Donna’s Story on Finding Support and Resources

Donna and Her Husband Ken

Donna and Her Husband Ken

I was born in Seoul, South Korea and am the older of two children. My father was in the U.S. Air Force and we moved quite frequently when I was a child. My mother was a stay- at-home mom who raised us lovingly. We never went to daycare or had babysitters. I remember my mother being a very nurturing, hard working and giving women. She always provided the stability and comfort through our ever-changing lifestyle as a military family. She taught me to be strong and overcome obstacles. I was a very shy child and the constant moves and new schools all seemed very intimidating I recall.

When I was 14 we moved to Sembach A.F.B. in Germany. It was a big challenge to move during my teenage years, let alone to a different country. Attending a military school with other teens who also spent their lives moving frequently brought comfort and I settled in with a whole new set of friends. It was exciting to be able to travel with my family to different countries and also take field trips to places like France for the day. It was all an experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world!

My grandfather fell ill so we got transferred back to McGuire A.F.B. in New Jersey, where I finished my last two years of high school. I graduated high school at the age of 17 with no real college plans. I did have a desire and dreamed of working in the travel industry and was working on inquiring with a travel business school in Florida. Something about moving and traveling excited me and I yearned to follow a path where I could work and travel for a living. While my family researched schools in Florida my father got emergency transfer orders to Hawaii. I dropped my plans of going off to school and followed my family to Hawaii. How could I turn down an opportunity to live in paradise?

In Hawaii I attended a private college and majored in Business Management for the Travel Industry, but I left to work for a pediatric dental office. When I was 20 I married my first husband who was in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was 21. He transferred to Houston, Texas, where we lived for seven years. I worked and went back to college. We never really discussed having a family immediately, but talked about it as something we would want in the future. We were in no hurry. I was working 40 hours a week in a busy periodontics office. Constantly learning on the job and attending college in the evenings left me little time to slow down and talk about children.

I was also not particularly interested in being pregnant. I was always afraid of having a baby and of all the changes that would take place in my body.

I even mentioned to my husband that I would have preferred to adopt a child and give a child in need a good home. That was always something I held dear to my heart. At the time my husband also kept an open mind. However, after many years of soul searching and drifting apart, I decided to end my marriage and move to Temple, Texas where I had been accepted into a dental hygiene program.

Audio FileOn Fear 

I desired to have a family someday and hoped to meet someone who wanted the same things in life. When dating I knew exactly what I wanted and pictured a family with children. I dated only a few people seriously but no one I met had the same expectations and dreams.

When I was in my early thirties I met Ken, the man who would become my husband.

I remember discussing future dreams with him from the very beginning. I didn’t want to waste his time nor mine if our dreams didn’t match.

It was comforting to hear that he wished for the same things. He wanted a partner in life and a family with children. We dated for five years, but then separated for two years. He later realized that he wanted me back in his life and expressed his wishes to have me as his wife and start a family. We started dating again and in 2009 we were married. He was 41 and I was 39. We knew we would need to start trying for a baby soon in order to have one.

I read so much information on the Internet and became quite educated on how challenging it would be for me to conceive at this age. It was overwhelming and discouraging. We had just begun seeing a fertility doctor when I found out I was pregnant. I was overjoyed to have become pregnant naturally after just 6 months of trying. When I was told over the phone that my pregnancy was not viable, I was heartbroken. Not long after that I had a miscarriage. The term “not viable” was confusing and frustrating.

It was difficult to hear from a doctor that the risk statistics for women at age 39 were higher. The research and numbers did not sound positive. My doctor suggested that donor egg options had better statistics in achieving a successful pregnancy at my age. My doctor also suggested transfer of at least three embryos with my own eggs if we decided to do IVF. While going through testing with the fertility doctor we conceived our son on our own. Thankfully we did not need the help of our fertility doctor.

I was surprised how little my doctor educated me or volunteered information about my pregnancy and what was going on with my body. I had to inquire and ask many, many questions. I always felt rushed to not take up too much of her time.

I felt I had to do research on my own to learn about my pregnancy through the Internet, books, friends, and my mom. My husband and I also watched a lot of television shows about giving birth. It was eye-opening to see what a couple could face having a baby. Some of the experiences looked terrifying.

Audio FileReading Scary Statistics 

We experienced our own kind of terrifying when after two days of labor I found myself in an operating room delivering our son Kaiden via cesarean section. It was very frightening. I had to be induced one week after my due date and he wasn’t coming out naturally, so they gave me an epidural and my son was born in the operating room. I wasn’t prepared for that. When he was born he didn’t cry really loudly like some newborns do. He had a small cry and was whisked over to a table where they began clearing his lungs. He wasn’t breathing very well on his own. I couldn’t see what was happening. I could only hear and then see my husband move away from me to be closer to our baby. A crowd of nurses all worked and huddled around him. Amazingly our son took a deep breath on his own and started to cry.

Kaiden

Kaiden

We are very lucky to have our son here today. It was an amazing experience giving birth and definitely full of miracles! Kaiden is now two and half and we have been trying for our second child for about one year and three months. When I had first mentioned we would be trying, my gynecologist ran blood work and recommended we first go to a fertility doctor. However, I felt my blood work showed great numbers and I wanted us to try on our own.

In October I turned 43. It was hard to celebrate my birthday since I had hoped we would have conceived our second baby by then. Even after seeking the care of two fertility doctors and many blood tests and surgery after two miscarriages I still have hope. It has been a lot to go through as a woman and sometimes the only support I have found is confiding in friends about all the trials and journeys we have been on. I wish to move forward in seeking fertility help and we have a green light to proceed with fertility treatment. Right now I am waiting on the decision of my husband if treatment is our preferred next option.

Audio FileFinding Support 

I have been blessed by joining a moms Meet-up group with some great mothers. It has been a wonderful support while raising my son. I do find that I am usually the oldest mom in the room at the play dates but it hasn’t bothered me at all.

It has been hard to see all the moms around me that have been having their second babies but I remain hopeful. Although, I yearn to have another baby I’m learning to find contentment if God does not bless us with another child. I look at my husband and son and feel so very fortunate and blessed to have all I have ever wanted.

I feel like my life experiences have given me stability and knowledge to raise a child in a confident way.

I also feel blessed and privileged at the age of 43 to be able to stay home and raise our son. It is great to be able to give Kaiden all the nurturing at home like my mother gave me.

On Why I Participated in this ResearchAudio File

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