“Steph and I met when I was 16, and she was 18. At the time, I was dating a girl who introduced me to her friend group. Steph just so happened to be a part of it. We were both in our wild stages of life, and although we noticed each other, we weren’t really trying for one another.
Years went by, and in that time, I got pregnant with my twins, and she got into in a very serious relationship. We had our own lives that had nothing to do with each other, although we did keep in contact occasionally, asking each other to hang out. None of it really got far. That was until May of 2015 when we started talking via Messenger on Facebook.
I remember that summer so vividly. We went from chatting on Facebook, her visiting me at my night shifts for work, to hanging out nearly every day. She would do cute things like bring me flowers to work or write happy birthday all over my car. I knew after a few times of hanging out that she was more than just some girl. She was the girl I needed in my life. Something worth holding onto for as long as I possibly could.
There were times when she would leave my house to go to work, or something, and we would kiss goodbye and I would truly have to fight back the urge to tell her I loved her. I had never been afraid to tell someone I love them. I had never been so scared for someone to not feel the same. That’s when I knew. I knew that even though we hadn’t been hanging out for long, I knew I loved her.
One day, and I remember this day perfectly, she was leaving for work. We were standing outside my backdoor. We hugged and kissed, and after we kissed, I told her, ‘Every time you leave, I have to fight the urge to tell you I love you.’ She smiled and told me she felt the same. We kissed again, but this time harder, and when we pulled away, I finally said it. I told her I loved her, and she told me she loved me. Nothing ever felt so right in my entire life. I knew in that moment, my home was with her.
This girl was something else to me. She was so different from any other relationship I had been in. Never had I waited to be intimate with someone. With her, I waited over a month. That was new to me. I loved that about her. She was so old school, with everything she did. With her, things were how they should be. It took her over a month to ask me to be her girlfriend, and of course, there was no hesitation on my end. Finally I had the love I deserved, and she was all mine.
One funny thing about our relationship, is we never really ever agreed to, or talked about moving in together. It just kind of happened. She had been ‘spending the night’ a lot, and had some things she would leave at my house. So, one day while she was at work, I decided to clean out an area of my closet for her things. From there, it just stuck. We liked things this way. It felt right.
The best part of all of this is that my recently turned 3-year-old twin sons, Davin and Gauge, were completely in love with her. Probably more than myself. Which made falling in love with this perfect woman so much easier for me. As if I needed any help. I like to say she was the missing piece to our puzzle. The twins loved their Stephy and got attached very quickly. They asked for her all the time.
Steph moved even slower with the twins than she did with me. She was nervous. She didn’t want to overstep her boundaries with them. She knew that before her, it was just the 3 of us since the day they were born. There was a lot of pressure on her for them to like her. She didn’t want to mess things up. Luckily, things just…melted into place. We were slowly forming into this incredible force to be reckoned with. Our little wolf pack.
When it came to meeting family, Steph met most of my close family right off the bat. At the time, I was living next door to my parents and brother who lived with my grandparents. Everyone loved her. Me meeting her family took a little longer. She had her reasons. I came from a small family with one sibling. She came from a very large family, with 14 siblings, that including half and step siblings. In other words, chaos. To Steph’s surprise, it was a chaos I managed way better than she ever expected. I loved her family as my own, and she loved mine as her own. We were accepted by everyone without any question. Which made me feel as if we were meant to be. We were lucky on that front. I know how difficult it is for some same sex couples to gain acceptance from their families. Acceptance is one of the biggest things in our family. We will always teach our children to accept all walks of life.
Before we knew it, our summer was over. Fall was here, and still, every day I continued to fall for her even harder. She was everything I had ever asked for. She made me feel like no one ever could. To this day, she is the only one who knows how to calm me during an anxiety attack, which can be pretty severe sometimes. She is my muse. Because of her, I even stopped smoking cigarettes. She helps me be a better me without even trying. She brightens my world with her gorgeous blue eyes. She’s my girl, and I don’t want to experience life without her.
