A View of Birth from an Infertile Womb by Mariah Wickham

January 25, 2012

Heart-in-hand gloves by Yastik izi.

I gave birth 7 1/2 years ago. It was an ordinary labor and delivery, free of complications. Because it was my first, the 10 hours it took from start to finish felt average and acceptable. My boy came screaming into this world weighing 8 lbs. 7 oz at 10:14 am. My husband and I beamed from ear to ear, but no different than other first time parents I’m sure. It was a Wednesday and the last day of March. The weather was typical of early spring in these parts: overcast with a few beams of sunshine.

As he grew we desired to add to our family and see him become a big brother. In fact, we wanted lots of children. We would discover along our journey many painful reports of infertility. We went through in-vitro fertilization 4 times. The third time we became pregnant but then had an early miscarriage. We also prepared for a year for an adoption trip to Russia that ended in failure. Our hearts broke over and over as we struggled to understand why nothing seemed to work out for us. And yet, we had a son who was growing before our eyes. At one time we were able to create life which gave us so much hope for the future, but now life felt replete with heartbreak and discouragement.

In correlation with this discouragement and the setbacks of our efforts, the day of my son’s birth has morphed into the miracle it was always meant to be. Viewing it as a long ways from typical at this point, I see his birth much differently. I embrace him and offer thanks each day for I am more acquainted now with the odds of us conceiving. I also realize that we could go bankrupt trying and still be where we started so I should be content with what we’ve been given. But most of all, I feel grateful because what once felt average now feels awe-inspiring. What once was ordinary is now anything but — we were given a gift that day. A gift so special it would never be repeated or imitated. A miraculous gift that I plan on celebrating for the rest of my life.

From Mariah Wickham.

P.S. — Here’s a wonderful VBAC story from Kasia.

Note from Design Mom: throughout my 6th pregnancy, I posted reader-submitted advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family. My baby is hardly a baby anymore — here’s her birth story and her newborn photos — but the series has been so popular that I’m continuing it indefinitely. You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here. Have a story you’d like to share? I’d love to read it. You can send it to me at gabrielle@designmom.com.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan R. January 25, 2012 at 10:20 am

What a touching and lovely story. I wouldn’t call it a story of discouragement, but a story of celebration, for you are lucky to be celebrating the birth of your child, as it should be.
Working in the infertility field for several years myself, I wouldn’t want anyone to have to experience that process, but I wish others could see and celebrate birthdays the way you have.
Best Wishes Always


2 Elizabeth Poll January 25, 2012 at 10:20 am



3 jenn January 25, 2012 at 10:32 am

i love this…. I am the proud mother of an almost-three-year-old girl. We struggled to have her and we struggled to have more after she was born. Now we realize just how amazing she is and how lucky we are to have her. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t soak in her loveliness.


4 Sarah January 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

I was given only one son as well. This happened 42 years ago. I am happy to say that he was everything a son should be. Also, he never wanted his kids to be only children and he has five kid of his own. Life has many blessing in many forms.


5 Marlys Folly January 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

This is a very touching story for me…. and you are very blessed to have a child. I have had 3 miscarriages over the last 5.5 years and my doctor thinks I have had conceived many more times but missed before I even knew that I was pregnant ~~ although I felt I knew. We have tried everything, but nothing has helped so far. My story is a little bit different as I was 42 when I got married and so with my age, the chances of conceiving goes down, although we keep praying that it may happen as as long as I keep menstruating I may keep ovulating and it may happen. We are also hoping to adopt my husband’s nephew whose mother passed away, but as neither of us are american citizens and the child is in Africa the process will be longer and take more work. Be blessed with your child and not disappointed and pray that more children may be in your horizon. Marlys


6 becki January 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

This is wonderful. I have a similar story. I think many women do. I am always amazed when I know a family with many children. What an amazing blessing and miracle! I have never had a problem conceiving (it has never taken more than a year), but always miscarry. Going through this has made me realize that not only are the children who are born huge blessings, but that medicine is very unsophisticated. We know so little about the miracle of life.


