“My journey started at a young age. At the age of 14, I was rushed to the emergency room to find I had a softball-sized cyst on my right ovary and another small one on my left. I was told I suffered from PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). I was told, at this precious age, it would be very difficult for me to ever conceive a child on my own. I also struggled for years with debilitating pain during my cycles, pain that would take 10 more years to be diagnosed as endometriosis. I struggled with these things mentally and emotionally. I was raised in a culture where I was taught, as a woman, my purpose was to have children.
I felt so much pain for my future self and my future husband that it would be unlikely for me to be able to have children on my own. Well, in April of 2008, I reconnected with an amazing friend from high school and we were married a year later on April 16, 2009. My husband, Kurt, is my best friend and my rock. He has stood by my side through this whole journey with nothing but love, grace, and patience. He is the most incredible man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. After getting married, we had many conversations about what it would be like for us to start a family. In January of 2010, we decided, after only 10 months of being married, to consult with a fertility specialist to get a good start. We did all the TTC (trying to conceive) things. No prevention, tracked my temperature, used ovulation tests, etc. We tried six rounds of Clomid, I was taking progesterone and Femara.
After 1.5 years of extremely invasive infertility treatments, two surgeries for my later-diagnosed endometriosis, and ZERO success, our doctor pulled us in and said, ‘Your body is just not responding, and we need to start exploring other options.’ He explained even with all the medical intervention, my body would not ovulate. We were basically given the option to next try IVF, but with only a 5% chance it would work for us. Mentally, at this point, I was not okay. Not only was I pumped full of all these insane hormones monthly, but I was so unbelievably heartbroken. All I wanted in life was to be a mother. I would cry for hours on end, having unbearable panic attacks. I remember one night it was so bad, I sat on the floor in the shower, fully clothed, with the shower pouring ice-cold water just trying to numb the pain. I felt total despair as if I was a failure as a wife and a woman on this earth. I felt like I couldn’t accomplish the one thing a woman was meant to do… have children. I couldn’t attend baby showers, Mother’s Day events, or anything where children were going to be, or I would break.
After lots of time to reflect, working on strengthening our marriage, and many conversations, we felt led to adoption. We started to attend classes, training, and open forums where all members of the adoption triad would attend and tell their stories. After listening, we decided the only way for us to make adoption successful in our lives would be to have an open adoption. We wanted everyone involved! We had our adoption profile published on November 15, 2011. We were chosen for the first time in January of 2012. Our expectant mom was just 5 months pregnant at the time, so we had lots of time to prepare. We went to every doctor’s appointment with her and got together often. She had a scheduled c-section on July 31 (Kurt’s birthday, oddly enough), and she asked that both Kurt and I be in the delivery room with her!
We watched this beautiful boy come into this world… it was incredible. I was the first to hold him, and we spent those 3 days in the hospital loving on that sweet little angel. We left the night before papers were to be signed to go to a family celebration. While at the dinner table, in front of all our friends and family, we received the worst call of our entire lives. She decided to parent. The sweet boy I had grown to love and call my own was gone, just like that. We were ruined. I cried for days without stopping. I didn’t know if I would ever be the same. We couldn’t even go home. There was a nursery all set up ready to go for a baby who was no longer in my arms. We stayed with Kurt’s parents for a few days until the family cleaned up his room and locked everything inside. Only a week later, with some hesitation on my side, we had our profile published again.
On Halloween of 2012, we received a call from a family friend saying she had an expectant mother who wanted to meet with us. We met that night and she had told us she was in an abusive relationship and had decided to place her son with us! We were elated. She was also just 5 months along and was due at the end of February of 2013. We went through the process again and we grew an INCREDIBLE relationship with this sweet woman. The time came and our sweet boy was here. She texted us a picture and said it was time to come and meet our son! We rushed to the hospital as quickly as we could. We had found out shortly before his birth father decided to petition for parental rights. We knew this could be a long battle, however, due to the circumstances, we were ready for it. We left the hospital with the sweet baby boy in tow, and legal guardianship and temporary custody over him.
The first night at home was SLEEPLESS, to say the least. We couldn’t keep our eyes off him. The next morning, we, once again, received that devastating call. She told us she couldn’t go through with it and decided she was going to parent him. As devastated as we were, we knew our child was still out there waiting for us. So back online we went! We continued the process of working on US! We knew if we were prepared, IT WOULD HAPPEN! I remember lying in bed one night, crying as usual, and making the conscious decision right then and there enough was enough. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and it was time to be happy, no matter the outcome. I had an incredible man by my side, and no one could stop us! I leaned over, grabbed the giant glass of water I had on the nightstand, and poured it all over Kurt. This started the most epic, indoor 1:00 a.m. water fight of all time! It was times like this that reminded me I was going to be okay. I got an incredible new job, and Kurt and I were able to move into our dream home!
On Father’s Day of 2013, we received THE CALL! It was different this time. This woman answered the phone and asked if she was speaking with me. I told her, yes, and she very casually just started talking about ‘OUR SON.’ This was our FIRST time talking. It was just like she had no doubt, no reservation in her voice at all. She had made her decision and was concrete in it! This time, from the very beginning, just felt easier. We met Mama Sarrina just a few days later and grew to LOVE her very quickly. She told us all about her life, her other children, and her hopes for her SON! Yes, you read that right! Third time’s the charm! We were really meant to have a boy, I guess. She wasn’t due for another few months but 7 weeks early, she was admitted to the hospital for heavy bleeding caused by placenta previa.
