Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finding Missing Puzzle Pieces

On my blog today I am going to be talking about infertility. I feel so strongly about this topic. After dealing with it for 3 plus years, I feel like educating individuals about it is important because those struggling with it need support and not unwanted advice about trying to conceive.

We often get questions about when Ava is going to be a big sister. We started getting questions about the time she turned 18 months old. We brushed it off for the first couple of years. It has only been in the last year or so that we have decided to be more open about it.

First off I want to share an introduction to our story of dealing with it. We were the typical college students, newly weds and poor. Prior to getting married we had decided waiting a few years to have a baby, seemed it would be the smart thing to do. We would both be done with school and be more established. Well we had a baby two and half years later after we married. Seems like the perfect timing right? Well what it doesn't say is it took 14 months to get the little miss her with the help of medication.

When we decided it was time for Ava to be a big sister. Our process of countless doctor visits, medications, ovulation test kits, negative pregnancy test, heartache, and tears started again. In April we referred to a specialist. I am not sure I could have truly prepared myself for all the struggles that come with infertility. The mental, emotional and physical stress of it is enough to drive anyone nuts. Infertility is this crazy roller coaster ride where everything is okay and you're doing well, and then bam it's the drop and you hit rock bottom and have to slowly pull yourself back together.  Slowly we started opening up and the more we did the more I realized we were not alone. Lots of couples struggle with it. Joining a support group  was one of the best things I have done to help myself cope with it.

We met with the specialist in June and a new plan was created, I left the appointment feeling optimistic. I just knew things were going to change and be different and I was excited. We had decided in April to take a few months off from medication and appointments (with the exception of the specialist visit). Our plan was to press forward with treatments in September. In the early morning hours of June 30th I woke up for the millionth time to use the restroom and as I laid back down, I knew I was pregnant and this time it was for real. I barely slept and woke up in the morning rushed to the store and deciding I couldn't wait took a test at Target (classy, I know). I saw those double lines and was shocked. Tears of happiness ran down my cheeks as I told Ava she was going to finally be a big sister. Then it hit me, I just took a pregnancy test at target with my daughter outside the stall. How do I explain that one?

I wanted to tell Bryce right away but he was in meetings all day and I did't want to tell him over the phone. So I decided to wait. In the meantime Ava told so many people, ladies at the gym her swimming instructor... So about 30 people knew before Bryce. I got a baby sitter for the night and took Bryce to dinner. I used the excuse of going to the bathroom to have our waitress put blocks on his plate that said baby. When they brought it out, he looked at me and his look said "I didn't order baby back ribs" and I started to tear up again and he caught on. Due to many people knowing we decided to tell people. We bought a blank puzzle and used it as our announcement. We shared it with close family and friends. It was a great month, things were finally looking up. We had a few ultrasounds, everything looked good and they referred us back to my normal obgyn.

There are so many different dynamics that play into infertility. The ability to create life is a miracle in its self. The are many causes to infertility and then there is also unexplained infertility where everything lines up as it should. I have met several people with different circumstances, but one thing I have learned is that because my situation is different does not make it less important or harder to deal with. That goes for every case and situation. When someone tells you about their situation don't tell them about so and so who went through the same thing and now has five kids. Each situation is unique with a goal of trying to get a baby here. It is hard for someone to understand something they have never been through but it is possible to be sensitive to those around you that are dealing with it.

One of the hardest things for me has been hearing other people announce pregnancy and then when the baby is born. It didn't really get to me until this past year. It didn't matter if I found out from Facebook, a blog, family or whoever the excitement was shortly followed by heart ached. It left me wondering when my prayers and longing for another child would be answered.

I had a special experience when a dear friend of mine told me she was expecting last fall (2013). She has also struggled with infertility. I was so excited and happy for her, but as she told us I felt that little ache in my heart that she had something I wanted. As I drove home that night I cried for many different reasons. As I asked again and again why me why this trial. I received the most peaceful feeling and confirmation that there was a child waiting to come to us at the perfect time. That the child would come when it was their time to be on earth.  I am so grateful for that experience it truly humbled me.

I started this blog post the last week in July to announce our exciting news. I had it all planned out at our 12 week appointment I would post this and it would finally be my turn to announce in a cute way. That's not what happened. After my last appointment with the specialist and everything looking good, it was about to change. We headed up to Idaho for a family reunion. We spent the evening at a carnival and went to get food after. I had been feeling sick and exhausted but didn't want to miss Ava's joy from experiencing the carnival. When we went to get food, I used the restroom and new things were not okay. I was terrified what was I suppose to do? I needed to tell Bryce but everyone was out there with him... Luckily when I came out no one was with him at the moment. We went to the ER and sent Ava with Bryce's parents.    

The next day we were heading to bear lake. I didn't feel up for it and had no idea what was going to happen. Once again I didn't want to miss Ava's excitement of exploring Bear Lake. After a few hours I knew I was going to lose the baby. I was in shock and heartbroken. Bryce and I went home and left Ava with his parents. It was the most traumatic experience of my life, I have never been in that much physical and emotional pain. It was the longest weekend of my life. I saw a whole new side of me and it was not pretty.  

I was not prepared for the affects it would have on me in the days, weeks and months following.

I had nightmares for months following,, I would wake up drenched in sweat. I had a hard time sleeping for fear of what I would dream about. I would lay awake in bed and over analyze every single thing that happened.

I was more depressed then I have ever been. I have always struggled with depression but have always been able to manage and not need medicine for it. That changed, I always wanted to be home and not do anything. I canceled activities with friends. I wanted to be alone (that does not happen with a four year old). Luckily I have family and friends that care they brought us meals, helped with Ava and knew exactly what I needed. For them and their services I am so grateful for.

 I was angry with God so angry. For the first time since coming back to the gospel of Jesus Christ, my testimony wavered. I questioned everything I believed, what I knew, and what I wanted. I didn't want to go to church. For the first few months someone stopped me and asked about it. I felt like every lesson and talk was directed at me and how imperfect I was (in reality they had nothing to do with me). One of the stake presidency members got up in Elders Quorum and said you do not know where you faith lays is until you've gone through a trial. He was right and I am glad I was able to hear him say that.

 During the last three and half years it has tested my faith. As I have learned more patients and acceptance of our situation for what it is, I learned to lean on my heavenly father more in those moments where I just wanted to be a alone and hit rock bottom. I am so grateful for my heavenly father and husband for lifting me back up in those moments. I am grateful for their patience and kindness. I am so grateful the the loving grace that the atonement provides for me in times of need. I am grateful for our struggle with infertility, it sucks but I look at trials others are given and am glad I have this one and not theirs.

My intentions with writing this post is that others may know they are not alone. 1 in 6 couples deal with infertility. 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss. You are not alone.

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