘I will have a baby this year.’
So, I bought the outfit and the ovulation test, and I went home. The outfit went into the back of a closet and the ovulation test went in my bathroom vanity, and I kept both a secret. I wanted to deal with the grief alone if this didn’t work, so I never told my husband. I just made sure we did the deed when the test said to.
The next month I felt weird, I can’t really describe it, but I felt different. I was tracking the days, and I didn’t want to take a pregnancy test too early, so I just waited another day, then another day, then another, then I couldn’t wait anymore. I dropped my kids off at school and went to the drugstore and grabbed multiple tests. I went home and took 3 tests, all 3 came back positive. I couldn’t believe it. I had peed on, what felt like, a million tests over the past couple years and I was finally seeing a positive. I called my husband at work and told him over the phone. He took the call in the stairwell, but he said when he went back into the office multiple people asked, ‘Is she pregnant?’ I guess he couldn’t hide his excitement!
9 months later came our beautiful Savannah Jean. Our daughter who I bought that outfit for. Do I think this was all part of the plan? No. Do I think God sent us down all these hard paths just to get us to Savannah? No. I firmly believe this just happened. It sucked, and it was hard, but it wasn’t some big plan. I don’t think God purposefully had us go through all the heartache with the plan of giving us Savannah. That is not a God I want to believe in. He did give us the strength to get through the tough days though. He waited on us patiently when we lost faith in Him, and we did. He accepted our anger and held us up even though we were so mad at Him. And then He celebrated when we got pregnant. He cheered when a healthy baby girl was born. He never left even though we felt alone.
When Savannah was just under 1, my husband deployed again for 7 months. And guess what? The month after he got home, I peed on a stick again, and I saw another positive test! Baby #4 was on their way; another girl came 9 months after that! Nora. We finally felt like our family was complete.
I don’t know what happened to our birth mom. I don’t know what happened to that baby. He’d be 6 now. I hope he’s doing well, I hope he’s happy, I hope his mama has given him a wonderful life. His name isn’t Crosby, he lives in a different state, he was never mine, he was never ours. We never even met him. We lost a child, but he isn’t lost, he’s with his mother and siblings. How do you grieve for a baby who was born and is living a life and has no idea who we are? There is no manual for it, no perfect answer.
Did Savannah fix all our sadness? No. She didn’t replace him, she came in spite of what we went through. I am forever grateful for her because I say she healed my heart, but she didn’t fill the hole Crosby lives in. There will always be a spot in my heart for the Crosby that never came home. But we are ok, we are good actually, great even. We have gotten through the grief and come out on the other side stronger.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennifer and Tim of San Antonio, TX. Follow their journey on Instagram or on Jennifer’s blog. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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