Columbia SC Moms Blog is bringing you its latest series titled “How I Became a Mother” in honor of Mother’s Day. Each of us has experienced a unique journey into motherhood. Some of us have struggled with infertility while others have relied on faith and science. Some started their families early, while others didn’t begin until “advanced maternal age.” Some joined motherhood through stepchildren and others have dealt with adoption. Bringing a child into this world is miraculous regardless of how it’s done. Over the next several days, we want to share with you the stories of how we became mothers, to let you know that no two families are born the same. Join us on this journey as we celebrate moms!
How I Became a Mother ::
Life’s Little “Coincidences”
In August of 2008, I was scheduled to undergo my third laparoscopy to remove endometriosis growth, which had attached itself to my stomach and intestines and was causing me to feel ill. I figured I would be lonely and need someone to talk to while I recovered, so I put up an ad on the Craigslist personals section.
I exchanged emails with a guy who sounded too good to be true. He had a bachelor’s of science degree in physics and he sang in an a capella group. The night before my surgery, he sent me an instant message and apologized for getting back to me so late that night. He told me he had been at rehearsal for a community theater production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” That was my favorite musical.
I felt there was some greater power at work in my life, and I went to sleep.
The next day, my surgery was performed. As I was waking up in the recovery room, I heard the doctor dictating into her tape recorder. She said, “Miss Austin had extensive endometrial growth and scar tissue from two prior surgeries to remove. She is likely sterile.”
I was devastated. I had always wanted a large family.
A few days into my recovery, I went to see this mystery man, whose name I learned was Jonathan, in the production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” If you had asked me beforehand if I believed in “love at first sight,” I would have told you there was no such thing. But then I saw him, and he started smiling. I was smitten. This is the same goofy grin he gave each of our children when he saw them for the first time.
After a year of dating, we bought a house and became engaged. I shared with him my fears of infertility. Although he said he did not want children until he was 30 (his parents and grandparents were 30 when they had kids), I stressed the importance of my biological clock. My theory was we should start trying to have children on our honeymoon in case my doctor really was right. Then at least we would have time to try naturally, and if that didn’t work, try fertility treatments and finally adoption.
We came up with a plan.
I was 26 when we married. We planned to try to conceive naturally until I turned 30. At that point, if we did not have any children, we would seek the counsel of a fertility specialist. If, by the time I was 35, we still had not been blessed with children, then we would seek to adopt.
All this time, Jonathan kept saying he wanted “at least one biological kid,” and I worried what would happen if I could not produce one for him.
Our wedding day finally arrived. I didn’t realize when we chose the date it was Mother’s Day weekend. As you can imagine, the topic of “mothering” was on everyone’s mind.
The pastor who performed our ceremony spoke about how I had volunteered in the church nursery on Sundays, and how he knew I would be an amazing mom and that we would have a beautiful family. My new brother-in-law had prepared a best man’s speech that quoted Stephen Colbert’s philosophies on what it means to be a parent, and referenced “lil’ reggio” repeatedly.
I never wanted to punch someone as much as I did when he read that speech.
I kept a smile on my face, but I was dying inside. “What if the doctor was right? What if I can’t have kids on my own?” kept running through my head.
A month later, I was at a bridal boutique with one of my bridesmaids trying on dresses to wear at her wedding. I felt absolutely awful. I was overcome with nausea, and I felt like I was going to pass out. I thought it was the endometriosis growing back, and I was devastated.
My friend pleaded with me, “Please take a pregnancy test. You never got me an engagement present!” To make her happy, I called my husband and asked him to pick some EPT tests up at the store, but didn’t think there was a possibility I was pregnant. When I got home, I saw he bought a two pack.
I knew that the morning was the best time to test, but I really had to use the bathroom, so I decided to use one of the tests then, at three o’clock in the afternoon, and then retest in the morning.
Well, I didn’t need to retest the next morning: Within 30 seconds, there were two dark pink lines! I did not believe it! To be sure, I used the second test and had the same result.
As I started thinking about the life growing inside of me, I wondered when I could have gotten pregnant. I was unaware at the time that the first day of your last cycle is the date the doctors use to calculate your due date … which happened to be the day before our wedding … and Mother’s Day weekend.
Was it another sign?
My daughter, Lucie Elizabeth, is now 2 years old. We named her for my friend, Lucie Evens, who passed away almost exactly one year prior to my daughter’s birth. In my last conversation with Lucie Evens, she had told me she knew I would be able to have kids, and that my doctor must have been mistaken.
Were those just the words of reassurance a friend tells you, or did she know something I didn’t?
I recently became a mother for the second time to our son, Asher Robert. We chose his first name from one of Jacob’s sons in the show Jonathan performed in on our first date, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Asher means “happy,” and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams was playing on the radio every time we were in the car the night before he was born and on our way to the hospital the morning of his birth. That song was able to help me through the first eleven days of his life, which he spent in the NICU.
I am extremely blessed to be married to the man of my dreams and the mother of two beautiful children.
Life’s little “coincidences” are the best.