The biggest news of one anchor’s life breaks while she is live on air
By Olivia FierroAs a news anchor, it’s typically frowned upon to take a cell phone to the set during a live broadcast. It’s also difficult since my hands are always full with makeup, my earpiece, a water bottle, scripts and the occasional hairbrush. So the night my baby was born; I was otherwise occupied. I was on live TV, reading other people’s news for 90 minutes, totally unaware of the shift in my own universe. The biggest news of my life was breaking at that moment—and I didn’t even know it.
It wasn’t until I returned to the newsroom and received my husband’s call from the hospital that I learned our baby boy had arrived early. Nearly one month early and just 10 days after we met the couple who had chosen us to raise this beautiful child. My mind was spinning: Which hospital? Why one month early? Is he healthy? Have they changed their minds? Is the birth mom okay? Do they want us there? What’s the mood? What will I say? Is this for real? THIS IS NOT WHAT I WANTED TO WEAR FOR THIS OCCASION!
Let me backtrack a moment so this all makes a bit more sense …
One month before this huge announcement, we had been part of an adoption certification course with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada. There would be three days of eight-hour classes to get the ball rolling on a process I expected to take years. We showed up the morning after a trip of tequila tasting in Guadalajara, Mexico, expecting the first day to be a tedious time eater. It turned out to be a powerful, life-changing program that taught me to look at adoption from more than just my perspective, to think first about what’s best for the child, and to give real thought to the feelings and needs of the birth parents. In fact, it taught me to think like a mom. Good thing, since I would become one in near record time.
Although it seems that the process only took a few weeks, my journey actually began five years ago. Our road to adoption may have been paved with magical fairy dust, but the road to motherhood was a long and rocky one—with no navigational help from the GPS lady. Her soothing voice with all the answers never chimed in with advice month after month when the blood would show and my heart would sink. It’s silly almost, but when you really want a child and you want to live, breathe and feel every bit of pregnancy, you always imagine it will happen. You take pleasure in the happy secret that you can’t yet prove, but feel that you just know. Then you learn you’re wrong, time and again.
So, like so many other driven, goal-oriented women over 30, I headed to a fertility specialist, ready to fix the problem. I had heard many times the stories of women who paid one visit to the doctor, take one dose of Clomid and boom: baby on board. It didn’t happen that way for us.
Instead, I’d spend the next few years going through fertility treatments that gave me migraines, hot flashes and crying fits as my body stretched in unnatural ways to create a dozen eggs in a month. But the only thing those shots triggered (all five times) was a sense of failure, emptiness and loneliness. I felt like a sad, helpless lab rat that failed to accomplish what every clueless teenage girl on MTV does accidentally.
I couldn’t have that kind of failure. As we moved forward, the disappointments and the treatments blurred the purpose: The dream of raising a baby. It became more about proving I could do this, rather than the goal. The teas, the acupuncture, fertility yoga and meditations, red underwear, nightly ice cream; I tried it all. That includes two rounds of the highly invasive, very expensive in vitro fertilization. It took over our lives. My husband gave me three shots a day, I had what felt like endless blood draws and ultrasounds, all for doctors to shake their heads in sadness over the appearance of my eggs.
I felt stressed, scared and really ashamed. That intensity of emotion hit its highest point of joy when our next round of IVF resulted in pregnancy. The doctor warned it was a high-risk pregnancy, but still one that had us dreaming of a future counting tiny baby toes and swelling with love.
We wouldn’t get to know our baby outside of heartbeats and dreams. We survived one scare, but ultimately lost the pregnancy at 10 weeks. The miscarriage was the biggest heartbreak of my life. I could honestly feel my heart break, my spirit shatter; it changed me. And it left my husband and I desperate to know if we’d ever reach the next stage of our lives as a family, or if it was time to let go of this dream.
About a year later, I began to feel more like myself. I focused more on what we do have and not the little somebody who wasn’t a part of our lives. So we sat together on New Year’s in Hawaii and talked about our hopes for the year. That’s when the shift happened: Why not adopt? Why not take control of our fate—and my body—and put an end to these painful treatments with uncertain ends. I wanted to be a mother more than I wanted to be pregnant. I want to watch my husband love our baby.
And that’s just what happened.
In March 2012, a beautiful couple made a generous decision, choosing us to parent the baby they were expecting. They picked us based on a packet we created filled with goofy pictures and the story of our lives. They picked us and didn’t back out after we nervously talked too much through our first meeting. Thanks to their decision, this little baby with big, brown saucer eyes and a dimpled chin became our baby to take home at four days old. My baby. Our baby. The one who maybe wanted me all along, but just couldn’t get to me the usual way.
Our boy. My husband fed Nathaniel his first bottle, I held him when he first opened his eyes. He knows only our home, our voices and our kisses. It was meant to be. We went looking for him, and we didn’t quit. And at the same time he was looking for us, or at least waiting until we figured it all out.
While at times I wished the GPS lady would’ve given me the location of Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada a long time ago, I’m glad she didn’t. Had I been early, I would have just been waiting for Nathaniel anyway. So that long, windy, bumpy road was exactly my route to motherhood, detours and all. It wasn’t always pretty and I didn’t always like myself along the way, but I love where we ended up. A happy ending that’s really just the beginning: A mommy and a daddy at home fawning over their child. We are thankful every day for not giving up, and thankful for the people who trusted us enough to make us his parents.
A realization that family is about more than DNA—it’s all about heart, hope and each person’s own unique journey. In my mind, it feels like fate. And while I may not have been there for his birth, Nathaniel’s arrival was and will always be the biggest breaking news of my life.