Our adoption story didn’t go as we had planned. As a matter of fact, it didn’t go like anyone had planned. It was the worst and best time of our lives. Cameron’s story (our adoptive son) has changed my life forever and has given me a clearer and better picture of my purpose than ever before.
I won’t divulge too much into my MRKH diagnoses so I can tell more of our adoption story. I was diagnosed at the age of 18. Mine wasn’t an awful experience. My doctors were smart enough to know they were unable to diagnose me and therefore sent me to a specialist at the University Of Minnesota. Dr. Nagel was a kind and caring doctor who told me I wouldn’t be able to carry my own kids. The news was hard to digest but growing up with five brothers, I learned to be a fighter. It was a struggle more from the outlook of; I am the only one with this and what kind of freak am I. It wasn’t until I found other MRKH sisters, that I was able to accept that this is who I am and these other sisters, are amazing and I can be too. That is the very short version, but I believe the most important and best part of my MRKH story, is Cameron.
My husband and I had discussed surrogacy and adoption. We went to the doctors to see what steps to take for surrogacy but at the time we just didn’t think we could do it financially. We opted for adoption. I will tell you right now that I am a firm believer that things do not happen by chance, that there is a greater purpose. I believe both options are beautiful, but I am forever grateful and changed by adoption.
Adoption is a long and grueling process. We found an adoption agency in Fort Wayne and went through the insurmountable paper work, back ground checks, financial checks, and home study’s. I really think the Queen herself would be safe at our house. Unfortunately, the adoption agency decided to stop their adoption services. Two years later and we were back at square one. This is where our story really begins.
We found an agency in Indianapolis (Adoption Support Center) and fell in love with them. They were amazing and cared about every aspect of the adoption. The birth parents were just as important as us. I think that is one of the most important aspects of an agency, how they treat the birth moms. Think about it, they are giving you your dream, their child will become yours. I cannot even imagine how hard that is. It took months to go through the whole process again and our profile was up and running in August of 2016.
Here is where I believe my purpose and God’s purpose collided for a greater cause. I got the call Jan 10th at work that we had been matched with a birth mom that was due soon. We were to meet them the following Tuesday. It had been 5 months since we were active with the agency and 5 years since our journey begin. I could not believe this was actually happening. I felt like the whole thing was surreal, I was going to be a mom.
We met our birth mom and her mom at Starbucks. I was so anxious, what if they don’t like us, what if we say the wrong thing…. Our little boy, yes boy, was coming from an African/American family and to this day, I remember what the birth mom’s mom told us, days later about our first meeting. She knew the moment we hugged them at our first meeting that race was never an issue, we would love him no matter what. That is true, but also the kindest thing they could have said. FYI, for those meeting a birth mom for the first time, a good hug is a big key! We asked them what set us apart from the others. The birth mom’s mom said she had the biggest sense of peace that we were the right ones. Here is where MRKH comes in, the birth mom said she picked us because I would never be able to have kids and she just knew in her heart, we would love this little boy.
A week later we got the call our birth mom was going into labor. The hour and 45-minute drive to the hospital was the longest drive of our lives. It was still so amazing to us this was happening. We got there Tuesday afternoon and watched as our beautiful baby boy came into the world Thursday morning, January 26th at 1:56 am. He went to the NICU as a precaution because the mom had gotten a fever while delivering. We were able to go to the NICU at 4:00am and hold our son. There are no words to explain that feeling. The love was instant, pure, and life altering. This is where our adoption story becomes one like no other.
The Nurse Practitioner came into the room and told us that our son was having seziuers. They needed to hook him up to the EEG and start him on seizure medications. At first I thought, ok they will get this under control. The seizures continued through the afternoon. The gut wrenching thing is, by that time I could tell when were about to start. I would cry out to God to please make them stop. They didn’t stop..... they continued through the night into Friday. That morning was when the birth mom would be signing the papers.
The lawyer came to the NICU, where I hadn’t left since this all began. The adoption coordinator and lawyer both informed us that the birth mom had signed the papers. They go on to mention; with all that was going on, we didn’t have to sign the papers yet, we could wait and see how this goes. I realize they were just doing their jobs, but I turned to them with tears streaming down my face and said, “this is my baby, this is who God gave me, I love him with my very being, he is ours.” We signed the papers.
