You have taken this to community and beyond. The first Sunday Series was the most viewed/shared blog ever posted on this site, like nothing I have ever seen. And we are only scratching the surface of what is possible. I ask you to remember the mission of this series: to tell YOUR story. Stories about people who overcome great obstacles, show tremendous courage or sacrifice, those who live their lives in a way we can all emulate, and those who are not working to live, but living their work, their dream, doing the one thing they were born to do. My dream, to give back.
The Sunday Series, Chapter Two: Soul Purpose
No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you. After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.
- A quote from any Mother
Traci Kodeck yearned to feel that love. She always wanted to be a Mom. But by the time she neared her 39th birthday, the right man had still not come along to help make Traci’s dream of motherhood a reality. Or maybe he had, but the right man to Traci was someone who wanted to have children and her last relationship ended for just that reason. No kids, no marriage, no deal. Time to move on.
On a trip to Utah to celebrate her 39th birthday with a good friend, Traci made the decision to go it alone. The desire was too strong, and in human hours, months and years, the clock was ticking. The right man was nowhere in sight. So Traci decided to experience life’s greatest miracle on her own and become a single mother. What she didn’t know at the time; G-d had other plans.
As she began her journey, Traci’s doctor ran some tests to check for any structural damage, turns out there was an abnormality in the uterus. A laparoscopic surgery was scheduled for September of 2010 and the issue was corrected. By November of that year, Traci took her first steps toward motherhood by purchasing sperm, and having an insemination.
Her first try was unsuccessful. No go, no pregnancy. Time to get ready for round two.
Even the average woman has only about a 20% chance of actually getting pregnant during each cycle. But for Traci, her second time around she beat the odds. The insemination worked, she was pregnant, but it was short lived. At ten weeks in Traci had a miscarriage. As anyone who has ever experienced one knows miscarriages are common, but it was still disappointing. Don’t forget Traci was making this journey alone. She said her family and friends were incredibly supportive, but it was her dream, her desire, her destiny and she wanted it more than anything else.
A 3rd try, a 4th try, no success. But on the 5th insemination, it took hold, and Traci was pregnant again. A joy that lasted less than two months. At seven weeks the baby’s heart stopped beating. The summer of 2011 was now one of discontent and disappointment. In the midst of all these attempts, the doctors, including a high risk OB, were busy running all sorts of tests. One theory for all the trouble was possible chromosomal conflict. But nothing conclusive. The only thing anyone knew for sure, Traci’s dream was on hold again, but her desire for that feeling of unconditional love kept her fight going. Sometimes to witness a miracle you need a little help along the way.
During this period Traci found a place of refuge, reflection and community, http://www.singlemothersbychoice.org/, there she could communicate with others going through the same challenges, setbacks and stories of success, which kept her inspired. She needed it, especially after her 6th and 7th tries were still unsuccessful. Pregnancy seemed like a distant dream.
As Traci learned and as I too am learning, the global community created by the internet might just be the greatest single invention in recorded history to bring humans together. Traci was flying solo, but was always just one click away from a friend fighting for the same dream, and if lucky, soaring high and living that dream as well.
By her 8th attempt a long-time friend had come to Traci’s rescue, offering to be a sperm donor. But the end result was the same…a miscarriage. Another try, now number 9, ended without pregnancy. The road to a dream was getting rough, but sometimes pursuit of that dream and failure after failure leads you to look for another path, a different light, a new way. Through the single mother online support group Traci found the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM). A phone consult, a plane ride out west, meetings with social workers, financial counselors and a complete range of new testing and finally the doctors were ready for a recommendation: IVF with genetic testing. This time the process would start outside Traci’s body, in a petri dish in Denver, and if the embryo was healthy it would then be placed inside, for Traci to carry the baby to term.
The process was a success, six embryos were created, and each one had a cell removed for genetic testing. Two weeks after those tests began, the doctors called. Only one of the six embryos was healthy, the other five had chromosomal abnormalities. Traci’s chances were down to a single embryo. If this didn’t work, she was out of options and out of money. Her best and only chance was this single embryo, a $30,000 roll of the dice. There weren’t dollars for another go-round and after nine other tries, if Traci had to call it quits, who could blame her. She had given it everything she had, her time, her money, her heart. If this was to be her higher calling, then this was her time.
August 24th, 2012, Traci flew back to Denver for the frozen embryo transfer. Two weeks later and now back home, Traci had confirmation, she was pregnant. Her local OB kept close watch, checkups every two weeks, and this time she made it to the end of the first trimester. And because of the genetic testing, Traci got some bonus news, the doctors could tell her the baby’s sex, Traci now knew she was having a girl. And she was three months in now; her longest pregnancy to date.
If you want to learn what humility is, create life. If you want to know what love is, hold a child in your arms. If you want to know what a miracle is, talk to Traci. She knows and she can tell you the moment: May 6th 2013, 11:37AM. She can tell you the size of that miracle, 7 pounds, 3 ounces. And she can tell you the name of that miracle: Zola.
In all of human history there is no greater gift than that of life. To hold a child, your child, and to feel two hearts beat as one. Traci Kodeck made the choice and took that journey alone. She fought for and found her soul purpose.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
(If you have an idea for the Sunday Series, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org)