This past Thursday, I got a phone call from Gavin's geneticist. The results are in from his Exome Sequencing that we started way back in June. This extensive and groundbreaking genetic testing was done with the hope that we'd get a lead on a diagnosis for our sweet Gavin.
While that is just what we got, I'm not quite ready to talk about that yet.
What I do want to talk about?
As you may or may not know, Gavin was conceived by IUI - or "Intrauterine Insemination" - at a fertility clinic. We were thrilled when it worked and we became pregnant with twins, only to lose Gavin's twin a few months into the pregnancy.
When Gavin was born, the first thing people noticed was his bright blonde hair. Blonde! It shocked everyone, including me. But I knew that babies hair and eyes change and expected Gavin's to as well.
Ed and I didn't really think too much about Gavin's appearance. We were a little preoccupied with his medical issues, feeding tubes, low tone, nursing care, pumping breast milk around the clock and more.
We didn't really think too much about it - but other people did.
People very close to us insinuated...came out with comments...made jokes. People not so close to us would do the double take and shoot me a "look." Gavin didn't look "Chinese enough"...he looked so different from his brother...where does the blonde hair come from...he's so fair...his eyes are so light.
Six people (yes, I've kept track) in the last five years have actually come right out and asked me if I cheated on my husband.
After a while, we got a little defensive. We figured we'd beat people to the punch and joke about it ourselves. "Well, unless there was some mix up in the back room of the fertility clinic and they grabbed the wrong sperm, ha ha." Every time I brought it up, I'd feel sick.
But the truth is - the more people commented and brought it up and raised their eyebrows and made their jokes - the more it messed with my mind. For the last five years, I have experienced major bouts of depression over this. I have cried many tears over this. I have suffered horrible anxiety over this. It forced us to have the conversation, "What if we ever found out that Gavin wasn't 'ours' biologically. What then?" The only way that could have been possible is if, by accident, a nurse grabbed the wrong syringe filled with someone else's sperm on the day of my insemination.
Let's face it - we haven't had the best luck all these years. It isn't THAT far fetched. Go ahead and google "wrong sperm used iui" and you'll see plenty of actual cases.
I don't think that I would have had so much anxiety and stress over this if people hadn't thought it was okay to comment on our son's appearance. It really, really was not okay. And it hurt us both tremendously.
Imagine my position. Lots of people commenting and weighing in on Gavin's looks. Me - worrying incessantly that maybe there was a mix up. Then worrying - would Ed believe me if it was my word against a well known fertility clinic?
When they sent Gavin's blood work along with Ed's and mine to Baylor College of Medicine for the Exome Sequencing, we knew that a basic paternity test was part of the package. We didn't request it - it was something routinely done. Halfway through - I emailed Gavin's geneticist and asked her if they could cancel that part. It was keeping me up at night. I wasn't sure I could handle the repercussions if it came back with unfavorable news. Unfortunately, I was too late.
So this past Thursday, as I sat in my kitchen with the phone to my ear, I heard the results.
Ed is absolutely, positively, without a shadow of a doubt Gavin's father (like we didn't already know). Biologically and emotionally and in every good way.
The relief that swept over both of us made us both happy...and angry. Happy that it's one less thing to worry about. But, very immaturely, it also felt like a big "IN YOUR FACE" to all the people who thought it was okay to open their mouths and cause us great pain.
I don't ever want this to come up again. And I hope that every single one of you reading this today will soak in this story. Sometimes...a joke can go too far. Sometimes...appearances mean more than what you might think seems obvious.
Please remember this story.