Now that our not-so-little Hannah Joy is one year old, I would like to admit something to the world.
The first thing that crossed my mind when they pulled her from my womb and announced, "Congratulations! It's a toddler" were the following five words:
Our very unconventional path to parenthood had been filled with experiences out of the realm of "normal." Included on that list are the following very non-normal facts:
- I found out I was six weeks pregnant when my son was eight weeks old.
- Our youngest child was conceived before her three older brothers and sisters.
- I have sons born less than nine months apart -- something not humanly possible.
- I received a call that my son had been born -- while stuck on a highway in traffic.
I could go on, but I'll leave it at that.
Those four bullets are enough to make my point.
Parenthood didn't come easy for us.
It didn't come in a normal way for us.
I mean, how many mothers can actually say that the first thing they thought when their baby was born was, "What if she's not mine?"
Probably not a ton.
But if your baby is conceived outside your body and then a physician puts that child inside your body, there is, in the back of your mind, a thought, that that fertilized embryo placed inside you may not actually be yours.
(I'd like to meet an IVF mom who hasn't thought it.)
So that thought is already somewhere in the back of my mind when a child is born that appears to look nothing like me. Nothing like my husband. Nothing like us.
- She has a full head of fair -- nothing like my previous children.
- Her hair appears to be jet black. I am a blonde. My husband has brown hair. (I mean, I am 100% Dutch! And they aren't really known for their dark hair!)
- The hair makes her looks sort of Asian or Hispanic. She truly does not look like any of her brothers or sisters at birth.
As they wheeled me to recovery, my husband headed with the baby to the nursery. There, his parents met him on the other side of the glass. There were two babies in the nursery at that time, and when he pointed at Hannah, they laughed and made a motion as if to say, "Very funny. Hold up the real one."
JB said he had to convince them fairly vehemently that this was not a joke. Hannah, was really, well, Hannah.
When I was stable enough to go back to my room, JB met me there with Hannah. As I held her, I expressed to my husband my concerns. He concurred, and I remember feeling a huge sense of relief to know that there wasn't something wrong with me for thinking that this child might not be mine. My husband is a doctor and quite educated. If he is thinking it, then I'm not completely crazy for having the thought go through my mind.
"What if it's the wrong embryo?" I asked JB.
"I've thought that," he replied.
And then my brilliant husband did something that put our mind completely at ease.
He put a hat on her baby.
And as disturbing as it may sound, this picture below was all the confirmation I needed.
In that photo, Hannah looked just like my brother.
(That's the disturbing part.)
Now obviously, as an adoptive parent, a child being genetically related to me is relatively unimportant. I don't need blood to love. However, since the child was coming from inside of me, it was sort of important that she didn't actually accidentally belong to some other couple somewhere.
As time went on, Hannah continued to sport a fairly non-Dutch like appearance. Here she is at nearly two weeks old with her newly acquired passport:
But now, well, all doubt has, obviously been erased. This chick is 100% the correct embryo. And I am 100% absolutely in love with her. (And so is her Dad!)
We love you Hannah Joy. Thanks for waiting so patiently in a frozen state for eight years to join our family. We spent a lot of money and tried for a VERY long time with all those embryos, and to see just one of them alive and walking around is truly such an amazing gift.
You will always be our little girl!