Christina bailey on second chances and growing her two-mama family
By Christina Bailey, mom of four and creator of @babybaileymamadrama
There are so many things in life we don’t plan. A big family? Becoming a mom is something I’ve always wanted. A divorce? Not exactly part of the vision. I felt heartbroken, lost, and so insecure after my divorce — being gay, I really thought I had only one chance at forever.
Then I found Heather. My friends encouraged me to start dating again, and as I downloaded a few apps, my hands began to sweat. When I first met Heather, it didn’t seem like we had too much in common. She was in still on her first chapter — trying to figure out her career. I was well into my second — two children, a career, and a divorce later. But the more we got together, the more I realized we were both trying to find our place in this world.
The chaos in my life didn’t scare Heather away. She was there as I struggled with the new routine of being with my kids only half the time — and she knew how badly I wanted more children. I spilled this out to her on day one. I told her my two daughters were from embryos created years ago — both with eggs from my body and a sperm donor. The remaining embryos were considered “property” in the divorce. It didn’t matter whose body they were created from.
After months of waiting, I was finally awarded the rights to my embryos, only to have them taken away shortly after in an appeal. I decided to try and get pregnant on my own — another idea Heather supported. A big frozen tank with a tiny vial of sperm arrived at the door. I was so eager to start the the journey of growing our family.
I waited for what seemed like forever, then took a pregnancy test and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was positive! But a few days later, our joy disappeared. After taking some time off, I gave it another try. The sperm tank arrived and it didn’t work — again. I felt defeated, and I knew deep down that IVF was the only answer.
I reached out to the fertility clinic I worked with before and got on the waiting list. With my embryos still tied up in the divorce, my only option was to start the process all over. Shots arrived in the mail. Vials of hormones were unpacked. Alarms were set on my phone for various injection times. As I injected myself, and Heather injected me, I felt hopeful.
When egg retrieval day came, that hope was gone. The eggs I produced weren’t viable for fertilization. After a series of calls from the clinic, each more depressing than the next, I sat on our bed at night crying on Heather’s shoulder. We were in the process of moving out of my house after the divorce, and I wondered if we should even bother setting up a nursery in the new home we would share together.
Still the longing for another child persisted, and when my oldest daughter would ask when she would have a new baby brother or sister, my heart would break a little all over again. I decided to try IVF one more time. This would be round number four for me (it took two to conceive my older children). I knew the drill: appointments, shots, egg retrieval. Heather was right by my side as we were faced with yet another disappointment in my egg count and quality.
Then a miracle happened. I was served a settlement proposal to own the rights to my embryos, and the appeal was dropped. I hugged Heather so tightly. An embryo transfer appointment was set and a few weeks later, two little flickers of hope appeared on the ultrasound screen. I was pregnant with twins!
Heather and I started our next chapter together. We watched my belly grow bigger and bigger. We felt the movement of two tiny babies inside me. We both melted as my two older children jumped for joy when they found out the news.
After a long break, I returned to social media to document my twin pregnancy. It was a hard decision. My ex and I portrayed a fairytale romance on there, and it was heartbreaking to read our followers’ disappointment when they found out we were no longer together. However, divorce is a reality that so many people face. It was important for me to show there is light on the other side. I got a second chance at love and growing my family. To me, this deserved to be celebrated.
The twins arrived early and it was scary. My body swelled up at just 33 weeks, but Heather assured me the doctors would get them out safely. I wasn’t awake when they entered the world. Heather was the first to see our babies and made sure to capture those moments on film for me. In the long days that followed, she took care of me as the swelling decreased and my body slowly started to recover. We were both there to celebrate each small win for the twins until they were finally ready to leave the NICU.
Now our babies are home with us and our life isn’t picture perfect. It’s better. I’m so grateful I picked myself back up, followed my heart, and built the family I always wanted. I now have four children — three girls, one boy, all genetically full siblings. This is not something many can say after a divorce. My older two are only with us half the time, and no doubt that is the hardest part.
When we go out in public, many think Heather and I are sisters instead of two moms. We find it kind of funny and don’t mind correcting them — we are all learning in this world. What bothers me more is that the world sees our family complete only half the time. This is something all divorced parents feel, but you have to make the best of where life has led you.
I chose to make the best of it.
Christina is a mom of four, teacher, photographer, and creator of the widely-popular Instagram account @babybaileymamadrama. A proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, she started her account to share her journey to motherhood via IVF, connect with others in the community, and promote acceptance and love worldwide.