A year ago today, my nephew, Ryan, was born. I was praying for a woman at church not too long ago. Her daughter is experiencing infertility, and the mother was heartbroken and helpless. I told her after we prayed that babies born after a war with infertility are that much more fun to celebrate. Each birthday is a moment to remember the longing and prayers that were answered.
My sister called me in March 2014. Stephen and I had taken our older kids to Washington, D.C.. Connie was actually watching a couple of our kids for the weekend. She called mid morning and she said, "Melissa, are the kids around you?" I knew then that something was up because she didn't want me to have a reaction that the kids would question me about.
She had taken a pregnancy test that morning. They were about to start their third fresh IVF cycle, and she was required to verify that she wasn't pregnant before she begin taking medicine.
She has an older son, Gabriel, who was born in 2004, but then she just didn't get pregnant again. By the fall of 2009, they had decided that IVF would be the only way to have more kids. IVF has brought them expense and heartbreak and ultimately, two heathy twins. Connie had always wanted a big family and so they were going to go through it again. She begrudgingly took this formality of a test, and to her great surprise, it was positive.
She called me and we sat there shocked, and she told me she couldn't believe it until he was here. But he is here, and he has big cheeks and white blond hair and he waves and he is an expert crawler.
When I think about Ryan turning one, I remember the day my sister called me to tell me that two of the triplets she became pregnant with on their first round of IVF had twin to twin syndrome. I remember how devastated Connie was and how I tried to convince her it wasn't hopeless. I remember the moment she called me to tell me she had delivered all of them and they hadn't survived. I fell to the floor in my bedroom. I cried all day long. I also remember the day in August just five months later when I delivered my healthy daughter, my fourth child. Connie showed up that morning and gave Maggie her first bath on the bathroom floor.
I remember her being on bed rest with her twins and only being able to go upstairs once a week to shower. I remember Connie wishing she could just have kept Eowyn and Tessa in utero just a few more weeks because each day benefits their brain and organ developement. I remember so many conversations with her wrestling with whether she should do it again, the money and the timing and the implications for her and the baby's health.