7 Chellese Bunker January 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

Love you Mariah! An unexpected gift to find your story here today.


8 Mindika Thiebaud January 25, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Love you Mariah! You are an amazing women!


9 bink and boo January 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thank you for sharing your journey. This is beautifully written.


10 Christa the BabbyMama January 25, 2012 at 1:09 pm

I fear this may become my story and yet it’s a fear that’s tempered with the knowledge that I made one miracle. And should this become my story, as the years go by, I know in my heart it will have been enough.


11 Emi January 25, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Beautiful, inspiring words! Thank you for your hard-fought perspective.


12 Erin January 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I admire all the women who are willing to share stories of heartbreak and sadness in their journey of motherhood. As someone who has also loved and buried, loved and rejoiced, and may love and lose again, I’m grateful for the generous hearts of theses guest bloggers.


13 Ceri January 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

I also gave birth to my only child 7 years ago and like Mariah, feel that she is ‘a gift so special it would never be repeated or imitated. A miraculous gift that I plan on celebrating for the rest of my life.’. Unlike Mariah, we had our struggle before my daughter was born (I had lost 3 babies). People who didn’t know about our problems always wanted to know when we would add to our family, but truly, after feeling for so long that I would never be a mother, when she arrived all of my dreams had come true. I didn’t need anything else to make my life complete.


14 barchbo January 25, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are definitely not alone!

I am 41 and have a 15 month old son. I have also had two miscarriages (maybe more.) I feel so blessed to have our boy and believe that he is such a miracle though we are sometimes frustrated and disappointed in having just one child. We would love to be blessed with a sibling for him, but we try to focus on the delightful miracle he is.

Even in labor, I thought: this isn’t bad – how many people would trade with me? Even with one child, so many people yearn to have that. I try to be positive and grateful for the sake of my husband and I don’t want my son to feel that he “isn’t enough.”


15 Anneliese January 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

You are doubly blessed: with a miraculous son, and the wisdom to appreciate his miracle! Thank you for sharing your perspective.


16 joanna goddard January 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm

this is beautiful. i really love this series. thank you, gabrielle xoxo joanna


17 anissajo January 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

LOVE that you were willing to share this story with others. What a gift you have for writing and expressing the emotion of what you have gone through. You are truly an inspiration to many. I love you Mariah!


18 Jen January 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Love that you shared this. Every child is a blessing to be thankful for.


19 Rachelle @ PictureSmiths January 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

I could have wrote this. Our son is 7 1/2, as well, and my husband and I have been TTC for over 5 years. He certainly is a miracle. Thank you for sharing your story, Mariah. Much love from our little family of three. :)


20 amy January 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

thank you so much for sharing this story. this really hit close to my heart because I was struggling with whether or not we would be able to add to our family after losing a baby in the second trimester last year. we are soooo blessed because we have a two year old who really is a miracle, as all babies are. i decided instead of agonizing the what if’s i will lay it to rest and enjoy every minute with my baby girl.


21 Katrina January 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Secondary Infertility is the Alsace-Lorraine of trying to have a family of more than 1 – Those who never could have kids think you’re ungrateful & people who have them when they want them don’t quite “get it” either. You saw things going differently in your head, and that dream is hard to alter. I hope that souls seeking love & shelter will find their way to you – in a No Mans Land that can feel quite vast & unforgiving. You are not alone.


22 Lindsey from therhouse.com January 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm

What an incredible example of living in the now and savoring the moment while still daring to dream!

Love from one infertility survivor to another!



23 Wendi January 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm

This sounds so similar to my story! I had no idea when I gave birth to my daughter 10 years and 2 days ago that it was the miracle that is was.


24 Morgan January 25, 2012 at 6:00 pm

I love this story. I suffered from primary infertility, and now have one daughter (we have not been brave enough to try for a sibling as of yet). I do believe the one gift infertility gave me was valuing the miracle of my daughter and absolutely never taking her existence for granted. It is not that I think infertility makes you love your children more or anything like that. But I do think it gives you a perspective that is impossible to understand without the struggle.


