Melissa Carter: We’re having a baby, y’all

Katie Jo and I are having a baby. It’s taken me six years to be able to write that sentence, and it still doesn’t seem real. But I am honored and humbled to say our child is due to arrive on October 7.

This process began in 2008 with our decision to freeze my eggs. However, after waiting a few years our first attempt to get pregnant was not successful.

Because of the disappointment, and the fact we had shared that entire journey with so many people, Katie and I chose to keep any further progress private. We knew we didn’t want to lose the surrogate we had so carefully chosen, plus I was already in my 40’s and couldn’t afford putting it off before we attempted another pregnancy. So, we immediately did it again. In October Katie underwent hormone treatment to retrieve her eggs, in November I went through the same procedure, and in December Katie repeated the process.

Let me just say that two women who live together, giving themselves daily shots of hormones in their stomachs, does not make for a happy household. Add to that the fact we were doing all this through the entire holiday season, you can see why it was the darkest period in our 8-year relationship.

But for our intellectual knowledge of what we were physically doing to ourselves and why, I’m not sure we would have stayed together. But the hormones subsided, we began to like each other again, and the effort produced a total of three viable embryos, two from Katie and one from me.

We transferred them all to our carrier in January. Knowing it was our final in vitro fertilization (IVF) effort, and that we had done all that we could do to have a biological child, we came to terms with the finality of it all and understood powers greater than us would yield whatever result was meant to be. That’s harder than it sounds, but we knew we were in a privileged position to be able to even try, so to complain about the results would be dis- respectful. We were big girls, and would handle whatever came as a team.

During the crippling Atlanta snow I was holed up in a Midtown hotel so I could make it to work. It was there on my phone, as I ooVoo’d with Katie, our carrier, and her OBGYN that I learned she was pregnant with twins. There were initial concerns about one of the fraternal twins being smaller than the other, but there was nothing to do but wait and see if it would catch up. It did for a moment, but during the seventh week its heart stopped and it was gone.

People have already approached us with sentences that begin, “Just you wait,” which is usually followed by the information that our lives will no longer be our own or that our finances will be drained. For those who undergo IVF like us, those events happen long before a baby is born. If there even is a baby. But our motto has remained the same: “As of today, I am a mother of a healthy 16 week old.” Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Through all these decisions, the trips to the clinic, the hormones, the embryos, the sleep- less nights, the nerves, the tears, the hugs, the hands held, and the loss of a twin, this little one has already defied the odds and is fighting the good fight to be part of this world. And Katie and I are here, with tears in our eyes and trembling hands, ready to welcome him or her into our family.