Sharing My Son’s Birth Story on Valentine’s Day

Five years ago on Valentine’s Day, I was able to check my newborn son out of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where he’d spent the first five days of his life, and take him home.  Because how my son ”came to be” is unconventional, the following is the story I’ve written for him, so he can understand in a very simple way how much he was wanted, that he is donor-conceived, and how his Daddy came into his life.

Because I feel very emotional every Valentine’s Day about the two loves of my life, my husband and my son, I think this is the ideal day to share this.  Happy Valentine’s Day… 

MY SON’S FAMILY STORY 

Mama had always wanted to be a mother.  I felt like it was the role in life that I was most supposed to have.  But, by the time I turned thirty-five years old, I still hadn’t met the right person with whom to have a baby.

Because I was getting older, I decided to try to have a baby by myself.  I knew that I could always fall in love, but wouldn’t always be able to have children. 

Mama selected a donor, so I could have the sperm necessary for my egg to make a baby, and, starting in August 2004, a doctor and many nurses tried to help me become pregnant.  But there were problems:  The doctor said that it would be very difficult for Mama to ever have a baby.

Mama was very sad, but difficult doesn’t mean impossible, so the doctor and I continued to try.  After ten awful months without success, on May 11, 2004, Mama met a very nice man named D, and we really, really liked each other.

At almost thirty-six years old, I was still trying to have a baby by myself.  Although Mama and D cared for each other, it was way too soon to think about having a baby together.  So Mama was helped by a nurse again on May 20, nine days after meeting D, and, in what my doctor called “a miracle,” I got pregnant with you.

Over the nine months of my pregnancy, D and I got to know each other better, and he agreed to be my birth partner, giving me moral support at the ultrasound at which I found out you were a boy, going to the birthing classes with me and agreeing to help me in the delivery room when you were born.  I had complications during the pregnancy, having to be in the hospital twice and on bed rest, and he took such good care of me—and therefore you. 

I felt so lucky to have a miracle pregnancy and miracle of a boyfriend. 

On February 9, 2005, I went into labor, and D drove me to the hospital, helped me during my seventeen-and-a-half hours of labor, and cried with joy when you were born at 10:39 a.m. on Thursday, February 10, your due date.  He cut the umbilical cord that attached you to me, and he took the very first picture of you—being measured on a scale.

The doctors rushed you to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit because you were not breathing when you were born.  They quickly attached you to a breathing machine, called a ventilator.  And when we were first allowed to visit you in Intensive Care, all of the nurses told us what a cute baby you were, and D said, “Thanks,” just like any proud father would.

I was able to hold you for the first time in the wee hours of the following morning, while D slept on an uncomfortable couch in my hospital room.  When he woke up, I told him how wonderful it was to hold you and that he was going to love you so much when he was able to.  He said, “I already love him.”

Greg and Jack in the hospitalIn fact, he was so in love with you that he sat with you for hours when you were in Intensive Care, he helped me bring you home on Valentine’s Day—even giving you your first card—and he showed pictures of you to anyone who would look at them.  He displayed photos of you throughout his office.  And he talked about you constantly, bragging about how you rolled over at just two weeks old and all of your other accomplishments.

But Mama and D had only known each other for nine months, not a very long time, so we had to make sure that we wanted to be together forever before we made a decision about D’s long-term role in your life. 

You and I spent every single night and weekend with D.  He would snuggle with you on the couch every night.  He would try to calm you down when you wouldn’t stop crying.  And, when you were two-and-a-half months old, he told me that he wanted to be involved in your life as your father—forever.  From that day on, we referred to him as Daddy.

When Daddy asked Mama to marry him on November 23, 2005, she said, “Of course.”  He next said that he wanted to adopt you and for both you and me to take his last name.  I said yes!

Adoption is a complicated process.  A lawyer told Daddy that it would be easiest for him to adopt you after Mama and Daddy had gotten married, because then he would be my legal husband.  Knowing that we had made a legal commitment to each other would make a judge more likely to permit Daddy to adopt you as his son.

Two days after our December 16, 2006, wedding, the first day that businesses were open, he called the lawyer to start the process.  Six-and-a-half months later, on June 29, 2007, Daddy became your legal father and you his legal son.  And Daddy’s two sons, A and B, officially became your brothers, although in their eyes they’ve been your brothers all along. 

Daddy teases that, someday, you’re going to be really mad at him because you’d originally had such a great last name—Kennedy.  But having such a wonderful Daddy far outweighs the importance of a name.  And I think you will feel proud to have Daddy’s last name as your own, just as I am, because I changed my last name too.

  1. marciaellis
    February 14th, 2010 at 20:27
    Reply | Quote | #1

    Mary Katherine,
    I have so enjoyed reading your posts…I came upon your site when researching DES exposure…I too am DES exposed and have an abnormally shaped/hooded cervix. I have three children ages, 17(boy), 14(boy),and 12(girl). I had issues with my cervix thinning starting at 20 weeks with all three of them and took the drug Brethine(yuck!)combined with bedrest with success and had all of them at 36/37 weeks. My doctor used me as a teaching device for “textbook DES exposure” whenever I was in the office/hospital to show the residents what a DES cervix looked like! I felt like a freak show! I was just researching to find if there has been any secondary effects in the children of DES daughters…my ob/gyn said there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that it is passed on to our children..hope so! I’m rooting for you and your pregnancy…you seem like somebody I would love to hang out with! Can’t wait to hear what comes next for you…good luck!

    Marcia Ellis
    Cincinnati Ohio

  2. mk
    February 15th, 2010 at 18:38
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Hi, Marcia.

    I remember you! Unfortunately, evidence does exist that DES Granddaughters can be affected by their mothers’ exposure to DES in utero. Regarding DES Grandsons, anamolies exist, but can’t be definitively linked to their mothers’ DES exposure. The most-recent DES Action VOICE newsletter addresses this specific topic, and, if you contact Fran Howell, DES Action’s Executive Director, she will be happy to send you any past articles on this issue. A link to DES Action’s website is on the right hand on this home page. I will also look at my DES books to see if I can find any other information for you.

    And, last, I can’t remember if I mentioned this last time, but I lived in Cincinnati from 1985-1995, went to Sycamore High School for my final year and a half of high school, then to Miami University, then back to Cincinnati, where I worked at an ad agency, then the Cincinnati Museum Center. I lived first in Montgomery, then in Mt. Lookout.

    MK

  3. marciaellis
    February 16th, 2010 at 13:26
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Hi Mary Katherine!
    I didn’t think my last post went through-I never saw it posted on the site! I didn’t know you lived in Cincinnati, how cool! I went to Badin High School(in Hamilton) and then to St Mary’s College in South Bend Indiana. I met my husband in the summer during college and we both moved back here after college. I worked for Fifth Third Bank until my daughter was born and I’ve stayed home ever since. My son(a senior at St. Xavier H.S.) is 90% sure he’s going to Miami next year! He absolutely loves it up there. I will definitely check out the DES website…I had a feeling I hadn’t heard the end of that issue! Have you decided what you’re going to name your new little guy???

  4. mk
    February 17th, 2010 at 16:36
    Reply | Quote | #4

    Marcia:
    I e-mailed you, so I could forward you an electronic copy of the DES Action VOICE newsletter, which features an article about DES impact on granddaughters and grandsons. And, yes, we have finally, finally decided on a name.

    MK

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