When Halloween rolled around, we made plans with my aunt, cousins, and their kids to go trick-or-treating. Then we invited the rest of my family and hers back to her mom’s house for a Halloween party. Little did I know, Steph had bigger plans that she had been working on. Steph’s mom called everyone outside for a bonfire, and I was purposely left inside to put a coat on one of our nephews. When I went outside with him, everyone was out by the fire. Mind you, it was pitch black outside. When I got closer, I noticed there were glow sticks all over the ground. Then, I noticed there were 3 pumpkins that had letters and words carved in them that lead to the door of a little barn. The first pumpkin said ‘S + S’, the second said ‘D + G’, and then the third said ‘ = perfect family.’ Finally, the sign above the door said ‘Marry me’. Not ‘Will you marry me?’ Just ‘Marry me.’ When I walked into the doorway, Steph was standing there. I pulled her in and kissed her and told her I would marry her. I didn’t even care if she had a ring. That was when she slipped the prettiest ring on to my finger. It was Amethyst with Blue Fire Opal in the band. Having all of our families there to support us made everything so much more special. Knowing we have their full support made it that much easier to love each other.
A few months passed and we decided it was time to move into a bigger, safer home. Our home at the time was tiny, very old and run down. It was the original house that was built on my grandparents’ property. With the twins and I living there, it had totaled to 7 generations of our family that had lived in that house. The tub had a terrible crack that prevented us from taking baths, to the point we had to shower standing in the corner. No dryer, nor room for a dryer. We were cramped and we had a TERRIBLE mouse infestation. So bad there were many nights I would sit in bed wide awake because a mouse had run across my hair while I was sleeping, or I could hear them in the walls. Every night I would bleach the counter tops, only to wake up to mouse poop all over them the next morning. We were absolutely desperate to get out. We needed it. Our boys needed it. By this time, we had our pure bred Golden Retriever, Rasta with us. Having a dog her size made finding a home incredibly hard in a world that requires ‘pet rent,’ especially for dogs over a certain weight. In turn, that lead us to Oregon, where we found a home perfect for our family to grow. We made the move, just over an hour away from all of our friends and family, to completely unknown territory. It was scary at first, but we soon found that this was exactly where we were meant to be. We had found the place we wanted to stay for as long as we could. Hello, Oregon.
When the summer rolled back around, we decided it was finally time to become Mrs. & Mrs. We had a very small courthouse wedding. We had few guests including the twins, both of our mothers, my father and her stepfather, my brother and her step brother and his girlfriend, and Steph’s Nana. We wanted it even smaller, but didn’t want anyone felling left out. After our wedding, we attended the Emmett Cherry Festival in Emmett, Idaho. When we arrived, we were still dressed from the wedding. I was still wearing my white sun dress along with the flower crown my mom had made for me. As we were walking up to the festival, we walked passed a little girl that had Down Syndrome. I heard her excitedly tell her mom, ‘Look, mommy! A princess!’ I turned, smiled the biggest smile at her and waved. On a day where every girl should feel like a princess, that little girl made me feel like the most beautiful princess ever. Even though it was a small courthouse wedding, it was the most magical day ever for me. I couldn’t wait to start the rest of my life with the woman that walked in and stole my heart so unexpectedly. I was so happy and felt so entirely complete.
Steph and I had always talked about having kids together. We had a beautiful dream of exactly what we wanted. Since the twins were biologically mine, we wanted a child that was biologically Steph’s. Since Steph was in no way interested in carrying a baby herself, the job was left to me. Which in turn, made things a little more difficult for us. In order for the baby to be biologically Steph’s, but have me carry it, we would have to do IVF (Invitro Fertilization), which costs thousands of dollars. We knew that having a baby together was something we would have to wait a long time for. That was until one day, I got a wild hair. I told her how it wasn’t fair that people who don’t even really deserve kids can have them whenever they want, but people like her and I had to suffer a long wait and spend thousands of dollars. ‘Let’s figure out how to have a baby by ourselves!’, I told her. ‘It’s not fair that these people can just pop out babies without even really caring about them.’ She completely agreed. To my surprise she was more on board with the idea than I would have ever imagined.
