My Family is Complete Again

My family

Yesterday morning, on a beautiful warm and sunny Sunday in the summer, David, Nessa, Julia and I (and our nephew Eliah!) got in the car and drove to the airport. Six weeks had quickly passed and it was time to collect Matthew at the airport. His fourth summer at Camp Kadimah was over and it was time to return home. As I watched his tanned and dirty face light up as he saw his family when he entered the arrivals area I knew my family was complete again.

My family
The three celebrating Matthew’s return yesterday, with Eliah too!

Three months into blogging people often ask me if I have found my groove, where I plan to take this blog or if I plan to tackle more controversial topics. They also ask me if this space is personal or if I am open to sharing thoughts or topics that are more private.

So far, the majority of my posts are light and consist mainly of my musings. For the most part I write about what I see and experience every day. But sometimes I write about a topic of which I am passionate, such as the role of women in society or childcare.

The post I take most to heart is the one I published on May 26, the day Nessa turned one. This delicious little baby, who is now 14 months old, is our miracle. The day she was born I knew my family was complete.

When Matthew flew off to camp last summer, and again this summer, I felt a void in my house. When he wasn’t home my family was not complete. We are a strong family of five. I learned over the past fourteen months that each of us contribute something different and special to this dynamic.

My Family
Saying good bye to his sisters on July 2
My Family
Matthew leaving for camp last summer
My Family
Matthew’s reunion with his sisters last summer

Many couples either choose to not have children or for various health-related reasons cannot have children.  I realize these people are in very different categories, but at the end of the day they are childless. For all the accomplishments in my life I am most proud of my children. They are rowdy, messy, often dirty and expensive. But they are also loving, intelligent, sweet and give the best hugs. My life would be nothing without my family.

In my May 26 post, I wrote about my struggles with infertility and my great desire to have a third child. I know that there are many women out there who are dreaming and wishing for just one child. That one child would be everything to these women and would complete their family. My message to you, is don’t give up.

I will never say that the dream is an easy one to achieve, but if you want to complete your family with a child then my advice to you is to keep trying. Every time I look at each of my three children I am reminded of how much they mean to me and how my family and my life are complete because of them.

So, now Matthew is home, and the sliced apples, strawberries, iPad and sports marathon have returned. The house is a bit louder and life more hectic with three kids in the house again. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our Tiny Miracle

one year old photo of Nessa

I believe in miracles. If you had asked me two years ago today, May 26, 2015, if I believed in miracles, my answer would have been a firm no. But on May 26, 2016, a tiny miracle appeared in my life and changed me forever.

Until today I have been very private with the struggles that my husband and I faced with infertility. Today I’m ready to share my story, in the hopes it can inspire even just one couple who still hope to bring a baby home. Mine is not the typical story that you hear because our infertility challenges only began after we had two healthy children.

Some people may react with shock, anger or confusion, wondering how a couple with a so-called “million-dollar” family needed to put themselves through what we did just to have a third child. But we knew, after our first miscarriage in 2011, that something was missing in our life. We knew our family was not complete and we were determined to go to the ends of the earth to bring another child into the world.

After another miscarriage in the spring of 2012 we decided, with the guidance and careful advice of our fertility specialist, to try a round of IVF. I didn’t respond well to the drugs, it cost us a lot of money, but we were excited to see a positive pregnancy test two weeks after two embryos were implanted. I miscarried four days later.

I was devastated and felt lost. I also felt that I was let down by the fertility clinic I trusted after a senior technician, during a follow-up ultrasound, looked at me and told me I should just enjoy the two children I had because many women at this clinic weren’t even lucky enough to have one child.

I went home feeling guilty about my despair, that I had my two young children at home to hug and kiss and give me love every day while so many women would give everything they had for just one child. I feel for those women every day, but I was so angry that someone could look at me and make me feel ashamed for wanting another child.

We took a fertility break for a while, went to another specialist who gave us hope and then had two more miscarriages. By early 2015 we didn’t know if we would ever be able to complete our family with a third child. Late that winter my aunt, who faced infertility and the devastating loss of a baby just after he was born, asked me a question that was game changing for me: Imagine yourself in ten years, when you probably can no longer have more children. Are you satisfied with everything you have done to have a third child or do you feel you need to keep trying?

My husband and I immediately knew the answer – we weren’t satisfied, and we decided to give it one more try. If one more round of IVF failed then we knew we tried everything and could move forward comfortably with life.

After much reflection and hours and hours of conversations into the night, my husband and I returned to our original fertility specialist. He admitted that after every test he and his team had done over the past four years they could find nothing wrong with me, but with my history and the fact that I was 38 years old he was honest that our chances of success were low. I admired his frankness and we went ahead. The IVF failed, and by the end of the summer we decided that we had done everything we could and that our family was complete.

Just when you feel it’s over, when you have moved on and accepted defeat and the stress that goes with it, a miracle can happen. When I found out I was pregnant in the fall of 2015 I didn’t believe it was real. I cried, with my sister by my side, when I saw the baby, with her strong heart-beat, at 8 weeks in utero, and every week after.

On May 26, 2016, our tiny miracle was born. We named her Nessa, the Hebrew word for miracle, to remind us every day of the miracle she gave us, that she filled the missing piece and completed our family.

Happy first birthday Nessa, our tiny miracle.

one of the first photos taken of our miracle
Our beautiful miracle on the day she was born