It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Shira Duby. Shira and I connected through her work on the board of Uprooted; A Jewish Response to Infertility. In her professional life, Shira is an attorney at Fidelity Investments and a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. At home, Shira and her husband Ronn are the proud parents of twin boys and Tyson, their dog. Shira is a New Englander through and through, having grown up, and currently living, in Sharon, MA.
People struggling with infertility don’t often share their struggle with the world. When using a gestational carrier, there’s little choice. Without a belly, you just can’t tell your co-workers you are about to start maternity leave without causing complete and utter confusion (especially when you say you’re expecting twins!). But, even if I didn’t have to share my story with the world, I got to the point where I wanted to, because my dreams were finally coming true. On top of that, I had a gestational surrogate, Heidi, who needed me to be proud and supportive, and I had two baby boys on the way that needed me to be comfortable with their story so that they too (once old enough to understand it) can learn to be comfortable with it. And so, for the very best of reasons, I came out of the infertility closet. I put up pictures on my refrigerator and in my office of my husband’s hand on Heidi’s belly. I bought Heidi a t-shirt that said “pregnant with another man’s baby (and his wife is thrilled!)”. I posted on Facebook (which is SO not me). I became very open with my story, and, eventually, I became grateful for my story.
My husband Ronn and I wanted a family more than anything, which made infertility that much more devastating for us. When our doctor first recommended that we use a gestational surrogate, we immediately rejected the idea. How could we ever be comfortable with someone else carrying and delivering our child? It felt too sci-fi. We had tried only two IVF cycles, and we weren’t yet ready to stop. However, after several (more) surgeries to increase fertility, after several (more) IVF cycles, and after getting an opinion from yet another clinic, it was recommended that we stop trying, and so we did.
To this day, I still hate when people tell me stories about that couple who stopped trying and then magically became pregnant, because, for me, I had to not only stop trying but I had to also accept my infertility as permanent before I could consider alternatives. I had to accept my infertility as permanent in order to become a mom.
Heidi didn’t just give me my babies; she gave me myself back – the self that I had lost during the rollercoaster of infertility treatments and the emotional pain and agony that always accompanied them. Heidi carried my twins with more love, care, devotion, and goodness than I thought possible, and she shared it all with me.
On March 22, 2014, my children were born via C-section. Heidi was told she could only have one person in the operating room. That person was not her husband, though it could have been. That person was me. I am grateful that people like her exist in this crazy world. My children may be young, but they know her. More importantly, my children will always know her. There is no awkwardness and no competition. I am their mommy. She is the helpful woman who brought them into their mommy and daddy’s lives.
Infertility is hard, but I wouldn’t change a thing. It was worth every failed effort. It was worth every time I cried like I a child – cried heart wrenching, belly aching, tears that felt like they would break me. It was all worth it. Because now I have two happy, healthy baby boys, and I am amazed by them every single day. If I had found my family any other way, I wouldn’t have the exact two children that I do. And they are funny. And they are beautiful. And they can be cranky. And they can be whiney. And I would never, ever want any other children other than the two that I am so very lucky to hold every single morning and every single night.
You never get over the experience of infertility. It is one that changes your chemical makeup. It is a painful experience that you take with you as you move forward. But you do move forward. The experience is not forever (though it will seem like it at the time). Infertility ends. It ends in the way that is right for you. It is not forever. My children, however, my children are my forever.
Journey to Parenting is brought to you by Stork Ready. Stork Ready is conveniently located 15 miles north of Boston at 325 Main Street in North Reading. Offering a wide range of classes and support groups. Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, Infant CPR, Newborn Essentials, Mommy and Baby Groups, Lactation and Postpartum Adjustment Support Groups. All in a relaxed homelike atmosphere. Their experienced staff are certified in many fields as well as work on labor and delivery & maternity units. Visit their website to see all that they offer.
If you have a story that you’d like to tell, please email me. We’re looking for guest posts of about 300-600 words long, accompanied by a couple of pictures.