Infertility. It is well with my soul.
March 15, 2013
I just got home from Making Things Happen 2013 in Chapel Hill. I have so many things to say and write and process from that amazing conference and 100+ amazing men and women who filled my heart to its brim for two days, but I’ll save that for another day.
Today is a hard day. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I had a very emotional morning. To be honest, it was ridiculously emotional. Out of a movie emotional. I’ve never told my full story, this part of it, here on my blog, but with an inbox full of encouragement and stories and love, I feel like God is telling me that someone needs to hear this. My story is far from finished, but here goes from start to middle.
Bryan and I got married in 2008. We knew we wanted to have children early and often talked about how excited we were to be a Mom and a Dad. Bryan was so excited to be a Daddy. I’ll never forget riding in his truck from our first trip to Disney World when we were dating. We were driving from Orlando to Tampa. And he talked for so long about how excited he was to coach t-ball, attend recitals and make pancakes. He lit up when he told me about this. He told me about the kind of Daddy he wanted to be and I told him about the kind of Mommy I wanted to be one day. It was, and is, my biggest goal in life. I think that was the night we both knew we would get married someday.
About six months after we got married, after our first trip to New York together, we started trying. With no real clue what lied ahead, we started planning and dreaming and focusing on growing our family. Now, if you are a boy and reading this, please note that I am an open book and you might not want to read further about ovaries and cramps and weird girly things. Or, if you can handle it, keep going :)
Around December, about 7 months into our journey, I started having a lot of random pain / cramps during the day. Because we’d had no luck for 7 months I went to my doctor. She ran a few tests and, because of the history of Endometriosis in my family sent us to a fertility specialist to look into the situation. I had an HSG done (where they check to see if your tubes are open) in January which revealed a fully blocked left tube. In fact, my doctor was concerned with “how blocked” it was and scheduled a pretty immediate laparoscopic surgery to remove, what he thought would be severe Endometriosis.
My Mom and Dad couldn’t be here (I thought this was pretty routine, so I told them it was ok for them to stay in Pensacola) but I remember my Mom sending me a special ring that my great-grandmother (and namesake) had given to her. She wrote me a sweet card thats framed in my house – about fear and prayer and God’s provision over the outcome of the surgery. I assumed we’d have the surgery and move on with our attempts to have a baby.
The surgery was short. When I woke up, Bryan was standing over me with tears in his eyes and a funny look on his face. The doctor had discovered a small amount of Endometriosis, but the blocked tube they saw was actually a broken tube – that led to no ovary on my left side. Somehow, I was either born without a left ovary or damaged and lost it as a child. Neither of us were quite sure what this meant but we obviously assumed the worst. We met with our doctor a day or so later and he lifted our spirits. Apparently women with one ovary can still have children as long as the other is functional – which mine is.
Off we went on our merry way to continue trying for a baby. After a few months of no luck, our doctor prescribed Clomid to me (which I not-so-fondly like to refer to as the MOST AWFUL DRUG EVER). I gained 5lbs every month I was on it. It made me sick. It made me angry. It made me have hot flashes. It was terrible. I stopped taking it after two months, ten pounds and a lot of tears. We gave up and forgot about it all, vowing to start again a few months later. Because my cycles were very irregular, I took Provera to start my next cycle. It’s a 10-pill drug cycle that you take once daily to induce your next cycle. I took 1 pill and got nervous that I should probably take a silly pregnancy test even though I KNEW I wasn’t pregnant (and satisfy my odd craving for Twizzlers).
Ten minutes later, I dug the test back out of the trash can. I hadn’t seen two pink lines next to each other, rather one blue line on one end of the stick and one blue line on the other. Of course, because I knew I wasn’t pregnant, Id purchased the cheapest CVS-brand tests and wasn’t sure how to read them.
I was pregnant.
With Brady Ley. I sat on the floor, stunned and cried. I called my doctor before even telling my husband who was at work at the time, in an absolute panic about the 1 Provera pill I’d taken. He calmed my fears and I took a digital test to be sure.
I was pregnant.
I was really pregnant.
Tears, high fives, more tears, screams, etc, etc, etc. I’ve never seen my husband so happy. Well, until 9 months later.
