Friday, November 21, 2008

Infertility: Out of the Trenches

I have Amy to thank for this honest, sensitive post on a delicate topic; Amy and I share faith and a love of cooking and small towns!


Three years is an eternity. It's also the blink of an eye. I am pleased to share with you our infertility story because I already know the ending: it's a happy one.

When we were wed 10 years ago and I was the one with the full-time paying job, we decided to hold off having children for a few months until my husband's work situation was more permanent and profitable, knowing that we both wanted me to be at home raising our family. Key words here: "we decided" and "having children." The problem with those words was that we assumed the decision was ours to have children whenever we wanted. Not trying for; having!

I've never been so wrong in my life.

Fast forward 6 months to June. Hubby was hired as a teacher and coach in a very nice school district. I had just finished my second year of teaching in an equally generous program and had already accumulated 30 sick leave days. By our calculations a baby would be born in March. Perfect! I could use up three years worth of sick days to finish out the school year, send in my resignation, and bask in the glories of all things Mommy. Time to have a baby! (oh, the confidence...)

It didn't happen
. Didn't happen the next month, either. Or the next year... two... three...

When my husband's brother and his wife welcomed his first, and then his second child... it didn't happen. When my brother and his wife announced their first pregnancy... it didn't happen. When 17-year-old unwed highschoolers were walking around with the round belly that I so desired, it still didn't happen. We were the first of our siblings and several cousins to get married; the last to have children. Ouch.

Because our story has a happy ending, my emotions are torn. I feel unqualified to write this post while my perfectly healthy children are happily playing in another room, because I personally know other couples who are in the trenches of a deep battle with infertility... and still others who have long since accepted that parenting biological children is not going to happen for them. But maybe, just maybe, someone is reading this who has just begun their journey. You've been through that first month or two. Maybe even a year or two of wanting and waiting, hoping and praying. Maybe I can speak with you for a moment.
  • It's so hard, but don't give up hope. Cling to your spouse and use this time to work together; put your marriage first so that your marriage has the strength to fight the battle.
  • Learn Natural Family Planning. We did this after trying for nearly a year, and I still kick myself for not learning it sooner. The first thing every new doctor handed us (yes, there were a few doctors involved in our journey) was a blank chart to keep track of my cycle. No sooner did they show us that blank chart, and we were able to surprise them with months of completed charts. Truly, that saved us so much time. (And for some of you, just knowing your cycle and taking the steps to correct the natural things will be your answer to infertility. Hooray for you!) More excellent info on NFP here.
  • I had endometriosis and didn't know it. Usually it's a painful condition; guess I have a high pain tolerence. ***laughing and rolling her eyes*** Anyway, that was the bulk of our problem and we never would have known if my doctor hadn't suggested laproscopic surgery. They found it and corrected it. And if you're curious as to how I've kept it at bay for 6 years, contact me. That's a whole other post...
  • In the end, even with the surgery and the clomid and the ovulation-inducing injections, I can't give a firm "answer" to the end of our infertility. I think those things all combined to help dig us out of the trenches, and maybe we just felt better because we were doing something, but I can't give any hard and fast "this cured us!" answers.
  • I do know (see, this is where my confidence should be placed!) that God's timing is perfect. That He does have the answers. I do know that our first baby girl was conceived nearly three months after my 22 year-old baby brother was killed in a car accident... I do know that the round of injections that "worked" was begun on what would have been his 23rd birthday. I also know that our second baby, born three years later, entered this world three hours short of what would have been his uncle's 26th birthday. I do know that I don't believe in coincidences...
Amy is a former teacher turned stay-at-home mom to her three children, ages 5, 3, and 1. Amy's blog, The Finer Things in Life, celebrates her life of faith, motherhood, simplicity, tiny towns, and good home cookin'.


Ryann said...

Amy, thanks for sharing your story with us. I think our husbands should be proud of their wives this week for sharing our difficult experiences, don't you?

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story! - Tiffany (Liam's mom)