Beckett & Wells: Our Rainbow Babies
Pour a glass of wine, sit back, and buckle your seatbealts.
Our apologies in advance for the length, breadth, and depth of this story, we’ve tried to cut it back several times but the twists and turns it takes are too many and to leave out pieces would remove a lot of context. As an unlucky few of you may know, we’ve lived in a state of perpetual elation, panic, white-knuckle terror, hilarity, and more than anything, complete disbelief for the better part of three years now. But we’re ecstatic to be at a place where we can finally share with our friends and family Beckett and Wells’ story!
After our sweet Hadley passed in July 2015 a hole remained in our hearts we knew would only be filled by the presence of another child. As is standard, we revisited the “Birds and the Bees” talk and set off on what we hoped would be a short journey to another pregnancy – it should be noted that Hadley took us all of two months to conceive. Over a year later and emotionally drained from the roller coaster that is infertility we found ourselves still at ground zero, having undergone several rounds of hormone therapy and several unsuccessful rounds of IUI. IVF (in-vitro fertilization) was the next and most likely final step available to us, not ideal but we were more than grateful the option was available to us – thank you science and savings accounts!
IVF is an incredibly long journey in and of itself, and we cannot state enough the compassion we have for others struggling to conceive – while hope was always with us, potential heartbreak and fear are never far away. Our path to pregnancy via IVF became infinitely times murkier when during the final round of tests before egg retrieval Katie was diagnosed with a Unicornuate Uterus – an occurrence in only 1 in every 4000 females – the Bushes nailing impossible odds again! Essentially, she has only half a uterus, also only one fallopian tube, and in the biggest surprise of all she’d lived 32 years of life with only one kidney! While we were told this was not a deal breaker, it did raise some significant red flags pertaining to both the number of embryos we could expect and whether or not it’d be prudent for Kate to carry a child again. We were crushed and again faced with difficult challenges in how to grow our family. We felt much like Charlie Brown, ready to boot a football to the moon, only to have it pulled away from us at the last second.
Over several stressful weeks the decision was made to move forward with the retrieval, and when all was all said and done we ended up with one viable embryo. One. While three to five is typical per cycle, ten is not out of the question, but it was also not zero which was always a possibility. Hope flickered and waned, but never was extinguished as we went about deciding our next move – for Katie to carry or to look at options for surrogacy. After many medical opinions, the docs all agreed-we should strongly consider a surrogate. That, combined with some soul searching led us to the conclusion that a surrogate was our best and safest option for both Kate and “Pat” (our androgynously named embryo). Enter Molly, aka Our Other Lord and Savior, aka Studio Apartment 1U. A friend of Katie’s mom from her hometown of St. Marys, Molly expressed an interest in carrying the baby for us – prayers were answered, trumpets sounded, cannons blared, mountains crumbled, and the seas roared! Molly is a firecracker, and from the start we loved her personality and approach to this evolving bizarre journey. Medical and psychological evaluations were completed, contracts were signed, and we were go for transfer early June 2017.
March 2017 was awesome. For the first time in close to three years we weren’t consumed with getting pregnant or being pregnant. We partied, we went to Mexico, we stayed up late, slept in, went to concerts – you name it, it was done. Then came Easter weekend. Ryan was out doing some morning yard work, when out walks Katie with an uneasy look on her face – 50% we won the lottery, 50% an asteroid is hitting the earth in 15 minutes – and proceeds to hand over a positive pregnancy test. “Oh Shit!” was all that would come out. As an aside, Kate had also taken a pregnancy test Friday night that came back negative, so we double checked that one in the trash and sure enough it’d turned to positive – lesson: Wait 10 minutes means wait 10 minutes. Eighteen months of trying everything science could offer, and then we get pregnant one month into giving up on trying and being at peace with Katie never carrying again. Waves of happiness hit one minute, then waves of panic hit the as thoughts naturally ebbed to the safety of both Katie and baby given her previous diagnosis. We checked back with our physicians in Atlanta, as well as several other renowned groups nationwide and were uniformly told that although she’d be high risk (which she would’ve been anyway per Hadley’s premature birth) it was something all parties felt comfortable with and encouraged us to proceed.
“So Molly, see what happened was…” Ecstatic as we were, we knew Kate was still very high risk and being we’d already come so far with Molly were hopeful she’d still be interested in “hedging our bets”. Not flinching for a minute, she once again agreed to join us on board the crazy train, and headed up to Atlanta in early June for the transfer. A surrogate transfer is about as strange a scene as you’d imagine – no less than seven people are in the room and with Molly looking over the doctor’s shoulder, Katie behind her, and Ryan behind Katie we felt like one big happy bobsled team. The transfer happens and you wait, you wait ten days. Those ten days suck! Side note: only five of those days sucked for Molly because she tested early and got big fat positives from the start! But on the 10th Day our Other Savior said let there be a baby, and it was so. We had “Irish Twins” on the way in the most surreal sense! We’d known since January the embryo was a baby boy but still not sure what Kate was carrying, so in true Fore Hadley fashion we turned to golf and smacked a pair of exploding color-filled balls – 1 Blue, 2 Blue! Both Ryan and Katie had suspected she was carrying a boy as well; they knew Hadley well enough to know her sense of humor and irony.
Katie’s carrying John “Beckett” Bush and as of this post is 26 weeks and due December 20th, and Molly is carrying Wells Noble Bush and is now 15 weeks and due March 6th. True to form, Kate’s pregnancy has been full of twists and turns and anything but easy, she was put on modified bed rest around 17 weeks due to some premature cervical shortening and went on to have a cervical cerclage (think clinical zip-tie) placed at 19 weeks. This was unexpected and seemed excessive given she already only has half of a uterus to fret over! She’ll remain on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy, and has outfitted Ryan with a bellman’s outfit that comes running at the sound of her whistle. As for Molly, minus some pretty miserable first trimester morning sickness she’s chugged right along and has been a riot to follow along – 3 kids of her own, 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a husband serving our country, she is an absolute machine. And although she’s not one for the mushy stuff, we are eternally grateful for her presence in our lives. Wells is in such incredible hands! And Huck has taken the news of no longer being the only son (twice over) fairly well!
So there you have it, just like you draw it up, two rainbow babies. Two fighters, two against all odds, two little brothers - full of hope, joy, and triumph. These boys have saved us, buoyed our spirits in good times and bad, and we know their older sister is looking down on them with boundless pride and love. We leave you with this, although Beckett will be born first, technically Wells was created first – so who’s older?
Our sincere thanks for your endless love, prayers, and support,
Katie, Ryan, Hadley, Beckett, Wells, and Huck