This Saturday we will be celebrating my daughter’s first birthday. Just typing that sentence alone blows me away, and brings so much joy to my heart. My daughter is truly a miracle, a medical marvel, and it still amazes me that she’s really here and all mine to love, care for, and treasure. Read more
In 2007 my husband and I began our journey into parenthood with no idea what we were in for. Like most couples, we didn’t expect it would lead us down the road of infertility. After I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), we went through years of fertility treatments until my body finally gave out in 2010, and we were told conceiving a child of our own just wasn’t possible. The news was devastating, but eventually we accepted it and moved on. We began exploring our options for adoption, but after almost two years of research and prayer, we simply didn’t have peace in knowing that was God’s ultimate plan for our family. Read more
My husband and I began exploring adoption a few years ago. We had gone through fertility treatments, and had been told the only way we would become parents was through adoption. I remember being amazed at how my once closed mind to adoption had quickly opened, and I began to imagine an exciting journey to find our child. Read more
It may be hard to believe, but the first month of the New Year is almost over. So, how’s 2012 going so far? If it’s not going as you had hoped, now is a great time to start again. For the first time in probably six years, I have started a year by keeping an open mind, open heart and releasing all of my expectations. For the first time, I have not started the year with an internal countdown of when my family will expand going on in my mind. And for the first time, I finally feel I have some peace moving into a new year. Now, I’m not writing this to say I have all of the answers. Far from it. But my goal as always is to share my experiences in an effort to support those going through similar struggles. I’ve learned that when I put things into practice, and begin each day for what it is … a new day … then things all of a sudden don’t seem so overwhelming. Read more
You’ve heard me say it before and I will say it again, infertility is a battle. Everyday is a fight of choice. Will you throw in the towel and let your emotions take over, or will you find strength to enjoy the blessings you’ve been given? I recently posted on Facebook the statement, “It’s not about the blessings that haven’t arrived; it’s making the most of the blessings you’ve been given this day.” It came to me as I was heading into work, and taking a moment to pause before reading my Bible. I wish I could say I do this every day, but I’m human, and unfortunately I don’t. But I can’t help but think God gave me this thought as I was beginning just another day of life with infertility.
To me, infertility is battle. It’s fierce. It breaks you physically and emotionally. It drains the life out of you, and just when you think you have things under control it gains power out of nowhere and knocks you down again. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about being a mom, or how wonderful of a father my husband would be. Infertility tests you, and quite honestly if I didn’t have faith in knowing God’s plan is ultimately best, I don’t know where I’d be today. It’s hard to trust God when you don’t like what He’s allowing you to go through and all you can do is walk through life blindly, but I think that’s the ultimate lesson in faith.
Trusting God regardless of the outcome is one thing life has taught me. I can plan and plan, but in the end His plan is always much better than my own. It is hard looking at it on this end without knowing how things will end up, but He’s shown me time and time again that His plan is always best and He can use each trial that comes along as a way of growing my relationship with Him, reaching others I couldn’t have without going through that trial, and when His plan is finally revealed I can see how each step along the way was preparing me for a greater purpose.
Just like every battle, blessings can be found as the dust settles. There are highs and lows, but through each battle you learn what you’re made of, and I’ve learned a lot through infertility. When my husband and I got married almost 8 years ago, I never imagined anything would come between us. Life was wonderful and we got excited about starting a family. But when things didn’t go as planned, it tested us and showed us what true love is. In all honesty, I had hard time processing my emotions. I didn’t know what to feel, and when I did feel something, it was a range of emotion from excitement, to frustration, to guilt, to fear, to anger, to bitterness, to jealousy, and I just couldn’t decipher it all. But by not knowing how to process my emotions, I became distant, distracted, and left my husband in the dark as to how I was feeling until I really just needed to explode and get it out. It was through infertility that we had to fight for each other, get in the trenches, and love each other even when we didn’t like each other very much. But through this battle, we are now stronger, closer, more honest, and have both said our marriage and life is even better now than it’s probably ever been. It’s sad to see how marriage is not taken seriously these days, but for us, no matter what comes our way, we know we will always get through it together.
