Muses come in all configurations. Some of the most satisfying, enjoyable art and music are creations inspired by life events that are common to the human condition. The infertility experience is often a catalyst for producing beauty out of pain. It helps a person make sense of calamity.
Lauren Braddock Havey came by her musical roots honestly – her father, Bobby Braddock, is renowned in country songwriting circles – but what spurred her to writing a book was all that it took to arrive at motherhood.
Lauren’s book, A Journey to the Son (Two Harbors Press, October 2009) was her response to the rocky road that she and husband, Jim, embarked upon after learning in 2004 that their only chances for parenthood were through IVF with ICSI, or adoption.
The list of the couple’s trials and tribulations is daunting: male-factor infertility, pregnancy complications including a nearly fatal birth condition called amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), and subsequent postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jim and Lauren came to Shady Grove Fertility from Nashville, Tenneessee after researching options that would allow them the chance to go through infertility treatments while financially guarding for the possibility of needing to go the adoption route. The Shared Risk program at Shady Grove Fertility provided the resolution they sought.
“We knew we would pay a bit more if the first attempt worked, but the security we had of knowing that we would not have to pay unless we ‘took a baby home’ was amazing. When we met with Dr. Levy, we instantly felt something that we had not had in a while… hope.”
In addition to the relieved financial stress, Lauren believes that their chances were significantly increased when Dr. Michael Levy diagnosed and removed a uterine polyp that hadn’t been noticed by previous physicians. Though the couple had to travel for treatment at Shady Grove Fertility, Lauren describes “the staff was helpful, kind, and comforting. They really helped us to get into the right ‘positive’ frame of mind.”
Their first go at IVF worked, but the Havey’s and their son weren’t out of the woods just yet – bed rest for incompetent cervix was followed by gallstones, pre-term labor, and finally an amniotic fluid embolism, a rare and often-fatal condition. In the forward to Journey to the Son, Dr. Levy refers to the “relentless motivation” that he is privileged to see throughout his reproductive medicine practice.
“I really felt the urge to purge about the experience after my son was born,” Lauren says of the book and companion CD. Her Grammy-winning songwriting partner, Don Henry, suggested they create a new song for each chapter. Some of the titles include “The Waiting Womb,” “Thinking Positive,” and “Breast Intentions.”
“Our project developed into what we are calling a ‘folk-rock opera,’ and from the feedback we’ve been getting from the book/CD signings and performances we’ve been doing, we are about to stage this as a theatrical production,” Lauren reports. “As an artist you use what you know, and I was completely obsessed with becoming a mom for years, so that is what came out!”
All creations – whether of the artistic or human type – are, in the end, revealing about the creators. Lauren Braddock Havey found the meaning for her art through struggling to conceive.
“I learned that I am extremely stubborn,” she says in hindsight, “but it paid off. In spite of all that we went through, when I look at my precious little boy, I would do it all again!”
A Journey to the Son – the book and CD — are now available at www.ajourneytotheson.com.