From then on, it was a race to retain as much information on Artificial Insemination as I could. I found a lot of helpful information and support through Lesbian Trying to Conceive groups on Facebook. I don’t think either of us realized how serious we both were about making baby Curtis a reality. We were both incredibly bound and determined by love. Not only did we want this baby for us, but we also wanted more than anything to make our boys big brothers. They wanted it just as much as we did. Although, since we wanted to surprise all of our family when we actually did get pregnant, we didn’t tell the twins we were trying for a baby. Finding a donor was the hardest part of the whole journey. Finally, after searching and searching, Steph came to me with a suggestion for a donor. It was perfect! Now all we had to do was talk to him and his wife to see if they were on board. We couldn’t believe how excited the two of them were to help us make this dream of ours come true! They were the perfect match for us! Now that we had our donor, it was time to start getting my body healthy and ready. I started taking prenatals as soon as I could. We also had to start tracking my cycle, which meant tons, and tons of ovulation tests!
When it came to our first try, it was so awkward. It was November, so it was cold and snowy outside. We had to drive over an hour to meet our donor at his house. When we got there, we had to wait for a moment he wasn’t busy with his kids so he could go do his thing. Once he did, it was mine and Steph’s turn to do our thing. To add even more awkwardness to the situation, we had to ‘do our thing’ in the back of our car. In the dark, in the car. It made things very difficult and frustrating. Needless to say, no baby this month. We were heartbroken, but were trying not to expect too much from our first try. The second month try was pretty much the same. In the car, at the donor’s house, in the cold dark. This time, it was even more frustrating difficult. This time actually made us fight. This was something we both wanted SO badly, yet everything was going horribly wrong. This wasn’t full of whispers and giggles and kisses like we had thought. This was full of frustration, anger, and disappointment. We were so into our emotions, and even though it was just our second try, I was beginning to lose hope. I know Steph was feeling discouraged too, especially after our second round of negative tests. It was so simple for me to accidentally get pregnant with my twins. Why couldn’t I do this for my wife?! I felt as if I was failing her. Something I never wanted to do.
When it came to try month #3, things were going to be different. I took an ovulation test one morning and it was a blazing positive. We called our donor and asked him if he could come to us this time. He agreed to come by that night. As the night grew older, and we continued to wait for him, I was growing more anxious. Where was he? Why is he so late? I was beginning to think this month was going to be a huge bust. Steph, as level-headed as she is, was even becoming upset. That was, until he showed up at 4 a.m. At that point, I was tired and grumpy and didn’t even think it would work anymore, but Steph was determined. And man, am I happy she was! This time was different. We were home, in our bed, and as soon we were in bed together, everything seemed so right. I was hopeful for this month. We both were.
When February 2nd finally rolled around, it was time to test. Steph was at work, so I kept telling myself I would wait until she got home. I just couldn’t wait. By this time, I was addicted to taking pregnancy tests. I decided to take one of my cheap tests. I took it, and it came back negative. I was discouraged, but for some reason, I decided to sit the test on the window seal, instead of tossing it in the trash. When I went back 5 minutes later, there was a second line. It was passed the valid time window, so I thought nothing of it, yet I left it there. I went back after about another 10 minutes and the line was blazing solid at this point. What in the heck?! I decided it was time to take one of my more expensive tests, because the cheaper ones were notorious for giving false readings. I peed, laid the test down flat and waited. When it was time to look, I was the most nervous I had ever been in my life. I peeked with one eye I closed. When I saw a very, very faint second line, I almost passed out. I could not believe my eyes. Someone had to be playing a trick on me somehow! I decided it was time to take my digital test. That one would give me a solid answer. I ripped that sucker open and did my thing. I didn’t even think I had enough pee left in me, but I did. I laid the test down and watched like it like a hawk. It had a little loading bar on it which made things very suspenseful! Finally, after what seemed like hours, it loaded and up popped the word ‘PREGNANT’! I couldn’t believe it! We did it! We actually did it! We were having a baby! Now where was my wife so I could tell her?! Oh yeah, she was at work. Which means I had to wait all day to spill the beans.
