Building A Family
By KDChi VP of Public Affairs, Gina Garcia
It was April 18, 2009, the afternoon of the induction of Kappa Delta Chi’s Alpha Sigma Chapter in sunny Miami, Florida. The parents and families of the young ladies eager to join the KDChi family were gathered in the living room because they insisted upon knowing more about our sisterhood, a sorority, something that not many families of culture are exposed to. The national officers took turns in a line at the front of the Florida State families and shared why each of us joined KDChi and what it is about the organization that makes it such a life changing experience.
The national officers rattled off the many reasons they joined such as “a bonus family away from home,” “we serve our communities,” “we study together,” “we are changing the way people look at people of color on campus…” but the next story couldn’t be told so easily. There were near silent sobs, a wash of tears streaming down one of our sisters faces as she gulped for air. The families, including a young man in the living room audience began shifting his weight and eyes as he sat on the couch. The family members looked worried and nervous. It was then, our National President and Beta Alumna, Akisha Hernandez who could no longer hold back the tears as she shared what KDChi meant to her and how it’s helped her cope with devastating times throughout her life. On that day, she shared just a chapter of her grief. Today, she shares the full story of the greatest lesson she learned about life and its many
Akisha got hitched in a Vegas wedding to Isaac Phillip Hernandez, a phenomenal, loving man she’d been dating for four years. They were established in their careers, owned their Houston area home and were in a solid place financially, so a year after their wedding, they set their sights on starting a family. It
was a high point of her life, she shared, “I remember how exciting it was to think about growing our family, and how it was the right time. I was 26 and planned to be finished having children by 30. I learned a good lesson in allowing things to come in God’s time, not my own.”
They first conceived in late 2007, after nearly two years of trying. But one day, while grocery shopping, Akisha felt like something was wrong. Initially she felt the need to walk off some gas. “It’s not pretty, but our bodies do crazy things when pregnant,” she shared. “The pressure and pain started building and getting worse, so I went to the restroom called my husband to meet me. The next day, my doctor didn’t see anything in my uterus, so she said we could be wrong about the date of conception, or it could be ectopic - when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Leaving her office we knew, but still hoped and prayed she was wrong.” Later that week, while driving home, Akisha felt the same pain again so she drove herself 10 miles to the nearest hospital. “God was watching out for me – no traffic and green lights all the way there. Within an hour I was taken into surgery. What I didn’t realize at the time is that ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening. My fallopian tube had ruptured, so I was bleeding internally and didn’t know it.” They removed a section of Akisha’s fallopian tube, which unfortunately, statistically lowers their chances of being able to conceive without intervention.
“My husband called my parents who stayed with us that week, and I’m so grateful they did. I thought I was ok, but I broke down and had a panic attack as soon as they left. It was so quiet in the house, and I could feel the air leaving my lungs. At the time, I didn’t know anyone who’d gone through anything similar.” At the time, she leaned on her immediate family, and a few of her KDChi sisters. People at work only knew she was out of the office for a week. This was just the start of what came to be an almost impossible dream.
“There were times I felt extremely angry. There were numerous stories about people mistreating children, and I didn’t understand why they were allowed to have them, and not me. When I felt guilty, there was no end to the thoughts: Did I stay on birth control too long? Did I not want the baby enough? I wasn’t excited enough. I let myself get too stressed. What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong? I shouldn’t have questioned whether it was the “right” time to have a
baby. I grasped at anything that would explain why. I thought if I knew what it was, I could fix it, but there wasn’t anything for me to fix.”
Then, they suffered a miscarriage in the summer of 2009. “Two days before our first doctor’s appointment, I knew something was off in the world, and things just didn’t work out. It hit hard because it was the first pregnancy after the ectopic pregnancy, and we thought we’d already endured any issues we would have.
When asked about what surprised her most, Akisha shared it was the challenge of
having a family later in life. “I have friends who have waited later to have children, and are having difficulty conceiving without medical intervention. We were conditioned to pursue our careers without discussing what that meant for the families we hoped to have. It may not have changed my choices in life, but I believe it should be a part of the dialog we have when discussing how we see our lives unfold.”
“I just thought it would happen when we were ready and decided to make happen, and that wasn’t the case. The month after we agreed to stop trying to control it is when we got pregnant with our son, Isaac Antonio.” Then once Isaac was growing, “OMG – so much excitement, then immediately fear. Worry about another ectopic pregnancy, or not being able to carry to term. Having one ectopic pregnancy placed me in the high-risk category for future pregnancies, so I’m cautious. Because of our difficulties, we shared the news sooner than the first pregnancy. We wanted to have people praying for us and our baby’s healthy delivery.” During labor, Isaac’s heart rate kept dropping, so she stayed on her hands and knees for hours to keep his pulse from dropping. “There is no way possible that I could do anything close to that now, but we do amazing things when motivated by love.” Isaac Antonio Hernandez, born in 2010, was healthy, loved and made them the family the dreamed of, but they yearned for more.
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Beta Chapter Alum