While I was hanging out with my Mama Tribe the other day we all started talking about our journey towards motherhood. I was shocked to hear how many of us had battled with miscarriages and infertility. I thought that maybe it would be good for me to reflect on my infertility journey and to share my reflections with you, just in case you or someone you know could use some encouragement. Obviously, I ended-up having a baby so you know this ends well, but not all women can say that. Being in the midst of a battle with infertility feels endless and lonely. It is a challenge no woman should have to face.
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In May of 2011 I went in for a normal check-up with my doctor and left with an aching heart. My doctor suspected that I had “the beginnings of polycystic ovarian syndrome” or PCOS. I didn’t know what it meant really, except that having a baby would be challenging. For some reason, I had always feared that I wouldn’t be able to have children. Now it seemed my nightmare was becoming a reality.
When I called to tell Caleb what had happened, he was very optimistic. When I went to the OBGYN and had the diagnosis (sort-of) confirmed by blood tests and ultrasounds, he was still optimistic. It’s wonderful being married to an optimist until it isn’t. I was devastated. I felt alone. I felt like a broken woman. I was sure he’d wish that he had never married me. Of course, this was never the case, but it was a fear that continued to haunt me.
We decided to start trying to have a baby right away, even though I was in grad school. The doctor said it could take a while so we figured we might as well go for it. The thing that sucks about PCOS is that you don’t have your period regularly, so every month that I didn’t have my period I thought I was pregnant. EPT got a lot of money out of me during this whole ordeal. I was constantly taking pregnancy tests, only to be let down each time only one line turned blue.
The best part was that all of my friends seemed to be getting pregnant with no problem. I wanted to be happy for them, and I was, but I kept feeling like with each announcement I was just further and further behind. I never knew I was even in a race, but I was definitely losing. Caleb and I prayed and prayed that God would bless us with a child. I remember being in church one day and feeling God comfort me. He told me that would have a baby. I walked away feeling confident… until the next negative pregnancy test. My faith was dwindling fast.
Then, in December, Caleb and I decided to look into adoption. I told him that I just had to start the process of having a baby somehow, even if it wasn’t the way we had planned. In fact, adoption has always been on my heart so I thought that we would just start the process and see what happens. I was pretty shocked to read about all of the crazy regulations that are in effect for international adoption. Many countries want you to be of a certain age (of which I was not) and to have been married for five years (which we weren’t either). Despite these discoveries, we continued to research adoption and it gave me some hope, not a lot, but some.
In fact, I was starting to become pretty hopeless. I just needed something to bring more joy into my life. So, in January, we decided to get a new puppy (I call all dogs puppies, she’s actually 2 years old) from the LA Boxer Rescue. Abby, is our deaf boxer who lit up my world. I was so excited when we got her. So excited, that I actually forgot about getting pregnant for a little bit. I had been doing all of this crazy charting and stuff that women do when they’re trying to get pregnant naturally. But that month I stopped doing it, I decided to let it go… just for a month. We also watched the documentary “Forks Over Knives” and of course, became vegan.
In February, I started a new natural conception method that a friend introduced to me. You take your temperature every day and check your cervical lining, stuff like that. It was pretty simple but my temperatures just never seemed to fluctuate. I couldn’t figure it out. Then, being vegan was making me all bloated and I started to feel kind of nauseous. I was dreaming of fried chicken and big country breakfasts with biscuits and sausage gravy. So weird.
Although, Caleb didn’t think it was weird. He thought I was pregnant. For two days he bugged me to take a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to because my temperatures hadn’t fluctuated, meaning that I didn’t get pregnant. Still, he insisted. We had a bunch at the house, so one day, I finally said, “Fine!” and took one about 20 minutes before I was supposed to leave for class. Yeah, I was pregnant! I’ve never felt so much joy in my life. Both of us fell to our knees and cried while hugging each other (yes, in the bathroom). My bloated tummy wasn’t from my new vegan diet after all! My temperatures hadn’t been fluctuating because I was already pregnant when I started taking them! It all made sense now.
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I don’t know why some women have it easy when it comes to conceiving and others don’t. Technically, I should even say that I struggled with “infertility” because the definition of the term requires that you’ve been trying to conceive for a year and we weren’t. Regardless of medical definitions, it very much felt like I was dealing with infertility. It was a struggle. Now, I wish I could tell those who are struggling, “Don’t worry, you’ll get pregnant, I know it.” But I don’t know it. When people said stuff like that to me, I wanted to punch them in the face. The only advice I can give is to try to continue to live a full life that brings you joy. Sometimes I wonder if adopting our puppy was what helped me to get pregnant. I had been so anxious and obsessive all of the time until we got her. Truthfully, even if it hadn’t been the reason I got pregnant, she brought joy back into my life. I got to nurture her and love on her like a Mama does. She reminded me of God’s love and faithfulness. I hope and pray that, if you are struggling with infertility or any loss for that matter, you will feel God’s love and faithfulness through it. He will never leave your side.
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