My pregnancy with Brady was a story all itself. And so was his birth. In the back of my mind, I knew we’d CONQUERED IT. I praised the Lord every day that we hadn’t had to go the route of the BIG GUNS – IUI, IVF and every other crazy amazing thing that we can do now to have babies, the 1 in 6 couples that has to face infertility in its smallest or largest forms.
As Brady got close to turning 1, we decided it was time to try for Baby #2. And here we are, 16 months later. My doctor tells us he has faith it will happen again soon and all logic points to the facts that 1) we’re capable, obviously and 2) God’s plan is perfect. Writing this out makes me feel silly.
And I think that’s why I’m writing this. For those of you who feel like that, and worse.
See, after three more rounds of unsuccesful Clomid, three rounds of unsuccesful Femara (much better than Clomid) and one newly unsuccesful round of an increased dosage of Femara and supplements for Bryan and I, I just about fell apart in the RDU airport this morning. I was three days late on our first round of increased Femara and supplements. We have “unexplained infertility” (the stupidest, most aggravating term ever) so we’re trying an array of things – IUI being next, after two more rounds of this. Femara is supposed to make your cycles very regular, inducing ovulation on Day 14 – which happened for me this month. One would expect an answer would be found on Day 28 one way or another. But when nothing happened on Day 28 while I was staying in Chapel Hill, I crossed my fingers and my toes. I know better than to get my hopes up. I’ve been disappointed over THIRTY times. Day 29. Nothing. Day 30 (today). Nothing. Then the cramps began while standing in the Starbucks line at RDU. I immediately felt the tears well up in my eyes. I was wearing a bright, flourescent pink pullover too.
So there I was, the flourescent crying girl at RDU today. I sat in a corner, all alone, and cried uncontrollably. I had a bad signal on my phone and couldn’t call anyone. And the only window around faced a loading tunnel. Beautiful. It made it worse. I just sobbed into my coffee. I noticed people around me looking at the silent sobbing flourescent girl, but I didn’t care. I planned to tell them I was crying because I had to leave my boyfriend in NC or something, just something that made more sense than… I CANT HAVE ANOTHER BABY.
I cried in the airport. I cried on the plane. I turned on the song It is well on my iPhone. And I just let the words wash over me. And cried some more. And by the way, I normally don’t cry much about this. I’ve learned better. I know to suck it up and try again. I know that there are more options. But this time… this time…. my heart felt broken. My hopes WERE up. I wanted to tell my husband this AFTERNOON that he was going to be a daddy again. I even knew which shirt I would buy at Carters today to iron the letters B-I-G B-R-O-T-H-E-R onto so Brady could tell my parents when we head home later this month.
It’s not fair. It’s just NOT.
And I think this is the part that hurts the most… this happens to so many women. There are women out there whose arms are EMPTY. (Thank you to my sweet friend, you know who you are, who emailed me today. Your email touched my heart in the BIGGEST WAY). There are women out there who DON’T know the feeling of having a little baby placed in their arms, all warm and pink and FULL of the best things God sends to this EARTH. And I do. I’ve been blessed once. And I feel so selfish asking God for another baby when my prayers have already been graciously answered once. Oh, it makes my heart ache. So many friends are going through this. All at different stages. So many friends have miscarried (Thank you LORD that’s never happened to me). So many friends have lost CHILDREN.
But God is so good. And if I never have another baby. If I never experience that feeling again, it’s ok. It is well with my soul. His grace is sufficient for me. This family I have is MORE than sufficient for me. And His power is made PERFECT in weakness.
I’m not writing to bring tears to anyones eyes, though I bet they are there. After reading this, I hope you go hug that girl who’s silently crying at the airport by herself. You never know what battle she’s fighting. Sarah Teeter, you are a God send and I’m so grateful you hugged me and let me cry and you shared that verse with me this morning.
It is well, friends. It will be okay. Really, it will. Because God is good and at the end of the day, His plan, whatever that may be, is better than ours. If you’re struggling with infertility, know that you are not alone. Know that it does get better one way or another and that the IMPOSSIBLE is POSSIBLE.