25 Seattle Lulu January 25, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Thank you for sharing this. While I do enjoy reading accounts with surprise endings, your story reminds me that my 4 year old daughter is already my dream come true.


26 Eva @ Sycamore Street Press January 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Thank you for this story. Thank you.


27 Jamie January 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm

this is beautiful. i tried to conceive for 8 years before i finally found my son through adoption. he is almost 3 now and it is the joy and light of my life. it’s nice to see that someone who HAS conceived and given birth sees what a beautiful and miraculous gift it truly is. i’m sorry that you struggled while trying to add to your family ~ that pain and disappointment is like no other.


28 Amber January 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm

So sweet. As we try for our second, I can’t but help think that we will have to try for over a year (like our first). I like her attitude about appreciating what she has and that maybe one is enough. http://obsessivision.com/


29 Mariah January 25, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Thank you, Gabby, for including my story here. It’s both humbling and empowering to hear of others who have struggled in the same manner. What a wonderful thing the internet can be to connect to so many. <3


30 Cynthia January 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Thank you for sharing, I am currently in the same situation. my heart breaks that my son may not know what it is to have a sibling. He is amazing and such a gift. I don’t feel that he isn’t enough but that I have failed him in not giving him a sibling. Letting go of what you thought would be is the hardest part. Thank you for your perspective of not loosing site of what you have.


31 Emily January 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Lovely. Inspiring words that hot home.


32 Mairi January 26, 2012 at 5:17 am

I love this series. I love reading these stories. They give me so much hope. I am not a mom yet. I hope to be one in the future. But I try to keep in mind that my life is beautiful and worthy, even without a child in my life.

I loved your honesty, Mariah. What an open heart you have. I love how sharing these stories makes us feel connected and close, and somehow “normal”.


33 Keira January 26, 2012 at 6:14 am

As one who has been there (IS there), I am grateful for your seeming patience in the situation. People always seem to get irritated when I talk about infertility, because I have one here, so I should just be grateful. Or nothing could be THAT wrong with me. But secondary infertility is still infertility. And I think it creates more of a time crunch. an 8-year gap is a REALLY big gap when raising children.


34 Tabitha (From Single to Married) January 26, 2012 at 6:38 am

So beautifully written and a good reminder too! My husband and I were talking about something similar just last night. I’m currently 40 with a two year old and we’re trying for baby #2. It’s been five months so far and nothing yet so we were discussing whether or not we would pursue outside help if it comes down to it. For the first time we considered the possibility that our son might be our only child; I had never really thought of it like that before. It gives me a new perspective for sure and I’m going to be even more aware and in-the-moment especially as they may be the only moments like these that I get to experience as a mother.


35 Sandra January 26, 2012 at 11:14 am

Mariah’s story is similar to mine with the addition of it taking almost three years to have our daughter. We also tried domestic and international adoption but hit all sorts of roadblocks. We gave up on infertility treatments and then I fell pregnant. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the g-ds for our daughter. We came so close to not having a family…


36 Lissy January 26, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Beautiful. I have secondary infertility and marvel at the miracles in my life.


37 KeAnne January 26, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Beautiful and I feel the same way. We had our son via gestational surrogacy and while we’d love another, it feels almost greedy (not to mention expensive and somewhat impossible) to try for a sibling. His birth was the most shocking, yet wonderful thing I’ve ever seen, and I treasure him.


38 Samantha OMalley January 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Love this story! It is so similar to my own, as I’m sure so many others as well. I’m grateful everyday for my one and only son, who’s now 11.


39 Chessa! January 27, 2012 at 11:16 am

Thank you so much for sharing this brave and thoughtful story. My daughter was born via IVF after a long struggle with infertility, countless treatments, and emotional and physical stress that was the result of the infertility and I recently shared my story as a guest post on Cup of Jo for her Motherhood Monday series. Before I had actually written all down, I’d never shared my truth with anyone other than with a few close friends and family. It was both daunting, scary and extremely cathartic putting it out there for anyone to see. I read through all the comments on the post and I felt so encouraged and inspired by all the women who shared their similar stories. I feel that way now after reading this.


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