I met my husband in a chat room June 2005 and we met in person July 2005. Around that time, my acne broke out and I started gaining weight. My husband and I married March 11, 2006. We knew we wanted kids and talked about it when we were dating. You know, the usual how many kids we wanted. I wanted 3-4 kids and DH wanted 2-3. We used condoms while dating. We talked about it and decided to not use any form of protection starting our wedding night. In my husband’s eyes, we were “not preventing”. In mine, we were “trying”.
I hadn’t had a period for 3 months before our wedding. My period arrived 3 days after we married. My cycles were irregular and I was gaining weight, so I went to my OBGYN. He diagnosed me with PCOS in October. He put me on metformin and wanted to give it a year. He said it commonly takes couples 6 months to a year to get pregnant and I would probably get pregnant in that year once the metformin helped straighten me out. He said I would probably lose weight on it. I started taking my BBT (basal body temperature) since I had read about it online. I had a degree in early childhood education, but decided to go back to college and get a bachelor’s in elementary education during this time. After a year (October 2007), I was still having very irregular cycles and my BBT wouldn’t always rise, so the Dr. gave me clomid to help me ovulate. He officially diagnosed me with infertility then. He let us try 6 cycles. During that time I researched infertility. I tried using instead cups to help us conceive and anything I could. If I could stand on my head, I would have tried that too. Obviously, nothing worked. After every failed cycle, I became depressed. It was getting harder and harder. I kept telling myself that this couldn’t last forever and that surely this would be our month.
Now we’re to April 2008. I was sent to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) and had my husband and I had some tests ran. We found out that my husband had 15 million healthy sperm. Normal range is 20 million to 300 million. We were told we could try some IUIs and go from there. Since it was the holidays and I was still in college, we decided to hold off and save for those IUIs. Probably 3 months later (July 2008) we tried our first IUI. My husband had 12 million sperm. Negative. Probably 3 months later we tried another one. I remember it was fall 2008 because my husband is a farmer and I was worried that it would interfere with our timetable. When it’s time to run the crops, farmers work long hours. My husband left long enough for our IUI. This time he had 11 million healthy sperm. Another negative. We couldn’t afford IVF with me in college so we stopped everything. I was emotionally a wreck. Sex had become all about timing it for ovulation and it wasn’t fun anymore. We were stressed. My husband said we are done for now and needed the break. I even quit taking my BBT.
Summer 2009 my husband and I heard a radio ad for foster parents. My husband said let’s try it. I was afraid we would get several children in our home that we had to give back. He was too, but we wanted to be parents. We discussed this for a few months before my husband convinced me to go to an information night at The Villages fostering/adoption agency. We went and decided to give it a try. We decided to foster to adopt. Our classes started at the end of harvest. It was an early winter that year. 2 classes were cancelled twice because of road conditions. Those classes were just added to the following 2 Saturdays. I graduated December 2009 with my degree in elementary education and we became foster parents around that same time. Foster training was perfect. I know that sounds strange, but it was. We had an amazing trainer. He drilled into us that fostering is temporary. He said until those adoption papers are signed; tell yourself every day that the children are going back. Always assume that. Foster training is very eye opening. I grew up sheltered and had no clue what the world was like for some children. We did respite twice for foster parents also through the villages. (We watched their foster children while they went away for the weekend to an out of state wedding, etc.) Foster children are not allowed out of state unless the judge over the case approves it. In order to maintain your fostering license, you must get 25 points a year. You can get these points by reading certain books and writing reports, watching certain movies and writing reports, attending fostering events/picnics, or attending the monthly meeting.
