Not a Baby Story: Ian & Allison Edition
I’m standing in the 97 degree heat when Allison emerges from her office to meet me for lunch. As she approaches—bundled in a red cardigan and black dress pants—I make out the wry smile on her face. “It’s freezing in there,” she says, head bobbing back toward the bank. After we both order a California White from Ultimate California Pizza, I ask Allison to pretend I don’t know anything about her and start from the beginning.
She met 19-year-old Ian in 2000, when she was 17. From the moment they started dating that same year, both knew marriage would be a given.
Indeed it was. The couple tied the knot on November 5, 2005. “I always knew Ian wanted kids, but never really gave much thought to having them. I was career oriented.” Allison graduated college in 2004 and Ian followed in 2009. “Only after all that, did we talk about kids. We decided not to not try to have kids,” she says with a laugh. “It’s funny how everyone puts it that way.”
Allison calls her first longing for children the “light bulb moment”. “I realized I no longer wanted kids for Ian. I wanted a family with him.” That realization is what brought her to the doctor when the not not trying failed to produce any babies.
She flashes a sheepish grin and confesses to being a Type A personality who keeps spreadsheets. But because of her due diligence, her doctor diagnosed her with PCOS (typically a treatable condition) in December 2011.
By that point, Ian and Allison were fielding the kid question more often. “Maybe one day was my standard line. Because that ended the conversation. I think I just wasn’t ready to talk about it.” Her first sign of hope came after her doctor added a medication in December 2012. Allison’s Type A personality paid off. She was able to see her body responding to the meds.
Our food hasn’t come yet but Allison grows quiet. Knots form in my stomach as I watch her blue eyes fill with tears. This past April, Ian and Allison discovered they were 6 weeks pregnant. One week later, she miscarried. “It was by far the lowest point in this process. In that week—thanks to my obsessive mind and Pinterest—I had my nursery planned out. I don’t even know what else to say,” she manages.
She takes a few moments to compose herself and continues. “I can see how people let depression set in. How they can sit on the couch for a week, watch Nicholas Sparks movies and cry. At first I felt guilty—it was my body not working the way it’s supposed to. And then seeing how excited Ian was …” She trails off. “He’s always tried to be strong for me—so I don’t feel like such a hot mess. But it was rough on him.” She pauses. “I’ve heard people relate their experience to a roller coaster ride. For us, it was more like Doctor Doom at Islands of Adventure—the ride shoots you up unexpectedly and then drops you back down.”
By this time our pizza has arrived. So I almost choke when Allison tells me that the events in May ended up being a repeat of April. “At least I was more guarded. I took the news of my second pregnancy with a grain of salt. So it really was easier when it didn’t work out.” But tears again pool in her baby blues.
Allison tells me this process has forced her to become a more patient person. “At first, it’s easy to say that there’s a plan. That it will happen when it’s supposed to. But you really have to accept that reasoning at some point.” She laughs as she shares some of her internal dialog with God. “If You could just teach me patience through ANY other method … that’d be g-rr-ee-aa-t,” she says, sounding a little like Bill Lumbergh in Office Space.
“I don’t know how you go through it without the comfort of knowing God has a plan for you. That’s the only thing that’s provided me true peace about it. I truly have a deeper and more honest appreciation for the blessings we have. I am blessed far more than I deserve with my husband (especially), family, friends, and church. And I have a far greater appreciation for the value these hold in my life.”
An Aside: Ian & Allison live in Conway, SC with their dog Shea and evil, soul-thieving cat Abner. Ian is a Registered Nurse at a local hospital and Allison is a Controller at a bank with a really nice looking lobby. Allison is also an expert at performing a choke-hold, so don’t mess with her. Just ask Ian.