When she finally got home, I was like a little kid on waiting for Santa. I told her I had a gift for her that I had gotten to give her on Christmas. She didn’t believe me because I couldn’t stop smiling so I told her it was a funny gift. I handed her a box. She looked at me kind of oddly, then opened it. Inside were all 3 pregnancy tests along with a red onsie with a choochoo train on it that said, ‘All aboard the love train!’ She couldn’t believe it. She kept asking me if it was real. It was so real and neither of us could believe it happened. Our dreams were coming true, and I was even more in love with this woman than ever. When we told our boys later that night, they were beyond excited and couldn’t wait to tell everyone. Neither could we. The next morning, we drove an hour to tell our families. Everyone was over the moon for us.
My pregnancy was so amazing, having Steph by my side through every little thing. With the twins, I was alone. I had my mom by my side, but I was still alone. With Steph, I never, ever once felt alone. From rubbing my back and holding my hair back when morning sickness got the best of me, attending EVERY doctor’s appointment I had, making sure I was always eating right and drinking water, to dealing with my terrible mood swings, inability to do somethings by myself, and random calls to come home from work to take me to the ER because I was having weird pains. She made sure that I knew that we were a team. We were in this together, and no matter what, I would never be alone. When we found out we were having another baby boy, her eyes lit up in the most beautiful way I had ever seen. Everyone says it’s the pregnant ones that ‘glow’, but she was the one glowing the entire pregnancy. Even though I already knew what she was like as a mother, I was witnessing her blossom into the most beautiful mother ever. There was something about knowing that SHE got me pregnant, and knowing that this was HER son, that brought out such a beautiful side to this woman who was already beyond gorgeous to me.
When we found out that we were due in April, we did a Gender Reveal with our families. We did two. One for family in person, and one for our family and friends afar, involving photos. That’s when we hired photographer Jayme Sheen, with Sweet Iris Photography. Little did we know, she would soon become our closest friend. In the spirit of Easter, we filled hollowed eggs with green and blue paint, then we had our parents throw them at canvas’. By this point, my grandma was completely bed ridden, so we did a gender reveal just for her. We still wanted to use the egg theme, so instead of paint, I filled the egg with little blue confetti footprints I made with an old paper punch of my grandma’s. My grandpa helped her crack it open. I’ll never forget her smile that day. My grandmother ‘knew’ we were having another baby, and she also ‘knew’ it was a boy. What we didn’t know, is that she wouldn’t be here with us to meet him. The next month in May, my grandmother passed away from Alzheimer’s Disease. Although my grandma may not have gotten to meet Steph before she was sick, I knew she would have loved her so much. Both Libras with beautiful hearts. Having to deal with losing someone that meant the world to me, along with dealing with pregnancy hormones, was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with in my life. I don’t know if I would have made it through without the love and support of my wife. She truly carried me through this rough spot. I owe her the world for that.
Before we knew it, October 13th was here. To many, just another day. To us, it was the day we were to meet our baby. The doctor’s appointments weren’t very promising up to this point. Even though in my head, I was so ready, my body, and baby were not ready yet. With my previous pregnancy, my twins came almost two months early. At this point, our little dude was week late! I was so over pregnancy. Our last appointment came on October 20th. My doctor asked what we wanted to do. Of course we wanted our baby, but it wasn’t that easy. I was lucky enough to be able to ‘qualify’ for a VBAC. A VBAC is Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. I had a very traumatic cesarean with the twins, so I wanted nothing more than a perfect vaginal birth with this baby boy. With a VBAC, you run the risk of rupturing your uterus. It was our goal to go about things as naturally possible. When he decided he wasn’t ready to come, I started getting nervous. ‘Get your things and I’ll meet you at the hospital!,’ our doctor said to us. Steph and I looked at each other in shock. We weren’t expecting it to be today, but oh God, were we ready!
