by Jennifer Handford
For me, being a mother was a need not a want and I reached for it as surely as a plant leans toward sunlight. If I couldn’t get there, I would wither. So when the first six months of marriage went by and still there was no pink line on the pregnancy test, I started to panic. My doctor assured me that it takes time; that I couldn’t be labeled as having “infertility issues” until a year had passed. Kind of like a missing persons report—one could not be filed for 24 hours. A year did pass. By then, my coveted pregnancy was definitely a missing person.
My doctor suspected that there was scar tissue. In the O.R. he used his lasers to clean up my messy internal parts. As I came through the sedation, I remember clearly him saying, “Now you’ll get pregnant.” Another year passed, and still, nothing.
I was now fueled with the panic of a mad scientist. Each morning I held the thermometer under my tongue—charting and divining the elusive temperature rise, the indication of impending ovulation. Next came the drugs—Clomid to enhance egg stimulation. Then the voodoo—Robitussin to thin the cervical fluid. Then the superstition—stuffing pillows under my bottom just in case a hundred million sperm couldn’t find their way. Then the assists—multiple months of IUI – insemination via turkey baster. Then the promises—I’ll be the best mother. Then the prayers—Please God, just one.
“Let’s adopt,” my weary husband suggested. Together we looked on-line: domestic, Russian, Chinese. We were drawn to China. The girls were healthy, for the most part. The girls were abandoned, providing a clean break. It felt right. It fit. It took me no time at all to fall in love with an entire society of abandoned baby girls. I learned quickly that love transcended international waters; that loving a child had nothing to do with pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Months passed and now we were getting close. Our application had been approved. Soon we would be matched up with a baby. Travel would follow, only weeks later. My excitement was palpable, a super-charged layer of electricity buzzing around me.
I sat at my desk, looked at my calendar, and contemplated our travel date. Then I saw it: my “red spot” dotted on a square four days ago. My period was late. And my period was never late. My feelings faced off: my lifetime of want versus the plan I now embraced.
In the bathroom I pulled the pregnancy test stick from the foil pouch. You’re not—you are—I don’t want to be—yes you do. While my emotions battled it out, a pink line emerged. For the first time in three years of trying, I was pregnant.
At this point, Jennifer and her husband had not yet been matched up with a baby in China, so they put their adoption on hold until their biological child was born. Immediately following, they hopped back in line and completed the adoption. Their two daughters—the most “un-identical twins” are only 3 weeks apart in age.
by Jennifer Handford