I’ve been feeling lately like I need to tackle infertility on my blog. Like run, grab it, throw it to the ground, and rub it’s dang face in the mud. No, hehe, I’ve had several conversations lately with women struggling through some of what I’ve been through, so I’m going to grab a flashlight, open myself up, and shine it into some dark corners from my past. If you’re struggling with infertility, hug. Big hug from me. It sucks. If you aren’t but have a friend or sister who is, feel free to pass this along.
So, I’m going to do a series of blog posts on my experience with infertility. While going through that difficult season of my life, I read many many books, and I threw many many books across the room. Please, if in reading this post or any of the ensuing ones I piss you off, feel free to throw your laptop across the room, spit on your monitor, or electronically punch my face. Especially for those sweet sisters of mine who are hopped up on hormones and injecting yourselves daily with drugs that make you feel like you’re pregnant AND in menopause all at once…scream at me all you want. I know. I remember. And just because I am where I am now, I am no expert on what you’re going through. All I have are my own stories and my own choices. So I guess these next blog posts are going to be my way of hugging you, agreeing with you that it sucks, and sharing my own crap while we drink another stupid cup of decaf coffee cuz we can’t drink the real stuff while trying to get the frick pregnant. Ah yes…the frustration of yore is coming back to me now….
So I won’t get super-detailed about exactly what all I did in the fertility treatment realm, but for those of you in it, I’ll just outline my route really fast just to give you an idea: 2 years “the old fashioned way,” then 2 years the lab rat way: hysterosalpingogram, laparoscopy, 4 IUIs with superovulation, half an in vitro cycle that bombed before we even got to removing my eggs, full in vitro cycle that ended with my son Elliott, and frozen in vitro cycle that ended with 5 months of Christian counseling. Plus a ton of other fabulous lab rat experiments and sticking equipment in places.
During the four years of babylessness, I struggled. I did not navigate those years perfectly. Not even close. So I’m not coming from a place of perfection with a simple 10-step plan to wade through infertility as the perfect Christian. Oh my word. Anyone who knew me then would laugh me off this blog. I was messy and crabby…and I still kinda am.
I remember feeling so very alone. Even surrounded by my lovely wonderful friends and a loving husband, so alone. I feel like in the Christian community, fertility is just kind of expected. Our parents had babies, so therefore we’ll have babies, and so often pastors talk about getting married and having kids and I felt like a big big freak for not being able to follow that model. My parents got married at 22, so did I. My parents had me at 25…and that’s where my life started to veer off course. At 22, I really didn’t want kids…ever. But by 24, I did really really did, and month after month, nothing.
There’s a kind of baby epidemic that happens when you’re doing life in church small groups with other newlyweds. One by one, couples show up to group with big grins and that “we’ve got a secret” glimmer in their eyes. During prayer request time, they look at each other, raise eyebrows, “Are you going to say something/do you want me to tell/is this the week we’re going to tell,” and it comes out in this “Ta-da! We have an announcement!” kind of way. It’s beautiful and special and I celebrated as each couple in my life had their big moment.
One of the first lessons that God taught me as I struggled was to keep my heart soft to the mommas in my life. I did that by serving my friends, throwing baby showers, cooking meals, asking about their pregnancies. Certainly there were plenty of times when I just had to go home and sob huge sobs, but I tried to keep my heart soft and not grow bitter. Now, again, so not perfect, and there have been many random pregos around me complaining about their pregnancies who I would love to, oh I dunno, run over, pull their hair, and run away maniacally laughing. God surrounded me with adorable pregnant friends who love being pregnant and recognize the gift that it is. I love each and every one of them for it.
As a mom now, I love celebrating motherhood, but as a pre-mom, it was tough. Mother’s Day was a horrendous day, as mothers got to stand in church and received flowers and I stayed seated, wracked with abdominal pain from endometriosis and hormone treatments and surgery and still no baby. The last Mother’s Day that I had before getting pregnant, I drove to Krispy Kreme and ate two donuts.
One Sunday, we were sitting in the balcony at church and I watched as three of my friends from small group walked in together, all pregnant, and sat down in a row, their cute bellies bouncing over their laps. I ended up in the prayer room crying, boogers streaming, and we didn’t come back to church for three months.
I’ll leave you there, at dangling boogers, and pick up the next post with all the things people said to me. It’ll be awesome. No seriously, I am not writing any of this from a place of bitterness. The most amazing thing happened to me in August 2009: God healed me from the pain of infertility. I’m still infertile. In vitro is no longer even an option. But my heartache is GONE. One hundred percent gone. Now I would’ve wanted to punch anyone who told me that a few years ago, so again, I understand if that’s your reaction. But I do hope that in writing these posts, I can come alongside and just be a friend, and also offer hope and healing for your heart. I hope you find that before sinking down as deep as I did.
I have Psalm 139 tattooed on my back. I need a daily reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, that God searches me and knows me and knit me together in my mother’s womb. I need to know that this broken body, this reproductive disaster, is a work of God. We live in a broken world, so there is pain and brokenness, but God made me and He loves me in my pain and brokenness. He didn’t choose to restore my body, but He chose to restore my soul. And by His will, He made me a mother, even in my brokenness.
I have joy, I have freedom, and I share my former pain and boogers now out of the abundance of His healing. Bless you. Big hug. God has an adventure for you. I don’t know what it is, but He wastes nothing. This time of waiting. This time of human lab rat. This time of unanswered prayers. This time of anguish. He wastes none of it.
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