“If you asked me a few years ago, I’d probably curl up in a ball and cry about how infertility has ruined my life. I let it crush me a time or two but without it I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am in this amazing life I am now blessed with. I’m here to tell you I’m here for you and we can get through this together.
I can honestly say if I had a choice I would choose infertility all over again because of where it has led me. I blame no one for my situation and absolutely would not trade the road I’ve traveled for anything. It is what it is, right? Nobody deserves to feel like a failure for things they cannot control. It may not be an easy road, but I promise you this: it WILL get better. If you’re struggling, I am here to tell you you are not alone, you are wonderful, you are perfect, and you are exactly who you were meant to be. We are all made differently, so we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and need to focus on the positives. We need to be thankful, grateful and feel blessed with the life we have been given. Most importantly, we need to start supporting each other.
So, there’s my little rant and here is where my story begins.
I was attending college in North Carolina and finishing up my junior year. I had one final presentation, and if you knew me at all, you would know I’m not one for public speaking (you can’t even imagine how stressed I was). As luck would have it, I lost my voice just 2 days before the grand finale. I run (literally) to the medical clinic on campus and was clearly desperate for a quick fix in order to get this presentation over with. The docs were certain I had mono and I kept thinking to myself, ‘I had mono in high school, I’m a pro at this, and there’s no way this is happening again’. Well, they weren’t buying into that and said I had to have a mono test regardless before they could treat me.
The next day I get an urgent call… The school clinic called me and frantically demanded for me to be at the local hospital ASAP for an ultrasound. I literally laughed and said, ‘I’m not pregnant, you must have called the wrong patient’. This is where the ‘God Thing’ came in because the nurses accidentally gave me a thyroid test instead of a mono test. Sure enough, they had the right patient and I was at the hospital within an hour for a neck ultrasound. Within a month I was in surgery. I had thyroid cancer, a full thyroidectomy, and a few bouts of radiation that summer and throughout the next year.
After my first surgery and the radiation, my body pretty much shut down the idea of being able to have children of my own. I didn’t know that last little detail at the time. So, I went on with my life and got married in 2016. Our biggest dream was to start a family. We had baby names picked out and planned our future around the children we had prayed for constantly.
As luck would have it, my cancer came back, followed by another surgery and more radiation. My husband was my rock the entire time and I can honestly say I would not have made it through without him. I was confident I would be ok with him by my side, but what worried me the most was I was failing him. He wanted to be a dad more than anything in the world, and all I was doing was slowing down the process.
So after trying, and trying, and trying some more, we started the process of going to fertility clinics, visiting doctor after doctor, and trying to prove them wrong when they all said I would be unable to carry a child of my own. That was probably the most devastating news we had ever received. My husband had all the testing done and he was completely perfect and normal. That’s when I really got down on myself for being a failure. I was unable to give my husband something he had longed for his whole life. I felt useless and worthless and would literally wake up every morning telling myself. It really took a toll on our marriage because I took everything out on myself and in turn started to push my husband away. He tried to console me but there was nothing he could do or say that would take the pain away at that time. I was hurting. As much as I felt like I was failing him, I would still lay in bed and pray we would be blessed with a baby. Little did we know, miracles were about to happen!
Fast forward through the infertility heartache, we decided to start the fostering process. We were halfway leaning towards a private adoption but I knew in my heart I was called to something greater. I had done my research and I learned about how many kids were in foster homes and how many kids were surrendered to group homes and weren’t getting the love they deserved. Why bring another child into this world when there are so many that were out there calling my name? Some may think it’s crazy with all of the uncertainty; considering you might have a child for a day, a month, a year, multiple years, or forever. There’s no guarantee. What I knew was I wanted to give love to a child that had never experienced it.
Luckily my husband agreed to go on this journey with me as he knew it was something I was really passionate about. Especially after everything we have been through. The process wasn’t easy but it is so worth it. We had all day Saturday classes, home inspections through the foster care program, DHEC inspections, inspections done by the fire department (we had to have an accurate layout of our house, measurements of every single window in our home, make sure all of the smoke detectors were connected and carbon monoxide detectors installed near every bedroom, etc.), background checks, drug tests, meetings with caseworkers and licensing workers, cribs and beds installed, all safety features including door pulls, outlet protectors and anything else you could possibly imagine to child-proof a house. It took us almost a year to finally get our license. We were literally tied to DSS and at their beckoning call. If they called and said, ‘Hey, we’ll be there in 20 minutes,’ you better believe you had to pack up your stuff from work and be there in 20 minutes!
We finally got our license after months and months of hard work and we were completely prepared to welcome an infant into our home. We were so excited to be first time parents and raise a tiny little baby as our own. I kid you not, less than an hour after we received notice we were officially licensed, I got a call. There was a 9-month-old girl that needed a placement ASAP. Considering we were only prepared for an infant, we would have a bit of work to do to the room we had so carefully prepared and decorated. This was terrifying! What would we do with a 9-month-old?? Then came the call to my husband, which was both the most exciting and terrifying call of my life. (We were both absolutely terrified). This whole process just became SO real! We could be parents within a few hours!
We both agreed to go on this journey together, so we said YES! When I called the caseworker back, she surprised me with a minor little detail – she comes with a 19-month-old sister. WHAT!!?? Talk about a shock! Going from no kids to 2 under 2 in 1 day?! What on earth were we getting ourselves into?! My husband and I had a very long talk about what it would be like with 2 kids, a dog, a cat, and jobs we have to maintain. We were very close to saying no. To be honest, I feel like we were both trying to convince the other to say no, but neither of us caved because it was clearly in our hearts this was what we were meant to do and we both knew we already loved and cared for these two girls. We knew nothing about them, yet we loved them already.
The best day of my life was the day these two precious angels graced us with their presence. They never cease to fail us in teaching us how to love harder, grow stronger, and be better people. Saying we are blessed would be an understatement. That being said, I’m not going to lie… the second they stepped foot into our home, my husband and I looked at each other with this look like, ‘WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? Yet, we wouldn’t trade these memories for the world. The girls were very hesitant for the first few days to speak or even look at us, but soon enough, they became part of the family as if they had been ours forever. I’ll never forget the first night – I rushed out and bought new diapers their sizes, a guard rail for the daybed, clothes to fit them (because we had no clue what they would show up with), new sippy cups, and just enough food to get us by for a few days considering I had no clue what they would eat or not eat.
The craziest and coolest part of the whole journey is they have brought our family closer than ever. Our marriage has flourished, and I can honestly say I value and look up to my husband more than ever for stepping in and becoming the father he didn’t have to be. He’s been the best dad to these two little girls and I enjoy every second of watching him with them.
The main point I want to get across is there is ALWAYS a rainbow at the end of the tunnel. Let’s all be here for one another whether we’re battling something similar or something completely different. Everyone is struggling with something, whether it be publicly known or not. Some may seem harder than others from the outside, but every struggle is real. I’m here to tell you to keep on going because I PROMISE you, there is good that comes from every heartache.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chelsea Daniels, Greenville, SC. 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, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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