Written in the Stars: The Watsons Welcome Baby Lola
Call it fate or a gift from the universe, but if ever something was to be written in the stars for Nicolene and Ryan Watson, it was to be a mom and dad.
Through a series of strange “coincidences,” connections and perfect timings, the Watsons’ new “bundle of joy” did not come without a struggle. For six years they tried to carry their own child, losing five babies along the way. Countless tests with unanswered questions and thousands of dollars spent at the fertility clinic left Nicolene feeling broken and Ryan unsure about how to support his wife. Little did they know that nine months after accepting a childless future, the next chapter of their lives would find them experiencing the joys of being the parents to a beautiful baby girl from Nunavut.
The couple and creators of the group YANA (You Are Not Alone) have made it their mission to share their story and support others who have struggled and continue to struggle with infertility. “We wanted the group to welcome both men and women because I know I didn’t understand the pain Nicolene was really going through,” says Ryan. “It’s important for men to know how to support their spouses. I didn’t get it then, but I get it now.” The couple admits their darkest moments not only brought them closer than ever, but sharing their story created the opportunity to be found for private adoption.
With a timeline of events straight out of a major motion picture, the new parents’ adoption story is unlike most. “We were chosen to adopt on a Sunday with the baby expected to come in two months, which we thought was quite soon,” says Nicolene. “On a whim, I decided to take Wednesday to get the ball rolling, meet with a lawyer and hire a social worker. On Thursday, four days after being chosen, I missed a call from the birth grandmother. Of course my mind went to the worst case scenario, so I grabbed Ryan and we called her back. The grandmother answered and just said: ‘Your baby is coming — and of course, we were in total shock.” Four hours later and four days after being chosen, their baby entered this world at 31 weeks gestation, weighing three pounds and eight ounces.
Frantically packing their bags and vehicle, the couple drove all night to Winnipeg to meet their baby arriving at the hospital at 9 a.m. the next day. “I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of meeting our daughter who we named Lola, but also how special it was to be able to spend a week in NICU with the birth mom and grandma sharing lots of laughter and just as many tears. We didn’t say goodbye; we said see you soon! Not only did we gain a child, but also a new culture and family,” explains Nicolene with tears in her eyes.
Another two weeks were spent caring for Lola in NICU while Nicolene searched for a way to get home by air ambulance, which came with a hefty price tag. “I didn’t stress about how it would all work out. I just believed it would based on the way everything else played out — and it did,” explains Nicolene.
As new parents to their healthy baby Lola, who now weighs just over nine pounds, Nicolene and Ryan reflect on what this bundle of joy has brought to their world. Embracing Lola in her arms, Nicolene says: “I finally feel like myself, like the person I was always meant to be — somebody’s mom.” Ryan adds: “My favourite thing about being a parent so far is experiencing Nicolene being a mother.”
To learn more about Nicolene and Ryan’s fertility journey and their support group, please visit their website: yanasaskatoon.weebly.com.