They tried keeping him cooking as long as possible, but on the night of July 6, 2013, they decided they needed to do an emergency C-section. At the last minute, Sarrina asked if I would WANT to be in there with her! Kurt anxiously awaited while we went back. He was delivered at 7:57 p.m. but was NOT breathing. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck so many times it had been cutting off his oxygen and he was bright blue. I was terrified and Sarrina started crying, asking why he wasn’t crying. After the longest 1 minute and 27 seconds of my life… a cry! Our miracle baby weighed a mighty 4 pounds, 8 ounces, and was just 16.5 inches long. He was on oxygen for the first 18 hours, but besides this, he was PERFECT! This time was so different. She allowed me to stay at the hospital the entire time, she wanted our family to come and visit, and she was so positive through the whole thing.
The time came for her to sign… how could you not be nervous? Our caseworker came back out and told us to come and hold OUR SON, Jax Reed Cline! It finally happened! He was ours! I don’t say ours as in mine and Kurt’s. I say ours as in we now have this HUGE family. Jax has TWO loving mothers and TWO fathers, and 14 brothers and sisters and lots of grandparents… this huge extended family was MEANT TO BE! We get together with his birth family regularly and they even stay at our house. Jax loves his birth family so much and we are so grateful to have the relationship with them that we do. Open adoption isn’t always easy, but it is so worth it. Seeing his birth family’s eyes light up every time they see and hug him makes everything worth it! The love between all of them is incredible.
After adopting Jax, we had the hard choice to make of whether to adopt again or to be done. Kurt and I always wanted four children. After lots of therapy, reflection on past events, and lots of 1:00 a.m. conversations, we decided we would stay a family of three. We started focusing on making the most of what we had and choosing happiness above all else. At the time, my husband and I were both extremely overweight and we made the decision, in order to provide the best life possible for Jax, to focus on our health. We both made the decision, in 2019, to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Within months, Kurt and I both lost over 100 pounds. I had some pretty severe health issues, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic migraines, arthritis, PCOS, endometriosis, etc. Within 3 months after weight loss surgery, they were ALL under control! I had my life back.
One major thing that changed for me was suddenly, my cycles regulated and were completely normal. I didn’t think twice about it in the moment. I never even thought about using any type of protection, because in 10 years of marriage I never had to worry about it! Well… in February of 2020, I had a few nights in a row where I wasn’t quite feeling like myself. I felt queasy and my heart sank. I realized I was 2 weeks late. I didn’t say a word to Kurt, I was terrified. On my way home from work, I stopped at the store and grabbed a pregnancy test. I walked in the door and Kurt immediately could tell there was something wrong. He asked what was going on and I told him I was late. His eyes got wide. We walked upstairs together. I have taken literally hundreds of pregnancy tests in the past… I have never seen a positive, EVER. Something felt different this time.
I was scared and shaking. I made sure to buy the tests that specifically said pregnant or not pregnant, so there wouldn’t be any doubt. I took it out of the bathroom to sit and wait the 5 minutes it tells you to. However, Kurt caught a glimpse, and after only 30 seconds, the results were already in. February 24, 2020, our lives changed forever. PREGNANT. The one word we never in a million years thought we would see. After trying for over 10 years, it was happening! I was pregnant. In this moment, I was overwhelmed with emotions. It had taken me years to move past my infertility and to get a grip on my mental health. I was scared. I was scared my body couldn’t handle being pregnant. I was scared that emotionally I couldn’t handle it. At the same time, I was excited, overjoyed, and happy! Kurt and I both sat there, on the floor of our bedroom, crying. This wasn’t real. I took several more tests, all turning positive within just seconds!
We waited about a week or so to tell Jax and he was over the moon. He said from the beginning he wanted a sister! Telling our families was like a dream. Our infertility was something everyone in our families had become so invested in. There were lots of happy tears and disbelief. Pregnancy was hard but so worth it! We found out we were having a girl and decided to name her Piper Scott Cline. I went into labor around 11:00 p.m. on October 20, 2020, and Piper girl was born at 11:56 a.m. on October 21, 2020, weighing 8 pounds and 7 ounces, and 22 inches! I was finally able to accomplish something I had wanted my entire life… I brought life into this world! She is perfect and exactly what we didn’t know we needed. She has changed our lives forever, and for the better. She is the piece we didn’t know was missing.
Jax and Piper are already the best of friends. The love we feel for the both of them is no different, they are both ours! We are now a complete family and we can’t wait to see where life takes the four of us! If you are struggling with infertility, all I can say is I am sorry. The biggest piece of advice I will offer is this… focus on YOU. It took me years and years to realize I was never going to be truly happy with or without children, without putting myself first. Make YOU a priority. Meditate, take a hot bath, drink a glass of wine, eat the chocolate, read something that makes you laugh and makes you think, travel, explore nature, and LOVE yourself. Once you can do this, then you can face anything that comes your way.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Shaileen Cline of South Jordan, Utah. You can follow Shaileen’s journey on Instagram here, and Kurt’s here. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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