Simple life changes can seem monumental.
We have had quite a few ups and downs and the best way we know how, we try to maintain steady.
Our youngest lost her first, whiter than white, tooth and I have been in a tail spin ever since. Her age of innocence giving way to the right of passage of growing up, one pearly white at a time.
She was overjoyed from the first wiggle. Teasing it everyday. Hoping against all hope that it would fall out soon – so she could securely tuck it under her pillow case with a note. A note about how long she has “waited” for this moment. Coupled with a thank you and promises that she will maintain all her teeth the same way.
That precious smile, now exaggerated cuteness, with the hole front in center, almost never came to be.
Don and I struggled with fertility for 4 years after the birth of our eldest.
In Vitro Fertilization and Parkinsons are two words that are rarely combined. In the later part of my 30’s we were dealing with both issues. After being gifted a child and realizing we could maybe do this “parenting” thing, we attempted for another. We tried…insert failure…. and tried…..insert disappointment ….. and tried…..insert grief……and tried….insert devastation. What was wrong with us (really) me? How could I be a failure at something that we waited for the “right” time to happen? Immediately I learned the true meaning of the gift. After four late stage miscarriages we dove in to the science of baby making. Being Catholic, this was something we never discussed. My sweet mother, by all terms, gold medaled in the olympics of childbirth. She conceived 12 children. So how could I struggle?
The science of it all wasn’t quite adding up either. In the midst of our third attempt at IVF, we sat in a neurologist office, just after a reproductive appointment, and heard, for the first time, the word Parkinson’s. Don stopped in his tracks, understandably, immediately questioned the doctor about having another child. His quote was “You have to believe there will be a cure in your lifetime. If it were me, I would still try”. That cycle failed- we heard, screaming louder than ever, the words again. “I am sorry you’re not pregnant.”
You would think that would have been game, set match. Most people said to take joy in the family we already had and count our blessings. BUT something so powerful propelled us to keep pushing forward. Most would believe that some higher being was trying to tell us something. Given our new challenge, progression of the disease and future uncertain, we thought… no. Really, truth be told, we thought ……hell NO! We will move forward. We will preserver. We refused to live scared. Then after many long discussions we added another reason to keep trying. We wouldn’t want Libby to have to deal with Parkinson’s by herself. That seemed like a lot of pressure. So, with the odds stacked against us, we tried again. Don at this time had moved to Raleigh to begin his tenure at NC State. Libby and I stayed in Boston, filling our days with doctor appointments, blood checks and ritualistic self injected IVF shots.
It was finally time for the “transfer”. We had already been down this road before, with hallowed results, so I told Don he needn’t travel for the procedure. Understandably, I had prepared us for more of the same. The disappointment was routine at this point.
The doctor implanted two fertilized eggs and the wait game continued.
This time, we heard there WAS a viable heartbeat.
Faith in all good was restored.
When that toothless smile entered the world, we had more hope than I could ever put into words. In the face of the unforeseeable things that were happening, we had a beacon of light and love. United together, an unbreakable bond, Horton’s. For those of you that haven’t met us, 4 people who will not let our lives be defined by anyone or disease.
and…… when Hadley asks about how it is she came into this world, we exclaim with the most guttural sincerity, you couldn’t have been wanted more.