Where it all began!
I want to start this journey back 10 years ago. The year 2007 when my high school sweetheart and I got married on the beautiful Oregon coast 20 feet away from the rippling waves. What a beautiful and magical start to a marriage. Surrounded by just 50 members of our closest family and friends. Such joy, happiness, hope, dreams, aspirations. The feeling of new, a vision for the future. It was truly a magical experience! The beach still holds a special place in our hearts every time we visit.
We had it all planned out just like many newlyweds do. We would both have strong and fruitful careers, we would buy a home together and start that large family we so strongly desired to create. We always said we wanted many children. There was debate between the two of us as to how many was the right fit for us. Kevin always said 5 was the right number. I wanted a overzealous 6 or 7! One of our dear college friends used to call us, “Shereen and Kevin plus 11” She thought we were meant to have a large brood. We had these strong feelings that family was an important network. We both come from a family with just one sibling and had always longed to have more siblings when we were growing up. We wanted to create what we felt we had missed. We dreamed of the future when all of our kids had children and we could have large family gatherings. The chaos and love involved. It was all dreamy, truth be told. Literally more than figuratively it turned out.
Shortly after we were married we realized having children was perhaps not as easy of an adventure as we envisioned. We struggled to conceive. While I have heard stories far more drastic than ours I can attest that the desire to want children no matter the length of wait or previous children involved, it is difficult. It is down right heart wrenching. My heart goes out to all the couples that have experienced infertility in any way or length of time. It is confusing and it does not seem fair. We went to a fertility specialist, we tried acupuncture, we tried fertility drugs, we tried all the tricks we heard or read, we tried taking a break from thinking about all of it. It’s hard to be patient with a life event like this. When you have a strong desire to have a child you want it to just happen accordingly. Our last fertility appointment we had talked about scheduling an IUI. I was on my last round of fertility medicine. About to start feeling really overwhelmed with hope! Then it happened, the moment we hoped for, dreamed of and desperately wanted to happen. I was pregnant!!! With all the previous concern it didn’t feel we were out of the waters just yet. We had to stay pregnant too. However, the moment of bliss seemed to feel like the most exciting high pressure moment in our lives. Something worked! Was it fate? Did the pillow under my low back for 30 minutes after intercourse finally work? Was it the fertility drugs? Was it just meant to be? All of the above we later decided. I went to the doctor weekly for blood tests to insure all the levels were rising how they should. I had multiple ultrasounds to verify implantation. Everything was testing according to plan. We were very excited, as were everyone around us that witnessed the struggle to come to this point. It was such an exciting time in our life, and so hard to achieve there was no way I could tell anyone I had an instant gut feeling, something was just not right. Something about this baby was different. Everything tested just fine though, it must have just been nerves, I would assure myself. I would pray daily that the baby would be healthy, and I would always add to my prayer, if something has to be wrong with this baby please let it be something we can overcome, something to inspire the world with. I have no idea why else I had these thoughts other than mothers’ intuition. This would later prove to be a very important gut feeling I am thankful everyday I didn’t ignore!
The pregnancy continued on to be exactly how it started. The doctor continued to do all the tests. The tests all came back normal. It was reasonable to assume we had a healthy, typical and normal child brewing in the belly. I just kept that gut feeling to myself assuring myself it was just the journey of learning motherhood. Towards the end of my pregnancy around 32 weeks I started to have high blood pressure at my appointments. Not too high, not high enough to need to induce labor at that point, but out of my own normal range for sure. Perhaps it was just diet, or I needed to rest more. The baby continued to pass all of her tests. I laid low. I was so thankful at this point to have a career with such a supportive group of ladies around me. Always looking out for my stress levels and helping me to create a calm balance for baby and I. I still think to this day that since these ladies saw and heard every detail. I know they look at our miracle today with the same astonishment as my husband and I. Around 35 weeks my blood pressure started to be more consistently in the super high range. I was then put onto bed rest to hopefully reduce the blood pressure. We scheduled an induction for exactly 37 weeks gestation just to end all the suspicions and fears that continued. I want to add that during the pregnancy and all these tests I do believe my OB was under the same question as myself that something seemed different or off from typical. However, with all the tests coming back normal she had no to reason to change the care of the pregnancy. It was very important to me to have a vaginal delivery. Knowing we wanted a large family I did not want that to be a concern in the future. As for pain management I didn’t want to use any, but felt I would make the call in delivery. I had read so many books preparing us to this point. I felt confident we would all make it through with confidence, strength and a good flexible plan.
The next part of the journey was the arrival of our miracle. The moment in time, our lives, goals and dreams all made huge shifts. We were and still are forced to write our story all over again. For we have been gifted one of the most precious souls in the world. We remind ourselves daily how lucky we are for it to have all come to this point. For she chose us, her soul chose us to be her parents. For that we are a million times over and over again, thankful.