We were at our monthly meeting at the Villages February 23rd 2010. During the meeting around 7pm, our case worker pulled us out into the office. She said they had 2 children that were 5 (girl) and 6 (boy). She told us everything she knew about them from the DCS case manager. They were very wild children who had recently broken a window. They were out of control. Both had behavior issues. The boy had anger issues and threw a booster seat through the window. The girl bites, scratches, and bullies. She was diagnosed with Disruptive Behavior Disorder and ADHD. We didn’t have any children in our home, we were there, so they asked us first. She stepped out and gave us a moment to discuss it. We said yes. I was terrified. Just like that, we walked across the street to the DCS building. No one knew how to correctly say or spell the little girl’s name. We signed papers and were given a copy to prove we were legal guardians of them. When we walked in, we could hear kids crying in a back room. The DCS case worker was explaining to them that they were going to stay with a nice couple for a while and that they couldn’t stay with their mom. (I’m crying writing this and remembering that night.) They finally convinced the kids to come to the front and meet us. The children’s names were Zachary and Chassidy (we were told it could be Chastity or something like that). Zac wanted nothing to do with us. He held on to the DCS worker. She had visited their home several times over the past few months, so he was comfortable with her. Abby (Chassidy) stopped talking. Looking back, I think she just shut down. She wouldn’t say a word to anyone. She would sit and stare. I tried talking to her about anything and everything from her favorite color to our dog we had at home. She never said a word. We borrowed 2 booster seats and took the kids downstairs and buckled them in. It was 7:40. From the time we knew about the kids to the time we left with them was about 30-40 minutes. The kids had not eaten since lunch so we took them to McDonalds. Zac barely talked and Abby still wouldn’t say anything. These children came with the clothes on their backs. Zac had a torn coat and they both smelled like cigarette smoke. There was a Meijer on the way out of town, so we stopped and bought the kids clothes, booster seats, shampoo, etc. I remember putting it on our credit card. The kids were WILD. They ran up and down aisles knocking things down. They knocked on the lobster tank and Zac tried to find a way to reach in it. Neither one of us could bring ourselves to get on them to calm down. They had been through enough. It was after 9pm when we left. When we got home at 9:45, the kids were out cold. We carried them in, took off their coats and shoes, and put them in bed. I stayed up washing their new clothes and their coats.
They never woke up until 8 the next morning. We put them in bed together because we didn’t want them waking up alone and scared. The next morning we sat down to eat cereal. The kids had picked out their favorite cereal the night before. Shawn (my husband) was sitting on one end, then Abby, then Zac, then me on the other end of the table. Abby just sat there. I kept trying to talk to her to figure out why she wouldn’t’ eat. Zac was scarfing his cereal down. He stopped long enough to say, “She doesn’t like boys.” then continued eating. It was so funny how he did that. I moved Abby beside me and she finally ate. She didn’t say anything until after breakfast when she talked for the first time. The kids bathed and put on new clothes.
The next part of our lives was crazy. There are things you have to do when foster kids are first in your care. They have to go to the Dr., visit a therapist, etc. They started with visiting their bio mom 3 days a week and therapy once a week. I was a substitute teacher since I’d just graduated, so that was a blessing. I did a lot of driving. We met the kid’s case worker and she would take them to their visit with their bio mom that way there’s no interaction between us. Zac was in kindergarten and Abby was in preschool. We had to transfer them to new schools. We could go to the court hearings, so we did. The kids had been removed because of neglect. Their bio mom wanted to party all night and sleep all day. Zac was responsible for him, his younger sister Abby (Chassidy), his younger brother Nathaniel and his younger sister Trinity. Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yes, they had 2 younger siblings. The younger 2 had a different father and went to live with their paternal grandmother. Zac and Abby had no one that wanted them. Zac and Abby had different dads too. 4 kids 3 dads.
Things were going great until one day bio mom decided to mess up. She stopped going to her parenting classes and therapy. They ended up suspending visits until she got herself together. She did get herself back together. She had to for 30 days and the judge said she could start visits again. She decided to mess up again on day 28. I know she decided she didn’t want them back, so she messed up on purpose. In court, to the judge, she said, “Take these, I’ll just have more.” The bio fathers voluntarily signed their rights away. Bio mom’s were involuntarily terminated in March 2011. That week their bio mom was reported to have her IUD removed. She also filed an appeal. You can adopt during an appeal, but I wasn’t comfortable with that. In the state of Indiana, only 2 have been overturned in 10 years or something like that. We still waited.
