We first met Christina & Mike five years ago, when Mike’s brother, Dan, married his sweetheart, Michelle, at the Langham Hotel in Boston. It was just before we started the blog, so no photos to share. Sorry. Fortunately, we got to see them again a few years later when they came to the Cape as part of our annual family photo session with Dan & Michelle. Click HERE for a peek.
I remember talking with Christina during that session. The subject of babies came up…as it so often does with me. She shared that she & Mike had been trying to have a baby for four years. But so far, it just wasn’t happening for them. My heart ached for them, because like Dan & Michelle, Christina and Mike are wonderful, loving, fun, giving, kind, good people…the sort of people who were meant to have children.
This past April, Christina reached out to us about setting up a photo session for her & Mike and their two sweet pooches…Shelby & Zoey. We were excited about having some one-on-one time with them, and e-mailed back and forth to find a convenient date. We got busy and so did they. A couple of months passed before we heard from them again, but when the call finally came, it was better news than we had expected….
They were pregnant and due in February. Woooooo hooooo!!! Yippeeee! And, happy dances all around!!! Instead of a family session of 4, the session would now include their little love-nugget-in-the-making. Such joy!
We were so excited to see them when we got together for our session a few weeks ago. Hugs were exchanged and Andy & I were so happy to see them both looking so well and happy and excited about their baby.
It’s a boy….Liam! Insert happy sigh…
In planning this post, I asked Christina how she felt about sharing the story of her struggle to conceive. I tend to be an over-sharer, but realize not everyone is the same. Her response left me welled up with happy tears. She & her words are so full of love and hope and inspiration. So, I thought I would just let sweet Christina narrate this post.
Without further ado, say hello to two very happy soon-to-be parents Mike & Christina:
“I am usually pretty private, except with family & close friends, but this journey has really taught me that it’s OK and can even be a blessing to be really open and honest with others,” Christina told us. “In fact, I have had some of the best and most emotional conversations of my life with people (sometimes even strangers) that I would never have thought possible, because I took the time to open up.”
“I have met so many beautiful and brave women going through infertility and it’s absolutely heartbreaking…but then a miracle happens and it just changes everything. I believe in never giving up; there will always be a way. You will always find an answer; you just have to have patience.”
“Michael is in my humble opinion, the most amazing husband in the entire world and I could not imagine my life without him. He is my soul mate, my best friend, my other half. I truly thank God each day that this is the man I get to share life’s journey with.”
“He has held me up and kept me going in the moments where I just wanted to give up. He never once complained or got tired of all the doctor visits (we ended up seeing 5 different doctors over the years). ”
He never left my side for even a minute and has always told me, ‘Of course we are goign to have a baby.’ …’I promise it will happen; I just know it.’…’We are meant to be parents.’ He is always right there in the waiting rooms and in the doctors’ offices with me.”
Married for seven and a half years, Christina & Mike met in 1999 at Stonehill College and it was instant love. “I knew within the first week that this was the person I was going to marry,” Christina told us.
“We always talked about having children, even in college. I knew that this was the person I was meant to have children with. I have been dreaming about what our children would look like and who they would become since then.”
Christina & Mike have enjoyed many happy moments. Like their wedding day. They said, “I do!” in June 2005, at the same church where Mike’s parents got married. But, like every good love story, there have also been challenges.
A year into their marriage, they decided they were ready to start making the family they had dreamed about. But, it didn’t happen as they had hoped.
“It was all….timing my cycles, taking temperatures, fertility drugs and IUI’s…and then being told over and over again, ‘We can’t find anything wrong. We don’t know why it’s not happening.'” Then one day….everything changed.
“On just an average day, I was talking with one of the mothers at the school where I work and she asked me about my plans for a family. At first, I was a little hesitant to open up; I wasn’t sure it was appropriate. But, she started to tell me that her father is a doctor at Mass General and she personally knew many of the infertility doctors there and would give me a referral.”
“The conversation was just a simple quick moment that ended up changing our lives forever. I call Laurie my angel because she brought me one step closer to Liam.”
“Mike & I met the doctor she recommended, Dr. Shifren, who is my other angel here on Earth. And, literally, within just a few months, I was pregnant after our first IVF cycle.” ***Can I get a hallelujah!?!!! Yipppeeee!!!****
“Mike & I have been on a cloud ever since and looking back on our journey, I wouldn’t change a thing. This was our journey. All of the conversations, the doctors and all of the special and incredibly brave women I met through this process have made our journey worth every single minute. The good, the bad and the ugly. All of it!”
“I also wouldn’t change a single moment because it brought us Liam…the light of our lives. ”
“He is so, so, so loved and already so funny all on his own. He lets me know what’s going on in there all of the time. For example, if I eat something too spicy (which I used to love) he immediately lets me know that it was not a good idea. In fact, I call him my little ninja. He’s all kick, kick, punch….spin, kick, kick, punch.”
“We can’t wait to meet this little guy and have so enjoyed dreaming about all of the things we will do together as a family very soon.”
Christina & Mike thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing your story with us in such an open & heartfelt way. Thank you too for sharing this exciting time in your family’s life with us and entrusting us to document it for you. We know how important this pregnancy and Liam is to you both (and your families) and the honor of being able to record this happy time in photographs is not lost on us! We could not be happier for you both and for sweet Liam too. That is one very lucky little boy to have found his way into a life so rich with love! With big, big congratulations and hugs sized to match, Christine & Andy xoxo