The year after our ectopic pregnancy was spent mourning and healing and waiting only to find more pain. Honestly, the pain of infertility was just as deep as the pain of losing our baby. I watched more friends than I can count get pregnant. I went to so many baby showers and was genuinely happy for them and celebrated with real joy, but at the same time, it hurt. I would get in my car and cry after every baby shower. It’s a weird cycle, infertility. The start of the month is always a fresh start. I would think, this is it, this is the month it happens. Then comes the exhaustion that is figuring out ovulation day(s) and taking my temperature and sticking to a schedule. Then I would wait. At the end of each month, I would start dreaming about when the due date would be and what it would be like if it happens this month. And then, with each passing month, it got harder and harder to be positive. I don’t know how to explain it except that every month it felt like we were losing a baby or at least losing the dream of one. I know that I wasn’t losing a baby, and I know that the pain is no where near what someone experiences when losing a child, but that’s the best way I can explain it to someone that has never experienced infertility. Everyone around us was moving on in life and we were stuck in this merry-go-round of being let down and not being able to start our family. Not only was infertility physically and emotionally painful, but it really made us angry. We were mad at God for letting us be in pain. I was mad at my body for not doing what it’s supposed to do. I was exhausted trying to figure out what to do next and how to act like everything was normal when everyday I felt like I had this giant thing wrong and missing that couldn’t be fixed. It was also incredibly isolating. Infertility is not something that people can see on the outside so most people don’t know that something is wrong. It’s awkward when someone asks how you are doing and all you want to say is, “actually terrible because everyone around me seems to be getting pregnant without trying, and I am apparently infertile, but how are you today? The weather looks nice.” Church was probably the hardest place to be. We love our church and our community, but we sing a lot of happy songs at church which is great when you are happy. However, when you are sad or angry, happy songs are really really hard to sing. I would just sit and cry often in church. Looking back, I am glad that we kept going to church and kept trying to sing the songs. I still can’t sing the song Good Good Father without crying, but there is something to be said for letting others speak joy and hope into your life when you are incapable of speaking it over yourself (my wise husband told me this). Community is a beautiful thing. Our friends and family never stopped asking and listening and waiting with us. They understood that the pain was real and constant but gave us space when we needed that too. And let me tell you something…being married to your best friend and someone that loves you unconditionally and is a good listener, its the best. Derek would pray for me every night because for months, I just didn’t know how. For months, I just didn’t know what to say. I could pray for other people, and I could pray in a big group or with students, but not for myself. Because praying just opened myself up for more disappointment, and I couldn’t handle any more of that. I’ll write a post later about how Derek taught me how to pray again. Remind me if I forget – prayer beads, they were the key. Or better yet, maybe I’ll get Derek to write it. No matter what you are struggling with though, and if it is infertility, know that you are not alone. And also know that it does get better. Sometimes it takes a long while, but remember that God is a God of redemption and loves taking the broken pieces and making something beautiful. I truly believe that God didn’t make me infertile just so we could have triplets. I don’t even believe that He planned for us to go through infertility. Life is just broken and unfair and hard. I do however, fully believe that He took this terrible thing that we went through and is using it to shape us into better people and hopefully He is using it to help someone else see the love of Jesus. The pain is not the end.
ok, rant over. Back to infertility…We started testing at the end of that year. My OBGYN was great and so helpful in starting the process. I first tried 3 rounds of clomid which about destroyed me. Clomid made me C-R-A-Z-Y. I mean, I was a complete basket case (poor Derek). He was reading over this and said, “crazy doesn’t do justice to how illogical and emotional it made you”. haha I would take offense to that if I didn’t 100% know he was right. Plus, it didn’t work. Then we tried letrozole. It did not have near the side affects on me as clomid, but it still didn’t work. Then Derek had to get tested which is not fun to say the least. Every time we tried something new, Doctors would just say, “everything looks normal. We don’t know why you aren’t getting pregnant. Just stay calm and keep trying.” We got so sick and tired of having no answers. People told me all the time (literally at least once a month), “Oh just stop stressing. As soon as you quit trying, thats when it will happen. Just wait.” Please, for the love of all things chocolate, don’t ever say that to someone struggling with infertility. It made me feel like it was all my fault. I thought that my stress was keeping us from getting pregnant. Turns out, that’s not true. We learned so much in these years about how to mourn well with others and gained compassion for “the other” (That’s what we call people who are different from the norm). “The other” can be the person who looks different, has a different culture, or just seems to stand on the outside. Infertility is very isolating and makes a lot of people uncomfortable. People say a lot of wrong things, but also many many people loved us very well. Learning how to love “the other” well is a skill that all people and especially all Jesus loving people should learn how to do. We tend to be good at loving those like us but forget how important it was to Jesus that the sinners, tax collectors, lame, sick, Samaritans, Gentiles, etc. be well taken care of and loved. Next week I’ll post some lists that I wrote in the midst of infertility. First I wrote a list of things that you can do when you find yourself feeling angry at life and at God (both of these were true during infertility). And the second list is how you can help a loved one in this situation. So stay tuned and come back and read next week.