‘Unexplained infertility was our ‘diagnosis.’ Weeks later, we received a phone call from an expectant mom. ‘I’d like you to adopt my daughter.’: Couple battling infertility ‘shocked’ by pregnancy during adoption process

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“My husband and I sat in the high-risk pregnancy waiting room, my foot nervously tapping on the linoleum floor. I remember making some silly jokes under my breath to him as we both nervously laughed, a futile attempt to take our minds off of the reason behind our visit. I kept my head down, cradling my barely-there 10-week-old baby bump, noting the other women in the waiting room who were all visibly much farther along than I was. When it was our turn to be seen, my legs were shaking so badly it was difficult to walk. I clutched Jeremy’s arm to steady myself.

The exam room was cold and I slipped into my gown, my socked feet crossed loosely at my ankles. As we prepared for the doctor to come in for the ultrasound, I replayed the days, months, years that had brought us to this moment.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

It was at about the two-year mark in our journey for baby number two when we decided to see a fertility specialist. I think we put it off for so long because getting pregnant with our son, Cannon, had been so effortless. It was difficult to fathom anything could be wrong this time around.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley
Rebekah Richardson Photography

After receiving a diagnosis of ‘unexplained secondary infertility,’ we were left with the open-ended conclusion there was no explanation as to why we weren’t conceiving except, for some reason, we just weren’t. After completing three cycles of Clomid and three rounds of IUIs that all ended without a pregnancy, we were advised to pursue IVF.

We began the financially, physically, and emotionally grueling process of IVF. Our first round resulted in only one viable embryo, which we knew through testing was a baby girl. Although I was initially incredibly discouraged we had been left with only one embryo, I also believed that this was the baby God had intended for our family. We were already parents to a little boy and it was my dream to have a little girl. In my heart, I was confident that God was perfecting His story for our family, making beauty from ashes, and we would become parents to this little girl. We were overjoyed when our nurse called after our first appointment and exclaimed, ‘You’re pregnant!’

We lost our baby girl about a week after.

Months later, we went through a second round of IVF, this time resulting in two viable embryos. We transferred them both, with the hopes of having twins. We learned early on one embryo had implanted and the other had not. Despite our previous losses, we were still incredibly grateful and hopeful to become parents again. During those initial visits to our fertility clinic, I was terrified, holding my breath and just waiting for the bottom to fall out at any time. A few weeks into my pregnancy, our fertility doctor sent us to a specialist because he noted the baby was measuring smaller than he/she should have been at that stage in my pregnancy.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

I remember telling my husband that I knew something was wrong.

As I lay on the exam table and looked up at the screen, the doctor pointed to the baby and then drew a line tracing where the blood flow should be and where it very clearly wasn’t. He told me he was so sorry but our baby had passed away. I sobbed so deeply, it felt like it came from the pit of my stomach. I tried to catch my breath but I couldn’t. They escorted us out through a back door so I didn’t have to walk through a waiting room of pregnant women again. I was crying so forcefully no sound was coming out. I watched as my tears fell into pools at my feet. My husband and I sat in our parked car and cried.

It took some time for us to heal our hearts after losing our babies and undergoing such invasive and exhaustive treatments. We knew we wanted to be parents but we needed a break from the stress of all we’d been through. We decided to be intentional about our time and just enjoy our sweet little family of three. We took trips, went on adventures, and restored the joy we had lost during the past few years.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley
Courtesy of Justine Hundley

In the summer of 2018, my husband brought up adoption. It was something we had talked about many times before but the fear of loss and devastating disappointment like we had experienced left me selfishly crippled. We spoke at length about it. He was such a voice of encouragement in reminding me allowing fear to have the final say in any decision wasn’t how we lived our lives.

Rebekah Richardson Photography

From previous talks, we knew we wanted to pursue domestic infant adoption because we desired to have an open adoption with our child’s birth family. With hopeful (and nervous) hearts, we became an active waiting family in October of 2018.

A few weeks later, we received a phone call there was an expecting mother who wanted to speak with us. We had two phone calls with her and felt our hearts pulled towards this woman in a way we could have never imagined. We received a phone call right before Thanksgiving. She had chosen us to adopt her baby girl that was due in April.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas and prepared a nursery. There are many unknowns in adoption and so although our hearts were ready to become parents, we knew that our daughter’s birth mother could change her mind. If that was the case, we would have been honored to have loved her through whatever time we were given with her.

I began to feel sick at the end of December. I felt super discouraged because I had worked hard that year to restore my body after all of the havoc IVF wreaked on it. I was nauseous, weak, and fatigued beyond belief. I decided to take a pregnancy test. It was probably the 100th one I had taken at that point. I lay it to the side and left the room, knowing when I returned, I would see the same negative that I had seen for 5 years. Except I didn’t. It was positive. All five of them. My husband and I were shocked. After years of trying and almost a dozen failed fertility interventions, I was pregnant completely by surprise.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

On April 8th of 2019, our daughter, Baylor Grace, was welcomed into this world by her birth family and us. We finalized her adoption in August of that same year. A few weeks later, our other daughter, Kollyns Liv, was born.

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

I never dreamed in a million of my wildest dreams I would go from mama of one to mama of three and we would have two baby girls, less than 5 months apart. Our arms and hearts are beyond full these days and if I ever need a reminder that God is still in the business of miracles, I just look down at my two sweet daughters.”

Courtesy of Justine Hundley

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Justine Hundley. You can follow her 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.

See more stories about infertility and adoption here:

‘Thank you for taking a child in need.’ Without missing a beat, my husband replied, ‘We needed her more.’: After battling infertility, infant loss, failed adoption, couple adopt their ‘forever daughter’ from foster care

‘MOMMA?’ Wait WHAT?! I’d never been called that. ‘Sweetheart, he’s calling YOU.’ I turned around.’: Couple adopt son from foster care after grueling, 4-year infertility battle

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