In honor of Mother’s Day in England – March 10, 2013
I love babies. I’ve loved babies for as long as I can remember. There’s not much that will bring me to tears but tell me a story about a baby and I’ll more than likely become a blubbering mess, whether the story is happy or sad.
Now that my own children are past the tiny baby stage, I am able to look back on it for all the joy and delight that they brought me. Everything they say about birth – that you forget the pain – is true in all senses; the teething, the tantrums, the broken sleep. I’m still in that phase with our youngest, but knowing now that it will all be over in the blink of an eye helps me to take it a little more in stride. A few less hours sleep last night just meant that I got to cuddle his sweetness this afternoon while we napped together.
I met April Gebken at the park while our kids played. We have connected several times since then while the children burn off energy. It wasn’t long before we were sharing our baby stories. April’s moved me and her faith and strength inspired me. I asked her to share her story as she exudes such joy and hope which are not easy to attain, amidst pain and struggle, without a total leaning into the arms of God.
Here is April’s story:
I truly believe that we are able to determine our life’s purpose from an early age. We find out very quickly what our strengths, weakness and desires are. For me, all I wanted to be in life was a mother but my road to motherhood was not as easy as the movies make it appear.
I married my best friend, Richard and it wasn’t long before we were ready to start a family. Having genealogical problems since the age of 17 and six surgeries by the age of 25, we knew it might be a little more difficult for me to become pregnant. We were wonderfully surprised, after one easy infertility treatment. when we became pregnant. A healthy Conner John was born in February, 2007.
By the time Conner was about to turn two, we were ready to start the process again, expecting it to be as easy as the first. After 18 months and 7 infertility treatments later, we were still a family of three.
After many late night cries and sleepless nights, we decided that the only shot we had at becoming pregnant again was to try Invitro Fertilization; way more completed, expensive and emotional than the other fertility treatments I had done. After months of shots and 6 hour round trips to the infertility clinic, it was time to retrieve my eggs for fertilization. Based on the timing of my body, cycle, and medicine, the day to extract my eggs was my birthday, April 1.
Before I went into the procedure room, my doctor warned me that he was only expecting to retrieve three eggs. Tears rolled down my face.They were able to retrieved nine eggs but our joy was short lived as seven of the embryos died before transfer. The remaining two embryos were transferred but we found out on April 14, 2010 that my IVF had failed. My world came crashing down. I went into a state of depression that no one knew about but my husband. All I wanted was to be a mother and I couldn’t wrap my head around why it was so difficult for me.
At one of my lowest moments I decided to stop asking God for an answer or a sign. I just simply asked him to give me hope; something to keep me going. I did research daily on the internet on how to reverse my condition, Dimished Ovarian Reserve. I decided to try acupuncture and a DHEA supplement, knowing that this was no worse than what I had put in my body during the IVF process.
A couple of months went by and my grief was a little better. I was keeping busy with Conner and that was helping me realize how truly blessed I was. At the end of July, Conner was doing his end of the week Vacation Bible School performance. Of course as any mother, I took pictures. That night, I got home and started editing. When I saw one particular one, I got butterflies in my stomach. I hadn’t even noticed during the actual performance. But my son was holding a sign with the word hope on it. At that moment, peace washed over me.
The excitement wore off quickly as I experienced some bleeding. Since my husband had just left for China the week before, I sat in the sonogram room at the E.R. alone and scared. As the technician scanned the baby, I saw a heartbeat and I asked, “What is the due date?” Her response, “April 14.” I started to cry and laugh at the same time. I knew that date all too well. It was the day that I had found out my IVF failed. The technician grabbed my hand as I sobbed. My day marked for grief had become bittersweet as I was now preparing for the joy of new life.
Though Hudson Bauer was born on April 8, 2011, April 14 will forever represent hope to me. A couldn’t be happier with our family of four. God has blessed us beyond belief.
The nine embryos that we lost are very dear to me and I will always grieve for them. I remember their due date every year, and a piece of me, the mother part of me, longs to hold them; to know them. One day I will see them but for now I am a mother to my two wonderful, precious boys. God has granted me the desire of my heart, and in the process has drawn me ever closer to His heart. In becoming a mother, I have learned the great joy of experiencing hope and knowing that I am His daughter.
Submitted and written by April Gebken
Photos used with permission.