“I have always wanted to be a mother! I have always loved kids and I saw it as my purpose. In the summer of 2009, I had just graduated high school in Norway (which is where I grew up) and went to Panama to serve with Youth With A Mission for a year. That is where I met Bryan, the love of my life. I just didn’t know it back then. In fact, I recall thinking, ‘Poor woman who has to end up marrying that guy!’ He complained all the time and was super grumpy. He was annoying, to say the least. He still is. But now it usually puts a smile on my face or burst me into laughter.
We reconnected on Facebook three years later and started talking every single day. And after one year, we decided I would move to the states and we would both work on our degrees in South Carolina.
The day before I was going to fly to South Carolina, I had an ultrasound appointment to determine why I had been having this terrible pain in my stomach. A few minutes into the appointment, the ultrasound tech became very quiet. She said she had found a tumor in my uterus. I instantly freaked out and my body went into complete fight-or-flight mood where I just wanted to scream, cry, and run out of there. First, cancer crossed my mind. Then I questioned if I would ever be able to have children. That was the only thing that really mattered at that moment. That was the one thing I wanted the most in my life. I didn’t know what to do or what to think. She had said that the ‘mass’ was the size of a softball and since it was inside my uterus, it was as though I was 3 months pregnant.
These words pierced my heart. What if that was the closest I’d ever be to being pregnant?
Since they did not know exactly what it was, they had me come in for further testing, so my trip to the U.S. was postponed one week. The following week, I went to the hospital for more testing. The doctor there was very kind and supportive and told me it was a fibroid and they are rarely cancerous, which was very comforting. Because of its size and where it was located, I would probably not be able to get pregnant with it there, so it should be removed. She also said, ‘You might not be able to get pregnant after the surgery either, only time will tell,’ and suggested I not wait too many years before I started trying to get pregnant.
After finally being in South Carolina with Bryan for a few days, I brought up the dreaded conversation and talked to him about the possibility of never having any kids if he stayed with me. There were a lot of tears involved, as this was my greatest desire in life, alongside marrying Bryan, the man I loved so deeply. The loving and kind person Bryan is, he comforted me the only way he could and said if that happened, we would get through it together. That being said, I don’t think he realized how painful the thought of never having children with him was to me.
In January of 2014, I had my surgery and while it went well, the recovery was very challenging for me. Two months after my surgery, Bryan proposed to me, and in September that same year, we finally got married! What a wonderful day that was! Everything I had ever dreamed of!
The fall after we got married, I took countless pregnancy tests, but to my agony, they always showed ‘not pregnant.’ Eventually, it affected me so much in a negative way I had to leave it be for a while. In February, on my birthday, I took one again. Just maybe, MAYBE, I would receive the greatest birthday gift ever. Sadly, it was just another negative result. However, in the days coming, something just seemed off. And from all the research I had done on pregnancy, I knew something was up. If you have ever taken a pregnancy test, I am sure you know that those few seconds it takes for the result to pop up feels like forever. I was reluctant to look at it because I wanted to keep my hopes alive just a little bit longer, as I was kind of expecting another negative test, but also felt like something was different this time.
I still remember looking over on the test laying on our bathroom sink, like it was yesterday. I picked it up in disbelief! It said PREGNANT! I remember looking in the mirror and I just started crying. And giggling.
I quickly went and grabbed a little gift bag I had hidden in my closet. It was a little outfit I wanted to give Bryan when I told him I was pregnant if that ever happened. And now here we were! God had given us the greatest gift we ever could have imagined! We started telling people our happy news, and we got the whole, ‘Wow, you guys didn’t waste any time!’ But they had no idea those were the longest five months of my life!
Isabella was born in October of 2015, and she was the most beautiful little thing I had ever seen!
Because of my previous surgery, I have to deliver my babies by C-section three weeks early. Isabella had some problems with her breathing when she came out, so they observed her in the NICU for the first four hours of her life. They were no doubt the longest 4 hours of my life. All I wanted to do was have her laying on my chest and to comfort and nurse my daughter.
When Isabella was just 8 months, Bryan left for a year-long military deployment and I got a small taste of raising a child by myself. When Bryan returned home, we began the process of becoming licensed foster parents. This was something both Bryan and I had wanted for quite some time, especially as Bryan was taken in and cared for by a wonderful family when his biological mother wasn’t able to and after she died when Bryan was only nine years old. During this time, I became pregnant again, which we were so excited about! Almost everyone we told about the pregnancy asked if we still planned on fostering. Our answer was, of course, YES!
