The 1 in 4: Team Hurst

Go to college, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids . . . that was THE plan. My husband, T, was no stranger to family tragedy and this was going to be happily ever after. That is how all the fairytales end, I followed most of the rules, and we were pretty good people. Like most little girls, I rocked my baby dolls as a toddler, had my live baby doll brothers in junior high, babysat through college, then worked in pediatrics and neonates as a profession … I was 27 and so READY!

Well, turns out MY plan wasn’t actually THE plan. I had a lengthy story written with specifics of our 6 babies we lost over the 11 years of dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility, but that was so very long (yep longer than this) and well took away from sharing about how Anna’s Grace has impacted my family.

Let me just summarize to say it started after a year of marriage and 9 months of trying to conceive with emergency surgery for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy where I saw our baby's beating heart that had to be stopped because it was not in the uterus and I would have died. Shortly after, we were pregnant again with a strong heartbeat for it only to end again. Years and lots of money later with the help of infertility treatment we were pregnant three different times with three more babies in heaven.

T and I, like all men and women, grieve differently. We process differently. We had one rule: We never did anything unless all 4 of our feet were in. If one of us had reservations about the next step, we waited and didn’t push. It worked for us and at this point we were ready to pursue adoption. After many closed doors, the process finally started and we were matched. I had just changed jobs due to the toll that grieving while working with babies in deliveries and the NICU was taking on me. Weeks later we were matched and were parents! All of the closed doors led the three of us together.

This is where I say “and we lived happily ever after” . . . well for a while. We decided to grow our family again because we felt there was a piece meant to be added, so the adoption process started again (sigh). The saying “adopt and you will get pregnant” still haunts me (by the way this is not something someone struggling with infertility wants to hear for many reasons …) because we did indeed get pregnant, had yet another strong heartbeat, only to send another baby to heaven. This time we grieved with a toddler, while trying to understand all of the why’s that you go through in grief. Because the baby was a partial molar pregnancy with a slight risk of cells causing cancer later along with years of female issues and surgeries, I had a hysterectomy at 35. The door was CLOSED and sealed to genetic kids that have my husband’s pretty eyes, their uncle’s smile, or one of my grandmothers' hair. It was also closed to seeing ultrasound pictures of my baby growing, feeling them move, delivering them then being surrounded by family, and breastfeeding.

A few more years went by and we welcomed another baby by adoption and our little family felt complete. As much as I think about the things I missed, I would not change the kids I have for anything not even the pain we experienced. This is where we lived Happily Ever After … at least until the flood ;)