After the appeal/case was reviewed in Indy (Indianapolis) we adopted the kids on August 4, 2011. The kids knew they could change their names when they were adopted, so they did. Zac changed his middle name to Shawn’s middle name. Abby picked out a new name completely. Once rights were terminated, we started calling her Abby. With some love, a lot of discipline and being held accountable for their actions, my kids are not the same kids. We get comments about how well behaved they are now. We waited until this year to officially diagnose Abby with ADHD. She now takes a low dose of Strattera and is a totally different kid. Her teacher can’t believe how well she can focus now.
October 2011, their bio mom showed up at the school during parent teacher conferences. She must have heard the doors were unlocked for parent teacher conferences. She also didn’t know I worked there. The kids were in my room while I was meeting Shawn to go to meet with their teachers. I saw her and she saw me. She was with her mom. They both left as fast as they could out the door. I was afraid she would come back to try and find the kids, so I locked them in my room. I didn’t tell them why, but I told them not to open the door to anyone and not to leave my room. They were busy drawing on the chalkboard, so they were fine with it. We later explained why in case she showed up again so they knew what to do. It happened so fast, but I thought she was pregnant. I contacted our attorney and we went to court to try and get a protective order. She claimed she was there to buy her son’s yearbook from last year. The judge went off on her that these are not her children and that she had lost that right to call them that. She was very pregnant and had a baby girl shortly after our court hearing. We told Zac and Abby this. They also know that we will help them find her if they want to when they turn 18. Abby has no desire to. She remembers nothing from her “past life”. That’s what they call it. Zac is undecided. It was an emotional ordeal, but fostering was the best decision ever. I have 2 amazing children that are mine. I love them to pieces and I dare anyone to hurt one of them.
Since the kids were older, we still wanted to go through having a baby. I was teaching and we had more money, so we decided to try IVF. That was in March when rights were terminated. We went in and my husband had 1 million sperm. That’s it. We were sent to a fertility urologist. He diagnosed my husband with low testosterone. He put him on clomid and arimidex to help his testosterone and improve his sperm count. This doesn’t always work, but it did for us. We did IVF in November 2011. Shawn had 7 million sperm. We decided to try it once. If I got pregnant that would be wonderful. If not, it just wasn’t meant to be. I had 14 eggs retrieved. 8 fertilized, but only 2 lived to day 5. We transferred both and I did get pregnant. We found out on December 22nd, that our baby had stopped growing. Although we saw and heard the heartbeat, I would miscarry. It wasn’t the best Christmas. I miscarried January 10th, 2012 at 10.5 weeks. I felt contractions (very minor ones) and knew it was coming. I was bleeding heavily, so I took supper out of the oven and fed my 2 older children as if nothing was going on. I told them I was going to take a bath. They thought nothing of it. My husband was at work and I called him and told him I was in a lot of pain and that it wouldn’t be long. As I was in the tub, blood and clots would gush out with each contraction. While on the phone with my husband, the sac came out. I got to hold our first baby in its sac in the palm of my hand. I’m thankful I miscarried naturally versus a D&C. I was able to hold and say goodbye to our first baby. We hadn’t anticipated this.
We thought either IVF would work or it wouldn’t. Since it worked, we decided to do IVF over summer break. We went in early June 2012. My husband had stopped taking his meds when we got pregnant. After our appointment we got a call when we were halfway home. My husband had NO sperm in his sample. I can’t tell you how crushed and torn I was. I was torn because I was so happy to be a mom, but feeling selfish for wanting a baby too. I was crushed because I blamed myself for losing our baby. I thought I had miscarried our one chance of ever having a baby. We went back to the urologist who put my husband back on the clomid and arimidex. He told us it may or may not work. The cycle of a sperm is 3 months, therefore it takes 3 months before you can see a difference to know if it is working. Not to mention it took about a month to get the testosterone levels back to normal range first. We were blessed and it did work. We started IVF over Christmas break. 10 days of stims would make my retrieval January 11th, 2013. My body responded well and my eggs were retrieved a day early on January 10th. 1 year exactly to the day of my miscarriage. I took that as a sign. My husband had 5 million sperm. 11 eggs retrieved. 6 fertilized and again only 2 made it to day 5. We were blessed. I get to snuggle those 2 babies every day. Out of 25 eggs, we only had 2 survive. The babies were born September 11; exactly 7.5 years from our wedding day on March 11, 2006. Our family is complete. We have been blessed. Those years of infertility hurt, but I wouldn’t have my 4 kids without them.