Andreas was born in March of 2018 with a head full of hair! We couldn’t have been any happier! My parents came to visit us from Norway the day after Andreas was born, and my mom had brought with her a woolen blanket she had knitted for him. She said the day I was told I might not be able to have children, she went out and bought the yarn for this blanket as an act of faith, that one day she would be allowed to give it to my child! God is so good! September of that same year, we finally became licensed foster parents, and they started calling us right away!
We have had five kids that came and left, and I will forever hold them in my heart. They will always be a part of our family, and I hope I get to see them all again one day. We miss them daily still and are reminded of them by little things and pictures around the house. Although they were only here for a short time, they played such a huge part in our lives! We then got two little girls, on Halloween that same year. Bryan was about to go out trick or treating with Isabella when we got the phone call. They showed up at our door about an hour later with a teeny-tiny little six-week-old, and a beautiful two-year-old.
Just like that, we had four kids three years and under! I wasn’t sure how we would make it work, but we knew somehow, we would be okay! They have grown into being such sweet girls, and they fit into our family so perfectly. Andreas and our youngest foster daughter are just six months apart, and I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked if they are twins! It took us a little bit to get used to having that many little ones, but we figured out a system and routine that worked for us, and it made a world’s difference.
On the Fourth of July last year, we were at a pool party with Bryan’s whole extended family (adopted family), when one of his uncles made a joke and said we had such a good system going now, it’s time to add another! We both laughed, and Bryan jokingly agreed. Sometimes I think God has such a great sense of humor and throws curve balls at us when we least expect it. In a good way, that is!
That same evening, I went to bed a little before Bryan and as I was lying there in bed, I felt a little nauseous. I’m never nauseous like that. Except for when I am pregnant… I was laying there thinking, ‘It can’t be.’ I got back up and went to the bathroom to see if I had a pregnancy test laying around, which I did. I quickly took it, and did not at all expect it to show up positive! I was pregnant, again! I was in total shock and as happy as can be! Bryan was sleeping on the couch, wiped out from playing in the pool with the kids all day. I woke him up, handed him the test, and told him he ‘jinxed’ us. He just looked at me, jaw dropped, and said, ‘No way!’ We were both shocked and we both started laughing while also saying, ‘How in the world are we going to raise this army of little ones?’ Mind you, Bryan’s parents live in another state 5.5 hours away, and my parents live on another freaking continent!
I instantly had unconditional love for this new little life growing inside of me. God had given us a new little surprise blessing, and it couldn’t get more perfect! Soriah was born in February of this year, the day before my 30th birthday, and God knew how much we needed her.
I struggled really badly through this pregnancy, both physically and mentally. I was completely overwhelmed with not feeling well and taking care of the kids all day. In the last few months, I was battling with both anxiety and depression. One of Bryan’s aunts, Fannie, was a lifesaver for me during that time. She kept me going and helped me so much with the kids and our home. I don’t think I can ever thank her enough for what she did for me during that time. If you would have asked me a few months ago, I would have said I didn’t think I could do it. I was going to take care of five kids age four and under. Just the thought of it completely freaked me out. I felt like it was absolutely impossible. I started praying and told God he needed to give me the strength I needed to take care of my family.
At some point, for quite a while actually, I wasn’t sure we would be able to adopt the girls if it would come to that. We were moving in that direction, so I knew we had to make a choice. I didn’t feel like I could give them what they needed. I wasn’t enough. I was telling myself these lies they were better off somewhere else. But I couldn’t make that choice. I couldn’t give up my children! I tried to justify it, but I knew it would be the wrong choice. Every time I thought about our girls leaving us, I was overcome with anxiety and could not control my emotions. I knew the girls leaving would never be the right choice. I would have regretted it forever. No matter how much easier it might have been for me or my family. I felt so guilty for even having thought about it! The girls were ours; they were trusted to us to love and raise them as our own. And that is exactly what we are going to do.
We love them like our own and can’t imagine life without them! God keeps giving me the strength to care for all our kids, and he continues to show me grace as I walk through this motherhood journey he sent me on. We are now in the middle of the adoption process, although it is taking longer than normal because of COVID. We are expecting to have it finalized in September and the girls will finally be legally ours! We are also so blessed to have an amazing relationship with the girls’ mother, so we didn’t only gain our two little girls, we gained a whole family! I used to believe that God does not give us more than we can handle. But he does. He gives us much more than we can handle so we need to trust and rely on him to walk alongside us. And boy, He never disappoints!
People ask if we are done having kids now, and there is absolutely nothing in me that is done having kids. I tell them to not be surprised if they find me at 73 years old, still caring for children in the foster care system or spending my retiring years in the NICU holding babies. It is who I was created to be. A mommy. Motherhood is my ministry!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Eileen Thorsen Dixon from Lancaster PA. You can follow their journey on Instagram, Facebook, and their blog. 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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