A Miracle Baby for an Earth Angel
Photo credit: Adesh Ramdeen, Pixel Art Photography
If it’s true that there are angels who walk among us, Ren McMillan is most definitely one. You will never meet a gentler soul. As a student in college, her door was always open to a neighbor in need of a shoulder to cry on, a friend to vent to or a warm meal. I sat on her bed on many occasions, rambling on about this or that. She always listened with a friendly ear and without judgment. She became a treasured friend.
Ren inspired me even back then with her love of life and determination to attain her goals, in spite of her life long struggles with illness. She now resides in her home country of Trinidad and Tobago with her toddler son and husband. She recently wrote and published her first children’s book “Christmas is Coming.” My son requested it every night for over a month, it was so well written.
With a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, she makes her living tutoring teenagers. Her passion is the written word and her ‘job’ brings her great pleasure. Apart from making her students better readers and writers, she loves the opportunity to influence them to become better human beings.
In this week’s feature, this Amazing Mom, bravely shares the story of her miraculous pregnancy and the blessing of her precious son.
On her struggles with illness and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome:
I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at a young age. For the rest of my teen and adult life I have been faced with a host of medical complications including Fibromyalgia and Ulcerative colitis. In my mid to late twenties the PCOS and a mysterious hormonal imbalance caused me much grief and several hospitalizations. Doctors were unable to find a solution to constant heavy bleeding with no apparent cycle for over 5 years. During that time, I was told that I may never be able to have children. The doctors worried that I may not even be making any eggs. I was heartbroken but still hopeful that I may one day have a baby. I decided that I would adopt a child. So if couldn’t have any kids, I would have jumped straight to that option. Motherhood was the future I imagined for myself. When I got married, I immediately stopped all of my medication in hopes of “purifying my temple”. I knew I couldn’t have a baby while taking as many as 21 pills a day, so I had to make a clean break. It was hard but I was determined.
On discovering her pregnancy:
My husband and I went on a late honeymoon to Grenada. While there, we decided to visit the OBGYN as soon we returned, to begin fertility treatments. The day we returned home from the airport, I stepped into the house and was hit with a wave of nausea. I woke up the next morning and felt the same. With much hope and anxiety, I bought a home pregnancy test. As I waited those 20,000 seconds for the results to appear, my heart beat reverberated throughout the entire house. Two lines! Out of nowhere I kept repeating the word “Alhamdulillah”. I hadn’t used this word in many years, but I could hear my grandfather responding to any good news with this beautiful expression of thanks and I just kept saying it over and over. I was beyond overjoyed. The fears of being able to carry and give birth to a child, with all my health complications were assuaged by my husband’s words. “God won’t give us a miracle to come and take it away.”
On the joys of motherhood:
Motherhood is amazing. The love, the laughter, the bond, the cuddles, the watching him grow! But you know what; I think what brings me the deepest pleasure is teaching him and watching him learn. To see his little wheels turning and his mind expanding more and more every day, is just phenomenal. I take pride in teaching him all that I can. Not just letters and numbers and colors, but about life. I teach him how to be calm, how to express his emotions, how to be respectful. Most importantly, I teach him how to show love. Every time he does or says something new, it’s a huge event. We are often in awe of his understanding, and ability to learn and figure things out. This is the best part, this teaching and learning and growing.
On the challenges of motherhood:
I’m tired. I’m so, so, exhausted, and tired. I haven’t peed alone or slept for more than two hours at a time, in two and a half years. He still breastfeeds every two hours at night, and I am at home with him all day. I get overwhelmed sometimes with the “mummying”, I just want some time by myself, not being touched, not being responsible for anything, not being “on”. This for me is the biggest challenge. I savor the few moments of alone time I do get. Even an "unrushed" shower, by myself, in silence, is a rare, euphoric experience. My health; the pain from the RA and my struggle with the exhaustion that comes with Fibromyalgia is both a blessing and a curse. While it takes an extra physical toll, it’s also made me accustomed to feeling like this even before motherhood. So as difficult as it is, I can handle it.
On how she manages the daily stresses of being a mom:
I finally made two big and difficult changes. First, accepting help when offered, even if it’s not done “my way”. Second, letting some things go. No one cares if it’s halfway through January and you haven’t even started taking down Christmas decorations.
On what she would advise women struggling to conceive:
Set a deadline. We have been trying for a second baby and we made the same rule we did when we first started. Try for two years, and if it doesn’t happen then move on to plan B. This helped us from becoming crazy obsessed and trying one expensive treatment after the next. Going in, we knew it would be a challenge. So, we accepted that it may not happen and already decided that we would adopt if we don’t become pregnant. Remember, the joy, the beauty, the meaning…it all comes from BEING a mom, not from giving birth.
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