I know others don’t feel this way, but I believe everything happens for a reason. How could I not after our journey? I started having braxton hicks contractions at 18 weeks. I tested early and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 22 weeks. They contractions turned into real ones before 32 weeks. I was put on bed rest at my 32 week appointment because my cervix was shortening. At 34 weeks I developed blood pressure issues. I was admitted in the hospital for a 24 hour urine check at 34 weeks 4 days for preeclampsia. I had mild preeclampsia and got to go home. Because of my gestational diabetes, babies lungs can take longer to develop. My OBGYN wanted me to make it to 37 weeks in hopes they would be healthy and strong by that point. My blood pressure slowly got worse every day into preeclampsia. I was induced at 6 am at 36 weeks 6 days. I was already having contractions and I was 3+ cm dilated and 75% effaced.
Colton James Scott was born at 4:09 pm weighing 5lbs 1oz 18 1/2 inches. Cora Leigh Scott was born at 4:32 pm weighing 5lbs 7 oz 19 1/2 inches. It was quite an experience. They wheeled me in the c-section room next door since multiples are always born there in case of an emergency. They let our moms put on scrubs and watch through the scrub room window. Colton’s heartreate kept dropping and Dr. said the his cord was probably around his neck. Once he was crowning, it got extremely low, so the Dr. put the vacuum on his head and helped pull him out. His cord was around his neck, but he was perfectly fine. Baby girl’s water broke while she was still up high. She wasn’t’ moving down much so the Dr. put an electrode on her scalp to track her heartrate. As he suspected, her heartrate was doing the same thing, but she wasn’t moving down. They kicked out our moms from the other room and the Dr. said to prep the c-section team, she needed to come out now. Her heartrate was worse than her brothers. It was scary. The Dr said “F*&@ it and went after her. He didn’t want to wait on the c-section team. I pushed back to back 6-8 times as hard as I could. I moved her just enough that the Dr. could get his hand up there and get a hold of her. Her guided her down and I continued to push with everything I had. She came out and she was just as perfect as her brother. Her cord was not around her neck, but it was getting compressed somewhere. He said he wouldn’t have done it if it were one baby, but he knew that she was close in size to her brother, so it would be okay. The nurse went and told our moms that we didn’t end up having a c-section. Apparently they were practically crying, they were worried. We have 2 beautiful babies!!! After that, (I obviously had an episiotomy), the Dr. stitched me, but I kept bleeding. A lot. I had to have 2 shots of Hemabate along with upping the pitocin to get my uterus to harden. The massaging of my belly to get things to go back right was downright painful.
I had several bruises on my belly the next day. I kept lifting my head to see my babies and they would yell at me because lifting my head put pressure on me and it would make me bleed worse. That was hard for a mom that tried for many years. Shawn stayed with the babies until things calmed down with me. I finally got to hold both of my babies for skin to skin by 5:30. Their lungs were fully developed, but Colton had a little trouble maintaining body temperature the first night. He was fine after that. The next morning I had labs. I was already a little anemic during pregnancy, which is common. After my blood loss after delivery, it got a lot worse. I was cold and dizzy. I had to have my IV hooked back up and I had a blood transfusion. 1 unit usually takes a little over 3 hours to do. I had to have 2 units (which again, is common). It hurt the whole time. The blood was cold, so it made my vein ache in my hand and wrist. Both babies developed jaundice. They were put on bili blankets. Cora’s got worse, so she was put under bili lights as well while Colton continued with his blanket. They were finally well enough to come home after 4 days.
The day we came home, Cora weighed 4 pounds 14 ounces and Colt weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces. At their 4 month appointment, Colt was 13 pounds 15 ounces and 23.25 inches long and Cora was 12 pounds 11 ounces and 24 inches long. They were both on the growth chart. You would never know they were 3 weeks early and came home below 5 pounds. The twins will be 5 months old tomorrow. Zac just turned 10 and Abby just turned 9. We are some of the luckiest parents in the world!