That afternoon our son was transferred to Riley hospital, one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. I could and may write a book about it, but due to length I will inevitably skip details. They sedated our son to get the seizures to stop. The doctors had to use every seizure medication and the highest does of sedation, but finally a couple days later they got the seizures to stop. That was the only and last time we had good news. So many days and hours were spent over his little incubator crying and praying for our son to be healed. We learned a day after the seizures stopped that he had suffered brain damage to the right and left sides. He would have long terms effects but nothing my husband and I couldn’t handle. To put it in the simplest form possible we learned that he had suffered a stroke about a week before birth through a quick MRI. They were unable to do the advanced MRI yet. At this point, I knew we were picked by God to love this little boy no matter the cost and love him, we did.
They started weaning him off the sedation medication slowly. With only a little over an hour left before he would be completely weaned off, the seizures started again. Being told you have MRKH is hard, but there is nothing worse than watching your child go through this nightmare. I never left his side, I held his hand and talked and sang to him. We were unable to hold him while he was hooked up to the EEG. He also had numerous IV lines and was intubated. The doctors could not get the seizures to stop so they decided to go ahead and get the advanced MRI. By this time we had been in the hospital for almost a week and a half. Everything starts to run together. I remember the day like it was a second ago. I was going to go to the break room and I saw the Neonatologist and the Neurologist headed towards our room so I went back. They told us the worst news I have ever heard in my life, that the damage to his brain was severe and there was nothing that could be done. They advised us that the Palliative Care team would be coming to meet with us. I fell on my knees and sobbed for hours. At that point I wanted Jesus to take me home I didn’t want to go through this. How could this be happening to us?
With the guidance of the medical team, we decided to withdraw all the medical treatment Sunday evening, Feb. 5th. We did include the birth mom and her mom throughout all of this with phone calls and text messages. It truly is, a one of a kind relationship you end up having with the birth mom. That evening I held my son while my husband, the birth mom, and her mom and sister gathered around. The doctor withdrew his breathing tube and I held him while we watched him breathe. He continued to breathe through the night and the next day and the next day. The thing about babies is, they are incredible human beings and there is no exact timeline on how long they will last with this type of brain injury. During this time, he was still on seizure medication but off sedation. It was the most amazing time. Yes I was angry at God but Cameron could have gone home to Jesus Sunday night but he loved being loved by us. He even started to talk to us and open his beautiful big brown eyes. It took all his energy to talk, but it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. We were told by the doctors and palliative care team that Cameron knows who we are, he can hear and even see us. Even though his respiration's were a quarter of what they should be and his heart rate half, our little man fought to stay with us.
I didn’t get the miracle I was praying for but I did get one none the less. Thursday Feb 9th, we got to take our precious boy home. He lived 28 days and passed away in my arms early Wednesday morning the 22nd of February. I can honestly say that those 28 days were the best days of my life!! Cameron’s life and impact has had a greater purpose than I will ever know this side of heaven and I am an awe that God picked us to love this little boy for a moment on earth. I would do it all again for those 28 days. My whole perspective on life has completely change. April 22 will be the two month anniversary of our sweet baby going home to his forever home in heaven. We were able to legally finalize our adoption on March 21st, one month after his passing, and while it wasn't your typical court room adoption celebration, it was a celebration of Cameron's life and the joy he brought us
You see our adoption story could have been ordinary but it became extraordinary. God knew 40 years ago that he would need someone to love a big brown eyed boy for 28 days. If that is the reason I was born with MRKH, then I am so grateful I was. Cameron taught me many things but one thing he taught me is that love really is all that matters. The world will continue to go on without us, but those who are placed in our lives if even for a moment, are meant to be loved!
Bram's Birth Story
Ways to Save Money
Things not to say to IPs
Tips for newly diagnosed
Mothers with MRKH
Our Gender Reveal
2000- Chrissy dx w/ MRKH
2002- Chrissy & Lee meet
2007- Chrissy & Lee Marry
2009- Chrissy 'hysterectomy'
2013- Awarded Cade Grant
7/3/14- IVF egg retrieval (5)
1/18/15- Embryo Transfer (1)
9/29/15 - Bram born!