As my friends, family, and long-time blog readers know, infertility is a battle that my husband and I have been a part of, since before our marriage. I've known for years (since puberty) that something was 'wrong' with me. I shared these fears and worries with Jake before we ever discussed getting married someday, and from the beginning, he's stuck by me.
We were married for over three years, hoping, praying, and trying to begin a family. We were married on August 5, 2006. After the urging and prompting of a dear friend, we finally sought the help of a reproductive endocrinologist in November of 2009. It was there I was "diagnosed" with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). (I use the term "diagnosed" loosely, because it's not something they necessarily tested for and labeled me as in a chart, but rather, they ruled out other issues via blood work and ultrasound, and based the PCOS diagnosis on my presenting symptoms. I have quite a few PCOS symptoms. Click here for more PCOS information.) We sought the RE's guidance, and with the help of oral medications to induce ovulation, as well as an hCG trigger shot, we went on our marry way, trying to conceive.
On February 22, 2010, I tested positive, on a PREGNANCY test. I couldn't believe it! We were absolutely overjoyed. After a fairly wonderful, healthy pregnancy, Spencer was born on November 1, 2010.
On August 7, 2011, after a few more months of seeking the help of our RE, following the regime that helped us conceive Spencer, I tested positive on another pregnancy test. Though, as life would have it, we lost Baby "Sprout," at 8 weeks gestation. (You can read about that pregnancy, loss, and journey healing here.)
Though devastated, we never gave up. After two months of being on birth control to help my system "heal" after a D&C, we tried again. And on December 12, 2011, we learned that I was pregnant for a third time. The pregnancy with Baby "Bojangles," or "Bo" for short, has been going well, though I've always been a little edgy about it going rapidly downhill like my last one.
In a nutshell, that's my infertility journey. You can read more about it through these posts, if you'd like.
Once you've begun to struggle with infertility, you never forget the grasp it holds on your heart. A Facebook status I read, and shared yesterday, hits the nail right on the head. It reads: Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience. April is Infertility Awareness Month. Whether a friend, a family member, a colleague or yourself has fought through this difficult fate that MILLIONS of women and men are fighting day in and day out. Post this as your status if you or someone you know has walked to hell and back for the chance to be a MOM or DAD.
I remember, when we first started trying, it felt so hopeless, so very often. I had a few other friends that were also struggling with the infertility demon alongside of me, which made it more bearable, but not always more hopeful. I could read, and did read, many testimonies of people who struggled and eventually held a miracle in their arms. I knew you could become a mother through adoption. I knew I was never without all hope. But it didn't always feel that way.
It honestly wasn't until a friend, and then another, the same ones I struggled alongside, got pregnant, that I really felt there was true hope for me. I had prayed to God throughout the journey, but it seemed, to me, at least, I needed reassurance, close-by and interacting with me on a regular basis, that it REALLY could happen for Jake and I.
And, it did.
When I blog about infertility struggles, or the struggle of healing after a miscarriage, or the joys of being a parent post-battles, I do it for me, of course, to document and share my thoughts, with myself and my friends and family. But, I also do it for people I don't know. It may sound strange, but I do anyway.
And, occasionally, I receive messages from friends, acquaintances, and even people I do not know, sharing with me what I shared with my two supports. That my story gives them hope.
I feel beyond blessed to read messages like that. Do I deserve to have them sent my way? No, not really. I don't feel like I've done anything spectacular for others that warrants me to be a beacon of light or hope in along the darkest path known to a woman who wants to be a mother. But, I am blessed to be, and to know that I have been.
It always hits my heart like a dagger when a friend tells me that they've been trying so hard for so long, that they suffer with infertility, too. Especially if it's been going on a while before I knew. I don't feel like I need to know, by any means, but when I do know, I can instantly relate to them. And, knowing how ashamed one can feel when they feel broken, insufficient, or inept, I feel honored that they trust me enough to share that secret with me. Not everyone who suffers through this battle is public about it. That's okay. But, sometimes, I must admit, it does help to reach out to someone. Whether you know them or not. Just to let someone out there know. Have someone to cry to if you need to, or to vent to, whatever.
There is hope out there.
I feel like I've been babbling for quite a while, so I'm going to go. But, I'm going to leave you with a video that another friend of mine shared yesterday. It is... powerful, for lack of a better word. I can relate to it. So can my husband. So can some of my friends. So can millions of others that I do not know.