The plan was to break my water and start a small dose of Pitocin. My issue was dilating. It was a very intense, but short labor. 8 1/2 hours, to be exact. Not one second during that night did Steph leave my side. She was with me every second of the time we were in the hospital. Rubbing my back, making phone calls and answering them, talking to the nurses for me when I was in too much pain to talk. She was entirely perfect for me. There was not one moment when I was scared, all because I had her by my side. When it was time to push, I think she was more nervous than I was. His head started coming out and she could see his hair, so of course she had to tell me all about it. The whole time she was so calm and angelic about everything happening. She made me feel so entirely safe. When it came to the baby almost being all the way out, the doctors and nurses let me pull him out and put him on my chest. It was the most empowering moment of my life, and I got to experience it with my very best friend by my side.
He was finally here. October 21st, 2017. 2:47 a.m. Welcome to the world, Token Luka Curtis! The little boy we fought so hard for was finally in our arms, and man, were we in love! This was an overly emotional day for my family and myself. Not only did we have this new perfect baby boy to love, but he was born on my grandma’s birthday. The same grandma that had passed away just five short months before. To me, it was my grandma making sure we never forgot her. Of course we didn’t really need help, but now it’s just even more special. Every year, on Token’s birthday, we will light an extra candle just for her.
Over the years, our family has had many crazy, scary, happy, and exciting moments. Each one has taught us very important lessons, not only about life, but about each other as well. This summer Steph opened a new chapter to our lives and became a Wildland Firefighter. Never have I been more proud of this woman in my life. She risked her life to not only support our family, but to also save the lives of our people and our precious land. It was a very hard, yet rewarding summer for the Curtis Clan. Steph was out for two months fighting fires across Oregon and Idaho. Going from being with someone every single day for 3 1/2 years, to seeing them once every two weeks, IF you’re lucky…is a very strange feeling. Not only for just Steph and I, but for all three of our boys, as well. Every day was a new struggle, but every day we all proved to each other that we could do this, and we would get through this. A lot of sweat and tears went into making it work for the five of us, but we did it! In the end, our bond as a family has grown, and it’s been ever so amazing to see the love that we all have for one another continue to grow stronger every day. Together, or apart, we can accomplish anything, as long as we hold on to our love.
Since we’ve had Token, our family has grown so much stronger. Davin and Gauge have grown so much as individuals and as big brothers. Steph has learned so much more as a mother, and I’ve learned how to better parent with someone else. Token Luka means ‘Gift of Light’ and that truly is exactly what he is. Our gift of light. Seeing the three of our boys laugh and play together is the most incredible feeling I have ever had. My heart explodes for them. I always said that Steph was our missing piece, but once we met Token, we truly realized that he was the one that completed our family. I finally have the perfect, loving family that I’ve always wanted. Looking back, I can’t believe this is all mine. I’ve built such an amazing little tribe, and I love them each so very much! I am thankful for them each and every day. I could not have asked for anything more in life.
I’m sharing my story in hopes to inspire not just same sex couples, but couples in general. When it comes to simply loving, or going through trying to have a baby, things may not always be ideal, but finding your groove and what works for you and your partner is what’s most important. Love is kind. Love is strong. Love is patient, but love isn’t always so pretty. It may take time, but as long as you keep on pushing, things will work out. It may seem hard and incredibly frustrating at times, but as long as you give it your all, you’ll come out on top. Sometimes the end of the journey seems as though it will never be in sight, but it’s there. Waiting patiently, and silently cheering you on from the sidelines. Don’t ever give up hope. Fight for everything you know you want.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Saradawn Curtis of Vale, Oregon. Do you have a similar pregnancy journey? We’d love to hear your story. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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