Another blessing that has appeared through this battle has been helping friends going through similar struggles. When we went through our infertility treatments we really felt alone. We let friends know we had been trying and were going through treatment, but without going through it yourself, it’s nearly impossible to understand. As time has passed though, some of our friends have had to venture into their own battle with infertility. Some have gotten their happy ending, and others continue down the road of the unknown. Now I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone, but it’s really been a blessing to be able to support friends going through similar struggles which in turn has grown our friendship.
You could say that I started this blog as a way of conquering my battle with infertility. I can now take a step back and recount my emotions without being as clouded by them. I can share my story with others as a way of combatting the silence around the subject while reaching out to others and letting them know they’re not alone. And finally, I can find peace about the past and look forward to the future. It’s amazing to see how much more at ease I feel these days about not knowing what the future holds, and how I know now that if I have to continue waiting another year, two or even three years before I learn what will happen that’s ok because I’ve come this far and I know God will continue to prepare me for whatever His outcome is. Through my years of waiting I’ve learned He can bring along peace in uncertainty, and by having that it allows me to enjoy my husband more and the blessings we’ve been given today. So even though the battle of infertility may pick up speed on some days, for the most part, and by the grace of God, I’m able to keep the battle far off in the distance.
Happy New Year, and thanks for sticking around even after the long breaks in writing. It’s now 2011 which seems so hard to believe. I hope the holidays were good to you, and you are looking forward to the new year. Many people look at the new year, and think about all they want to accomplish. Some of you are probably hoping for a pregnancy, others for a baby through adoption, and others may just be trying to move on. For me, I’m just wanting to enjoy whatever comes this year without any expectations.
Since my husband and I started trying, each year I looked at the holidays as our last one just the two of us. I would think about how there was a good chance we’d be adding a baby to our family, and how I couldn’t wait to celebrate the next Thanksgiving or Christmas with a little one in my arms. In a way, I think I robbed myself of those holidays by fixating on what was missing, or dreaming of what may be rather than enjoying the life I had been given. This year I had a different approach. Maybe it’s because we’ve stopped trying, and are still uncertain about adoption, but this year I truly enjoyed Christmas for what it was…a time to reflect on all Christ has done for us, and a time to enjoy what’s really important in life. My husband and I had almost two weeks off of work together, and I truly treasured every second. 2010 was a very busy and demanding year for us, so having some time to ourselves was simply wonderful.
If there’s anything 2010 has taught me, it would have to be that life is full of uncertainty, and the only joy we can find is by embracing the life we’ve been given. I’ve learned that barren is the term that defines me now more than infertile, and as hard as it was to admit it, it has helped me to move on. Coming to grips with reality is hard. I see a lot of posts from infertiles on Facebook refusing to admit that they are infertile. Many women go through years of failed infertility treatments and failed adoptions all while refusing to give up. They allow their struggles to define them and take pride in the difficutlies they find in life. For me, I was very much like them so by writing this now I’m not telling anyone how to feel… but the truth is facing reality and admitting defeat has felt more like claiming victory than throwing in the towel. It’s like I finally have my life back. I know I won’t get pregnant, and I will never give birth to my child, but that doesn’t mean my life can’t go on and God doesn’t have a plan for it. God can use our strengths and weaknesses to grow us, and by opening my heart to His plans, I can move on from my own. Adoption may become my reality one day, and if it does, I will love our baby with every breath that I have. I think that we will be better parents for the time and struggles we’ve been through, and our marriage will be stronger by going through our infertility battle together. But the urgency to adopt seems to have faded. Adoption is no longer about me, what I want, or my timing, but it’s more about what God’s plan is for us as a couple and family. I’ve learned that when I take things into my own hands before it’s time, things usually end up a mess. But if I wait to see where God leads then the path brings more peace than I could have ever brought about myself.
So this year for me is all about enjoying life. Doing things I’ve always wanted to do, loving life for the blessings I’ve been given, and allowing God to mold my hopes and dreams however He chooses. I’m giving each day to Him to reveal His plan, and to make the desires of my heart a better reflection of Him.
