“It’s awesome; it’s the best, it’s the one thing I knew I wanted to be when I grew up.”
That’s what Jeannette says about becoming a mother, but fulfilling her dreams of motherhood did not come easy.
Four Long Years
Jeannette and her husband had been married for about a year when they decided to start their family. Months passed, then years without success. Staying positive became more and more difficult. She was being told by her doctors that nothing was wrong, and yet nothing was right either.
There were social situations that became overwhelming for her, seeing a little boy drinking hot chocolate, conversations with other couples that centered around their children, watching groups of children play, dance and have fun together. She was happy for her friends with families, but couldn’t understand why she was unable to conceive.
“You just didn’t know; there were some days I could handle it, other days I couldn’t.”
To complicate things even more, Jeannette’s husband was a slope worker, two weeks on and two weeks off. She recalls having mixed feelings when he would leave for work – sad to see him go, but when he was gone the pressure to conceive was relieved.
They tried for four long years to get pregnant naturally.
It was time to look at other options.
The options presented by the experts included medication, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and adoption.
“Everyone is different, for us, I had to try everything before IVF, and I wanted to try IVF before adoption. I had nothing against adoption, but I wanted to give my body the opportunity, work with the healthcare professionals, and get an answer on what it could be, but we never really got that,” Jeannette tried to remain positive throughout the process.
The Big Gamble
After much thought, the couple decided to work with an IVF expert based in Las Vegas. Before heading to Sin City, Jeannette had to spend two months taking hormone medication which she describes as, “No picnic.”
Finally, they headed south. The procedure went well, and after a couple of days rest, they returned home to Eagle River and waited.
They did not have to wait long. About a week after returning home, Jeannette had a strong feeling she was pregnant. She had volunteered at a fundraising event and became extremely thirsty.
“There was no reason for me to feel that way. Plus, I was really distracted by my body and this new feeling I was having, I just didn’t feel like myself. Then I got this overwhelming feeling of excitement. I felt this could be it, my first sign,” Jeannette recalled.
After ten stressful days of waiting and two blood tests, the report came back. They were pregnant! The IVF worked! She immediately called her husband to share the big news.
Big news, times two
The first ultrasound came approximately six weeks later. Jeannette’s sister-in-law accompanied the couple to the doctor’s office. She was videoing when the doctor gave them the news – Jeannette was not only pregnant, but they were expecting twins!
Emotion fills Jeannette’s voice as she remembers, “It was so gratifying, all that work, and tears. Prayers were answered, it was finally happening.”
Patience & peace
Jeannette’s pregnancy went well with no complications. Coen and Van are now 16 months old, healthy, and happy.
Looking back, she feels that having gone through this experience has made her appreciate being a mother that much more.
“Patience is my life’s lesson,” she says.
With tears welling, Jeannette shared, “I wanted peace in my heart for whatever was meant to be. I had no control over what was going to happen, how it was going to happen… anything. All I wanted was just peace in my heart to accept whatever that was going to be.”
What she wanted and prayed for was peace.
Jeannette knows she would not have made it through all the ups and downs of hope dashed by disappointment without her family.
Her husband adds, “It was a struggle mentally, we tried to separate it so it wasn’t the focal point of our whole day. With all the disappointments we had, you could find yourself in a really dark place. The whole point of wanting to have a family is to be happy. I felt I had to be the distractor, something different for her. Someone she could rely on, being stable and consistent. If both of us were in this up and down flux, it would be really hard.”
Jeannette hopes telling her story could help other couples who are faced with the same situation. She wants them to have hope.
When asked what advice Jeannette would give to others, she thoughtfully shared that everyone is different.
“What got me through was having my family, good friends and a sense of humor.” She also added that if you have a friend or family member going through fertility issues, “just be there for them, avoid giving advice or telling them to just relax.”
“When I look back, I can see the big picture and how I have grown from this experience. Now I am happily outnumbered by the men in my life, even the dogs are boys,” she laughed.
Ed. note: To protect his family’s privacy, Jeannette’s husband requested their family name not be used in this story.
Daniel Shepard is a freelance photojournalist and regular contributor for the ECHO. He lives and owns a photography business in Eagle River. To learn more about Dan Shepard Photography, visit dan-shepardphotography.com. To reach Dan, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.