Today R2M is excited to share a story only God could orchestrate. Life has its ups and downs much like a song. Some parts resonate deep within us while others leave us wondering and confused. I love how a lost kitten has played such a major role in the story of Amanda and Dave’s infertility journey. Please take a minute to check out the Herring’s music before you read their remarkable story. You can check out their new extended play with songs dedicated to their infertility journey at daveherring.bandcamp.com – Traci
A message from Amanda:
“In 2010, my husband and I got married and we knew that we wanted to start a family quickly. We tried for about a year before investigating why nothing was happening. I remember friends around me getting pregnant quickly, and it was honestly difficult to be excited when month after month we kept seeing negative lines on our pregnancy tests. My sister-in-law had also become pregnant with their first, and as thrilled as I was for my brother and his wife, and for me to become an aunt, I didn’t understand why it wasn’t as easy for me to get pregnant. Come to find out, I had PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.) We tried a few different fertility treatments and after several months of still having no results, our doctor pretty much told us our last option was IVF or adoption.
I felt so broken. I remember the distinct thought of not feeling like a true woman, to carry and birth a child, what women are on this earth to do. I felt like I was failing my husband, to carry on his bloodline for generations to come. I felt like I was robbing my husband of a direct lineage from him. I felt like a failure to women and a failure to the man I loved. Dave reassured me and comforted me so much through these thoughts. He gave us so much hope and never wanted me to blame myself for what was happening. He said that an adopted child would mean just as much to him as a child conceived by us.
We grieved pretty hard at the conclusion of never having a pregnancy. Honestly, what really got us through was a little kitten that our friend found. He stumbled across him out in the woods and the kitten followed him. They hung out in the deer stand the entire day while he hunted. I was cleaning his mom’s house every other week, and she came home with this affectionate, 4 month old, black kitten. He followed me around purring, swatted the broom, and didn’t leave my side the day I met him. I remember sitting on her couch for a couple of minutes while he went back and forth across me purring and pushing his fuzzy face against mine. I literally cried while he was loving on me that day on the couch. I had a mini meltdown thinking about what was happening in our lives, and this fur ball was, for a moment, a bit of unexpected comfort after some devastating news.
My husband hates cats so I didn’t even think to ask if we could keep him (she was trying to find him a home). I told Dave about the kitten in passing when he asked how my day was. The lady whose house I was cleaning was about to go out of town for the week and mentioned us watching him for her. She joked about having a master plan for Dave to fall in love with and keep the kitten. I laughed and told her that would never happen but that I would ask if we could watch him while she was away. I went home and asked Dave. He said nothing and stared at me without blinking. Then he said with a huge smile, ‘There’s no way that I’m going to let you have a kitten for a week, get attached, and then send him back. And way to ruin Christmas, I was going to put a kitten under the tree for you! Well….Merry Christmas a month early!’ We both laughed and kissed and picked up the kitten the next evening. We named him Crunchy (my other cat who lives with my mom and dad is named Chewy). Dave tried really hard to not like Crunchy…but after one night, he was in love with Crunchy more than I was. Crunchy really helped us get through the next year and a half of infertility and pursuing adoption. It gave us something to care for and love while we waited and prayed.
As we started to think about our next steps, IVF or adoption, we were strolling down a grocery aisle, and Dave looked at me and said, ‘I think we should adopt.’ I teared up instantly, as I was feeling the same thing but wanted Dave to mention it first. We talked more in depth over the weeks after bringing up both our desires to adopt, and we took our infertility as a sign from God that we were meant to adopt. We attempted to leave our desires of pregnancy behind us (a dream that was so painful to let go of), and move forward with the hopes of our growing family in a new way. We attended several classes through the adoption agency, began a plan that was involved with adoption (the delivery experience, visits and involvement with the family after we have adopted the baby, preparing for possible grieving if the mother changed her mind and decide to keep the baby even after the baby was in our home for several weeks, etc.), we started to put together our book to show expecting mothers, and began saving up to pay the $20,000 price tag for our little bundle of joy.
I remember the pain I would feel when those mothers that had gotten pregnant at the beginning of our parent journey start to get pregnant again with their second baby and we were still childless. I clung onto the dream of being a mother and trusted that God had a plan that I was so impatient to wait on.
Before we went full on into the adoption process and enter into the system, my husband took a new job opportunity in Arizona! We were living in Minnesota at the time. (We both grew up in North Carolina, and moved to Minnesota in 2010.) Although we adored the life we had in the Midwest, we were excited to go from a freezer to an oven and leave the 90 inches of snow behind us for cacti and desert. We love adventure and felt it was a good time to help leave the pain of our infertility chapter behind us in Minnesota and start fresh in Arizona with hopes of adoption. We had already felt called to adopt a Hispanic baby, and at the time, the adoption process was half the price of Minnesota’s costs, so it felt perfect to pursue.
We packed up with tears, as we absolutely cherished, loved, and held so dear to us our Minnesotan family in Dassel. We hit the road and began a new chapter. Once we were settled in, we visited an adoption agency in Arizona. At the same time Arizona decided to match other states and double the cost. We were deflated. We hoped that moving to Arizona would help us adopt a baby faster since the price was nearly half. Now we would have to wait even longer while we saved more money to cover all costs.
We only lived in Arizona for less than a year until we decided it was not where we wanted to be. Sometime in those months, I woke up in the middle of the night in extreme pain, bleeding, and I could barely make it to the bathroom. We weren’t exactly sure what had happened, but we believe we had an early miscarriage. I set up an appointment with a gynecologist that a lot of our friends went to. When we visited, they sat us in his office. He walked in and barely said much, looking at our files. After about 10 minutes, he looked at us, and said, “You are going to have a baby.” He gave us a new concoction of fertility medications to take, and then he prayed over us for several minutes while we all cried together. It was amazing.
That was the only visit we had with him, as we packed up and headed back east to pursue another job and be closer to family. If you recognize this famous C-section picture, that was our doctor. His name is Dr. Allen Sawyer.
We moved to Virginia in October and we got pregnant the first week we were there. We found out on Halloween day that we were pregnant! We had our first ultrasound on Friday the 13th, and we have an all-black cat….haha!
For us, looking back, all of it was in God’s timing. We aren’t sure what our plans are for future children if we will have any more or not, if we will adopt or not, instead we are letting God guide us as we go. Elijah is our little miracle baby after 3 years of infertility. Our kitten helped ease some pain for us, giving us a little life to care for while we waited on a difficult path to becoming parents.
We pursed adoption in Minnesota, which led us to Arizona, Arizona led us to Dr. Sawyer, which then led us to our pregnancy with Elijah back on the east coast with our family only a car drive and not a plane ride away!”