My prayers have changed through infertility, and have been a big part of the healing process. In the beginning I simply prayed for a baby. After time passed, and no pregnancy occurred the pain really set in. I found myself becoming angry and bitter, and my prayers turned more into questions and pleas. Many were simply asking God why, and pleading with Him to grant me this one desire. My biggest struggle with not conceiving was wondering why God would give me such a strong desire if He never planned to fulfill it. It seemed like everyone around me was getting pregnant, but I continued to be barren.
The truth is wanting to become a parent can be the most exciting and most difficult time in a couple’s life. Everyday there seems to be a different emotion. First you’re excited, then you’re sad, then you’re frustrated, then you’re angry, then you’re depressed, and then you’re simply just tired…. at least that’s how I’ve experienced it.
So as I went through the process of each phase, a new way of praying seemed to go with it. Looking back now I can see how my prayers went from selfish to finally just desiring whatever God wants. I first prayed for a baby. Simple, straight to the point, thankful, and excited about the future. Then as time passed, and I had to go through fertility treatments, I prayed for wisdom, clarity, a short treatment process and of course a positive result. But as the negatives continued I then moved to more direct prayers. I started to just honestly spill my guts. I told God how I felt, why I was becoming angry, and pleaded with Him to let me conceive. Everything would physically line up perfectly, but as I continued to be barren I let God know I was not happy with Him. I pleaded that He grant me my desire, and asked Him why He was allowing me to be in such pain. Then as time passed I finally grew depressed and tired. I finally got to the point I just couldn’t carry the heartache around any longer. As we continued our last IUI cycle I prayed that God would just make my desires His, and if He didn’t want me to have a child then to just remove the desire from my heart. If becoming a mom was not for me, then I didn’t know why He would allow me to want it so badly.
During that last cycle I stopped ovulating. The doctor continued to increase the dosage of my daily FSH shot, but still nothing happened. Finally after about a week I began developing back pain. As the dosage continued to be increased, the back pain continued to increase. Finally one night I came home from work, sat in a chair, and could not move. I couldn’t get up to call my husband, I couldn’t take our dog out for our regular walk, I seriously could not move. When my husband walked in from work, he could tell something wasn’t right. He got me to the couch, we searched the internet for answers and talked about what to do next. We decided I’d head to the doctor the next day, but ended up at the hospital.
I was admitted immediately for testing, and after a pregnancy test, x-rays, and a number of other tests I was told they didn’t know what had caused it, but I had sprained my back. I hadn’t done any heavy lifting, and we determined it most likely was caused by the medication. One of the very rare side effects is back pain, and though it only happens in like 2% of all cases, it does actually happen.
So this is what I consider to be my non-birth story, and as I can see it now, an answer to prayer. Most women get pregnant, go through regular doctor visits/examinations, experience contractions, head to the hospital, give birth, and finally welcome a child. For me, I went through the doctor visits/examinations, experienced the worst pain I had ever felt, headed to the hospital, and left knowing I would never become pregnant. I remember laying in the hospital bed, looking over at my husband, and finally just laughing. I told him if this wasn’t a sign that the fertility treatments weren’t going to work then I didn’t know where else to look. I left the hospital with a little slice of peace, a little slice of sadness, and even more curiosity as to what would be happening next.
It amazes me how many times God answers our prayers in a way that we don’t expect or when we expect it. I’ve learned for me, He usually allows me to go through a process of revealing only glimpses of His plan one step at a time. Then once I finally reach the answer, I can see how each step was preparing me for what He had planned all along. I know now that by going through the fertility treatments, they were actually preparing me for the final answer of no. He used them to bring me peace about not conceiving a child. I still don’t know what the future looks like in terms of adoption, but I know He’s given me the strength and peace to just enjoy the blessings in my life today. I had prayed for contentment years ago, but again, it’s only been in His timing and by walking the road in front of me, that He’s finally granted me that answer. My desire to be a mom’s still there, and really a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about being a mom. But that desire just reminds me that He’s still working, and allows me to release it back to Him. It’s still an ongoing process, but I find comfort knowing that He’s taken me this far. I don’t know when that next answer will come, or what it may be, but I do know that no matter what the future brings He’ll continue to be with me each step of the way.